I’m well aware that as a white dude I’m not exactly allowed to have opinions on what’s racist and what isn’t, in fact I even agree with it. What’s racist and what isn’t is not exactly a thing for a guy like me to decide.
Having said that, let me now say that this wasn’t racist at all. You may have heard, but Conor McGregor is Irish. That’s how they talk, they call each other boy and lad and mate and whatever other awesome words they have for our lame “buddy.” They don’t really have the racial tension that you can cut with a knife over there (probably because they’re all white) so they don’t walk on egg shells with everything they call people. Before Conor McGregor calls someone “boy” he doesn’t do some quick, Iron Man type analysis to factor in skin color and slavery and oppression and racism. He just says boy because it rolls off that tongue like a snake that St. Patrick banished from Ireland.
Sure, Conor did immediately recognize how that would get received, probably because he felt every white person in the crowd immediately tense up and have a white guilt stroke, then corrected his phrasing to “dance for me, son.” But there’s a pretty distinct difference between “racist” and “someone who’s form a different country, a country that has different dialects and different racial problems than we have in America.”