What This Post From an 'America Idol' Contestant Completely Misses About Racism

January 4th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

In many ways, singer Bo Bice's recent Facebook post about a trip to Popeye's Louisiana Chicken was no different from the thousands of complaints about service industry slights that populate social media.

But Bice's post is gaining attention for two reasons: First, Bice is a former American Idol runner-up and, second, Bice claims a black Popeyes' employee was racist toward him.

Bice claims a black female employee at a Popeyes in the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta referred to him as "that white boy over there" while filling his order.

Here's Bice's initial post, in which describes the offensive comment.

He then made a follow-up post, in which he complains about his initial post being deleted.

Bice also appeared on local station Fox 5 to express his outrage over the incident.


As reports points out, Bice's complaints eventually led Popeyes to suspend the employee.

However, Bice's post confuses an arguably prejudiced comment with racism.

In 1970, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a definition of racism as "those barriers, institutional as well as individual...which prevent persons because of their race, color, or national origin from freely making economic, social, and political decisions."

In this scenario, Bice was not presented with any barriers. And while the employee's comments were rude and possibly even prejudiced, Bice still received his food and was able to use his platform as a successful white male to get the Popeyes employee suspended for the rude comment.

Fast food workers and supporters protest for higher wages in New York.

In reality, the employee is far more likely to suffer systemic racism than Bice.

A September 2016 report from the Economic Policy Institute found that black and white wage gaps were larger in 2015 than they were in 1979. Black men make 22 percent less and black women make 34 percent less than white men, further, black women make nearly 12 percent less than white women.

Black Lives Matter protester.

"The widening gap has not affected everyone equally," wrote EPI's Valerie Wilson and Williams M. Rogers III. "Young black women (those with 0 to 10 years of experience) have been hardest hit since 2000."

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