Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For
Michael Mark Cohen

I like that you’re trying to find racial slurs for white people to counter the idea of color blindness, but I’m not convinced. I have met many Asian douchebags, some Latino douchebags and a few black douchebags. When I think of a prototypical douche bag then yes, I do envision a white guy, a guido to be exact, but that may just have to do with memes from the early 2000's. The problem with using douchebag as a racial term is precisely because it’s behavior-based and not racial essentialism. The n-word (used as a slur) can ONLY be effective if directed toward black people. The n-word is an effective racial slur because it conjures up a history of exploitation, violence, and denigration. Therefore, the n-word can yield a sort of psychological devastation that douchebag could never come close to. Douchebag is slap on the fingers. You would never tell a black person “don’t be a n*****.” That would imply choice. Likewise, slurs for Asian people, native Americans, and Latinos all conjure up their status within a complex racial hierarchy and signify inferiority. Douchebag does not signify inferiority and it does not conjure up an exclusive historical trauma related to whiteness (because there is none). If I call someone a douchebag, I am merely denigrating their behavior and the person can easily distance himself from the slur because he himself defines appropriate behavior. If he thinks it’s appropriate to send women dick pics, then my calling him douchebag will not affect him. He will not feel defined by my accusation of him being a douchebag and probably counter that I’m a bitch or hysterical.

I remember people recently started calling men “fuckboys” which I personally don’t find very effective because it is simply synonymous with douchebag.

I would suggest coming up with a slur that can ONLY be applied to privileged white men. Actually, the term “privileged white men” does seem to really piss of privileged white men but it’s kind of unwieldy and too factual to be considered a slur. My suggestion for a racial slur for white men would be this: Brock Turner. That name conjures up a historical trauma that white men want to distance themselves from and at the same time, it is impossible for an Asian man, a black man, a poor man, a gay man, a trans man or a woman to be a Brock Turner. Brock Turner is defined by his whiteness and his privilege but at the same time with a predatorial association that is comparable to the way white propaganda has depicted black men after their emancipation. It also conjures up a deep-seated disgust that no other white slur could ever come close to. On top of that, it is less descriptive or factual than “privileged white men.” I’m a privileged white woman but that is not an insult, it’s a factual statement. Nobody is factually a Brock Turner but Brock Turner himself but by calling people Brock Turner, you are conjuring up callousness and moral degradation that is precisely based in his whiteness and privilege.

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