“I am white, I am a fucking bum! I do live in a trailer with my mom,” raps Eminem as B. Rabbit. For anyone who’s ever seen the film, 8 Mile, the line is instantly familiar.
The rap was part of a closing salvo delivered by Eminem’s character during a simulated “hip hop battle.” The amazing beauty of the scene lies in the fact that it served as the perfect illustration of why we need to be aware of our perceived shortcomings and flaws.
More importantly, it underlines why it’s so important to make peace with them and arm ourselves with mental firepower that no one could ever touch.
Throughout the film, B. Rabbit is ridiculed by a rival hip hop group named “The Free World.” The fact that Rabbit is a white guy trying to make it in a black dominated industry pisses off The Free World.
Rabbit is constantly faced with their insults and it isn’t until the climax of the film that he gets his revenge. He wins the first two rounds easily against members of The Free World, then is matched up with the most gifted member during the championship round.
Rabbit is forced to go first after losing a coin flip. Using the opportunity to his advantage, he takes the unusual approach of pointing out all the things that he knew his rival would make fun of when he got his turn on the microphone.
“I did get jumped, by all six of you chumps. And Wink did fuck my girl….I’m still standing here screaming ‘fuck The Free World,’” he rages to his royally caught off guard opponent. The crowd is loving every second and the formerly cocky guys from The Free World end up fizzling out in defeat.
Rabbit ends his stunning self takedown by yelling to the crowd, “I’m a fuckin’ piece of white trash, I say it proudly. And fuck this battle, I don’t wanna win. I’m outie.” Then, turning to his opponent on stage he says, “Here, tell these people something they don’t know about me,” then tosses the microphone in what amounted to a victory lap.
What could be said about Rabbit at that point? Especially from the so called tough guys of The Free World.
Here’s the thing: everything that Rabbit said about himself were things that he knew that his rivals were going to say. He only knew that because they had become entirely too predictable throughout the course of the events of the film. Him being a white rapper was their biggest source of ridicule that they could use to try to humiliate him.
So, that is why self awareness is so important. We don’t necessarily have to care what others think or say about us, but we should be aware of what they think. Rabbit was very aware and that’s why he had the advantage in the end.
The best part about it all is the simple fact that all of the “insulting” things that he said about himself were true, but it didn’t matter. That’s because pointing out our perceived flaws and shortcomings is a strength as long as we don’t allow them to define us as people.
Even though he was a “white fucking bum who lived in a trailer with his mom,” he was also shown to be a loyal friend, reliable worker, an amazingly protective big brother and a son at odds with his mom, yet still stood up for her to her jerk of a boyfriend.
I know that the film is a hip hop genre flick, but it has that added element of being an ode to self love and understanding what our own flaws are and to make peace with them. Rabbit might have been flawed, but he was a very talented guy who cared about every important person in his life.
Lesson learned and confirmed.