You won't need pencils and paper for this one-question pop quiz.
All people and all groups are equally smart, talented, industrious, honest, inventive, deserving of respect and so on except one. So, here is the question.
What group is it perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to denigrate in movies, advertising, jokes, academics and any other way?
Think real hard before answering because this is a real head scratcher. If you answered “white men” you scored 100 percent.
Everybody has his own ideas about what motivates other people, but I think it can be agreed that envy is near the top of the list, along with pride, which is probably number one. People tend to tear down their superiors, it's human nature. Mention to your wife or girlfriend that Helen of Troy was a beautiful woman and see how fast she can find fault with Helen's hairdo or the way she talks or that dress! that makes her look fat. Some will agree with you, but many will find defects.
This is why white men are the targets of ridicule in popular culture.
Think of how life would be different without the telephone, airplane, FAX machine, television, movie camera, light bulb, automobile, steam engine, electric motor, air conditioner, screw propeller, internal combustion engine, nuclear reactor, power loom, jet engine, refrigerator, transistor, microchip, magnetic clutch, phonograph, metallic cartridge, washing machine, radio, drive belts, reaper, interchangeable parts, pneumatic tire, farm tractor, modern rocket, submarine, roller chain, chainsaw, elevator, escalator, moveable-type printing press, bread slicer, electric mixer for cooking, toaster, arc welder, tapered roller bearing, centerless grinder, telescope, microwave oven, RADAR, aqua lung, auto pistol, revolver, machine gun, mouse trap, sewing machine, hydraulic brakes, disc brake, radial engine, water heater, battery, solar cell, generator, alternator, piano, electric guitar, electric clock, weed eater, airbag, helicopter, parachute, vacuum tube, microscope, zipper, rifled barrel, intermittent wiper switch, autogyro, seat belts, electron microscope, sleeve valve engine, Wankel engine, stirling engine, typewriter, photocopier, dynamite, boxer primers, matches, toilet paper, electric drill, ball bearing, electrical fuse, safety razor, stainless steel, swivel chair, electric razor, universal joint, pressure cooker and cell phone, to name a few inventions. What all these have in common is that they were invented by white men, not black men or white women; white men.
Pointing this out is now considered racist, sexist, or perhaps unimportant, as though any other group even comes close to comparing favorably. The above list only enumerates the invention of physical things and doesn't encompass advances in law, philosophy, medicine, science, music, mathematics, engineering, exploration, botany and so on.
Camille Paglia wrote an article recently about the importance of men – not specifically white men – for which she probably had opprobrium heaped upon her for even thinking. It's the worst taboo to even imply that modern civilization is an invention of white men, but if you were to eliminate only the inventions enumerated above, civilization would be cast into the pre-industrial age. There would be no motorized transport, no music unless you made it yourself or went to a performance somewhere, no way to communicate other than face to face or by letter, no efficient mode of printing, no hot water unless you heated it over a fire, not even an efficient way to plow or hunt game.
European countries that used to be almost all white have experienced a flood of immigration from non-white countries. This is really strange if white men are as stupid, self-centered, prejudiced and boorish as portrayed in movies. Maybe the proffered stereotype is inaccurate.
It is a sad state of affairs when the group most responsible for modern Western Civilization is the most denigrated by those in that civilization. C. S. Lewis might have been referring to what American children are taught in schools on up to college when he wrote, “The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept." *
* The Screwtape Letters – Screwtape Proposes A Toast