Joey Barton, Aggrieved Entitlement, and the Myth of White Male Privilege

Strap your d**** on people. We have to get to work before the Simps, the Feminists, the Racists and the Woke get their way. A call to action from Joey Barton – aka the “Pied Piper of disaffected football fans” – for those who really care about football to stand against the relentless crusade of discrimination in the game. The relentless and unabating crusade of discrimination against (you guessed it!) middle aged, well-off white men. Discrimination against the group that represents all 10 of the top 10 richest people in the world, the group that has the highest rate of employment in the UK at 83% and accordingly represents 97% of CEOs, CFOs, and chairs of FTSE 100 companies. How far from 100%, I would be angry too!

As the brother to a racist murderer, and a violent convict himself, Barton seems to be the ideal representative for what the New Statesman called “Britain’s Angry Men,” angry for the not so valid reason that they are no longer enjoying the spotlight they once did. His most notable recent call to arms was after the England Lionesses’ goalkeeper Mary Earps won BBC Sports Personality of the Year – the same year that she won The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper and a spot on the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI! Becoming the 3rd consecutive woman to win the award, and the 4th in the last 20 years, Barton’s fury at her winning is only understandable from the perspective of a right-wing traditionalist, who is 70 years out of fashion, and forever out of date. 

The relentless and unabating crusade of discrimination against (you guessed it!) middle aged, well-off white men.

Whether brewing from the bleak realisation that his days on the big screen are over or an early mid-life crisis, Joey Barton has, in the eyes of many of his twitter lackeys, “decided to speak up for the majority of football fans.” Yet as a football fan myself, I can say confidently and proudly that Joey Barton does not speak for me when he compares presenters Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward to the notorious serial killers and child abusers Rose and Fred West (and I would hope he doesn’t speak for you too). Neither does he speak for me when he sits in his living room alone, recording his TV, sitting silently and obediently when the men speak, but jumping to drown out the women with his bigoted audio descriptions such as “it’s like watching EastEnders,” “who is she,” and purposefully butchering the names of presenters in a unique yet somewhat impressive combination of both his sexist and racist tendencies. 

A notably controversial figure for his whole career, it is not a complete surprise that Barton has descended into a rabid anti-woke mess, rather the surprise is the manner in which it has gained traction. It is clear that Barton is not alone in his corner, and surprisingly, it is also clear that those who agree with him do not do so because he has formed a sort of Trumpian personality cult, but because they agree with his views and the substance of what he says. Whilst speculations on Reddit are that Joey Barton may be doing this all as a grift for a new book or TV show announcement, others in this same camp are spewing this hatred without a need to grift.

The Lieutenant Colonel of this camp is the entitled, blood money manbaby Elon Musk. Since his purchase of Twitter (which I still call it in conscientious objection to his imposed minimalism), the world’s richest man has shown himself to be a true advocate of free speech for all. Introducing the Twitter Blue system to boost the tweets of those who pay a subscription, whilst also introducing ad placement and payouts based on this revenue has had the not-not intended effect of an increase in right-wing clickbait content. But increased ad revenue does not explain the daily torrent of hate-filled outlashes from Elon Musk himself. It does not explain why Mr Musk posts daily criticisms of the evil that is DEI, constantly denounces “anti-white discrimination,” fuels whataboutism of the falling birth rate of white women and rising population of non-white people and reposts videos of ‘immigrants streaming through the southern border,’ to prove an “invasion” into the ‘first world’ by the ‘third world’. This sentiment does not appear from nothing. Newton’s Third Law makes it clear that every action has a reaction. And therefore, every reaction has an action.

So, what was the action? 

Combining all the symptoms, it seems that Joey Barton, Elon Musk, and their agreeable flocks are suffering from a chronic case of aggrieved entitlement. A concept referring to the anger and resentment from individuals of a dominant or privileged group when they feel they are losing their traditional privileges to which they believe they are entitled. There is a feeling from this group that they have suffered an injustice and been victimised by social changes that have redistributed the rights and privileges they had exclusively enjoyed for centuries. Though let me be clear, the problem is not the existence of this group, it is an ignorance of their privilege, and the dangerous victimisation mindset. From being manifested in silent grumbles, this has now grown into outspoken protest, and will only continue to grow. 

Yet these extremists do not stay online, and this intel culture often spills out into the real world, with real world consequences.

With seriousness, the solution to this problem is not to ignore it. It must be noted that it is not just something that will go away. In one of Barton’s most vile tweets, he recorded his young sons playing football, with a caption that when they grow older “there will be no jobs for them in the football industry because they are white, middle aged and male,” with a comment that such men are “under attack.” Whilst the majority of comments questioned his sanity, pointed out his blatant insecurity and asked if he forgot about his daughter, there were again those who agreed with his views. Whilst seemingly a mindless rant on the surface, the Medium noted it is rather “a dangerous, cunningly constructed manipulative tweet that borrows from the worst political groups in history,” using children as emotional appeal and likening it to the sort of rhetoric appealing to online extremists. Yet these extremists do not stay online, and this incel culture often spills out into the real world, with real world consequences, seen in the high rates of femicide in the UK at over 1681 women between 2009 and 2020 (2020 Femicide Census report).  That is one thousand six hundred and eighty one women who had their lives stolen for reasons relating PURELY to the fact that they were born as one sex instead of another. Not to forget Jake Davidson and Elliot Rodger, mass murderers here in the UK who targeted women due to influence from this type of rhetoric. 

This is the same on the basis of race. I do not have to remind us all of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 dredging up unending reports of rampant race-based violence both in the US and the UK. Not to forget also the general systemic discrimination against all racial groups, with wide-ranging knock-on effects ranging from weird looks when walking into a room, to lower rates of internal job progression, to lower rates of home ownership, high child poverty and juvenile delinquency, all of which are linked by a uniting factor leading to an unending cycle.

And so, the next time you see a tweet, TikTok or Instagram post echoing these dangerous views, don’t just scroll past it and hope that the issue will solve itself. The next time you overhear someone spewing bigoted hatred, don’t just ignore it and avoid them. But neither should we unabatedly bash them for it either, continuing the venomous cycle of cancel culture. Instead take a moment to educate them taking the time to explain the danger this mindset poses to the cohesion of our society, whether they choose to listen or not. It may not be our job, but it is our obligation.

Image credit: Lily O’Farrell, Instagram: @vulgadrawings.

Image description: A cartoon titled ‘Aggrieved Entitlement looks like’. In the first panel a man is sitting on a bench whilst a woman stands beside saying ‘I think I deserve to sit on this bench too!’. In the second panel the women is sitting on the bench, and the man lying on the floor, saying: ‘Oh my God I’ve been pushed off! There’s no room for me on my bench anymore’, when there is still lots of room for him on the bench.