Steven Asarch, Insider, April 5, 2021
This is not Hanks’ first time in his own spotlight without his famous parents. He once defended his own use of a racial slur, he has frequently been criticized for speaking in a Jamaican dialect, and he was accused of using a racial slur against an ex-girlfriend.
Hanks first described the type of “white boys” this summer would be for when he announced the trend on March 26. “I’m not talking about like, Trump, NASCAR type white,” he said in that first video.
“I’m talking about me, Jon B., Jack Harlow, type of white boy summer.” Both Jon B. and Jack Harlow are white musicians “who have had lucrative careers” in Black entertainment, as Vice’s Gita Jackson reported when unpacking the trend.
The idea of dedicating an entire season to white males seems inherently exclusionary. But, as Naomi Fry wrote in The New Yorker, the message of “white boy summer” appears to be “that being a white boy shouldn’t be a special source of pride; in Hanks’s telling, white boys were a little idiotic and little pathetic, and most certainly in need of help, for which he was the self-assigned source.”
Hanks even told followers in an Instagram story that “white boy summer” also means no “ill-will or prejudice against anybody from a different background, race or walk of life than you.”
In addition to his use of Jamaican patois as a white person who is not Jamaican, Hanks has also previously used the N-word – and defended his use of the racial slur. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2015, Hanks, who was 24 at the time, said on Instagram that he uses the slur “in real life amongst my black friends who get me and can’t nobody tell me I can’t say.”
He also said he believed the N-word “unifies the culture of hip-hop across all races,” and said people should “get with the times” because “it’s 2015 now.”