I'm Sorry White Guys Who Happen To Look Like Dylann Roof, But I'm Profiling The Fuck Out Of You

Grace Beahm/Pool/Getty Images

I know, I know, I know.

Assigning characteristics to a person just because of the way they look, or the way they're dressed, or the way they wear their hair, is wrong. It is not right to assume that every dead-eyed White guy hanging out in a Black church is just biding his time until he kills everyone. Or that just because he happens have the composite features of literally every. single. young, White, mass shooter in the history of young, White, mass shooters in America, he'd also be a young, White, mass shooter. Or that the odd patches on his dusty jacket aren't just Boy Scout badges or some hipster steampunk shit but actually flags from apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Or even that since his pictures remind me of Ramsay Bolton, he'd act like…Ramsay Bolton.


But yeah…I'll chance being wrong. I know the vast majority of young White guys are not mass murdering racists. Shit, I'll even concede that vast majority of young White guys who look like mass murdering racists are not, in fact, mass murdering racists. But if you look like a mass murdering racist — if you share any aesthetic characteristics with Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Steven Kazmierczak or Adam Lanza or Elliot Rodger or Dylann Storm Roof— from now onward I will assume you are a mass murdering racist, and I will act accordingly.

I am going to report you for suspicious behavior even if you're just buying a donut or sitting in your car. I will call the cops if you attempt to swim in my community pool. Or if you're walking down a street I happen to live on. Or if you're sleeping on a park bench. If you happen to walk into the same space I happen to be in, I will stare you down, refusing to take my eyes off of you like a cockroach in a kitchen. If you attempt to move into my neighborhood, I will send several passive-aggressive emails to the Homeowners' association to prevent it from happening. And if that doesn't work, I will move. And I will convince all of my friends to move too. I will do everything within my legal power to prevent you from voting, and prevent people who look like you from getting elected. And if that doesn't work, I will do some illegal shit. If, by chance, something legitimately bad happens to you — arrest, assault, murder, etc — I will find a way to assign blame to you even if you were completely innocent. Everything you say, including "hi" and "hey" and "thank you" will be considered a threat, and I will teach my children to treat you the same way.


Hopefully, they'll understand. But if they don't — and they do happen to look like a mass murdering racist — well, I don't know what to tell them. Except to stop looking like a mass murdering racist, and I'll (maybe) consider sharing an elevator with you.

Share This Story

About the author

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB and a columnist for GQ.com. His debut memoir in essays, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins), is available for preorder.