Bret Easton Ellis is the scary reality of white male privilege

American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis appeared on Channel 4 News this week and seriously asked the question: ‘Is misogyny and homophobia really the worst things out there?’

Unfortunately it isn’t – murder and rape would probably be the most extreme answer – but, being blindly ignorant to racism and the fact a successful white man in Hollywood is probably using this privilege to his advantage on a daily basis without even knowing it, is also up there.

So yes Bret, misogyny and homophobia really are that bad and it’s terrifying that a 55 year old man with such an esteemed career as an author – thus the power to influence minds with his words – can’t recognise that.

As the agonising interview moves on, Bret points out that he’s simply ‘a human being’.

He’s ‘not defined by his whiteness or maleness’.

It must be nice to be judged by anything other than your gender or skin colour – a luxury many black women do not have.

The numbers are shocking but social media is just the tip of the discrimination women of colour receive because, sadly, trolls exist beyond the computer screen.

In November, a study by the EU’s agency for fundamental rights said that black people were ‘facing widespread and entrenched prejudice and exclusion’ across the European Union – 30 per cent said they had experienced some form of racial harassment, including racist violence, in the previous five years.

But Bret would probably say we’re being ‘too sensitive’ about it.

He believes the world has gone to the extreme of being politically correct so, that’s right sisters, we should probably just grin and bear the burden of racism.

Free speech should exist but it comes with the danger that someone like Bret is given the platform to spread ideals that are just simply untrue and ignorant.

The black community cannot truly prosper or reap the benefits of change when the privileged white man thinks there’s nothing to change.

How do we educate someone like Bret who doesn’t see that a problem exists?

At the end of his interview, Bret claimed he ‘doesn’t get a free pass’ in society as a white man.

Well, I can assure him that neither do us women of colour.

Clearly, we both believe in our own realities but only one is the truth.

The sorry truth is that white privilege will probably always exist and is deep-rooted in our society – it’s just that most haven’t exposed themselves as Bret has.

But it’s definitely real, ugly and staring at you right in the face.

Bret complained that we ‘make such a huge deal’ of racism, misogyny and homophobia, but continuing to make noise about his ilk is likely the only hope we have of making a real change.

So sorry Bret, but making a ‘huge deal’ out of your comments is the only way to go.

‘Bear the burden’ of that.

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