Douglas MacKinnon, Townhall.com, September 13, 2006
[For a statistical analysis of race and crime see New Century Foundation’s The Color Of Crime, available for free download.]
Recently, my wife and I started to watch a DVD we had rented, when, before the film even played, I learned something of great interest.
Apparently, in the world of creative entertainment, not only can white men not jump, but we represent most, if not all, of the criminal element.
Before the movie spun, the motion picture industry had inserted a one minute infomercial on the evils of movie piracy and intellectual theft. To make their melodramatic point, they showed a criminal stealing a cell phone. Some thug breaking into a car. And just a total reprobate, stealing a purse. Truly awful people.
The point of course being, just like no decent, law abiding citizen would ever contemplate committing such vile crimes, no upright individual would ever consider downloading a movie off the internet, or buying a cheap, burned copy, with someone’s popcorn in the bottom of the frame, from off the street.
Of course, in the pre-movie infomercial, all three criminals were white men. Which got me to thinking. In the make believe land of movies, television, and commercials, if there is a heinous crime to be committed, 99.9% of the time, it’s now going to be done by a white guy. In fact, it has to be done by a white guy.
Political correctness and the fear of offending, or worse yet, getting sued or picketed, is such, that you will no longer see blacks, Hispanics, most minorities, or even women for that matter, commit a fictional crime. No. Hollywood and the ad agencies have decided that criminal activity on film is now the sole domain of the “too successful for his own good” white male.
Think I’m exaggerating? Watch any commercial on television for any one of the home alarm companies. One hundred percent of the time, it’s always a white guy breaking into the home. In fact, there is one spot now running, where we see an upper-middle class African-American family in a panic as a burglar is trying to break into their home. And just who is this burglar? Why none other than that well known and ubiquitous, evil white male.
My wife, who is from South America, once asked, “Don’t Hispanics ever commit any crimes in your TV shows?” My answer was, “Rarely. They will commit marginally more crimes on TV than blacks, but only because Hollywood is more worried about Jesse Jackson coming after them than Edward James Olmos.”
Obviously, for far too many years, minority and African-American actors were marginalized, stereotyped, and blatantly insulted in film, on television, and even in commercials. I would submit that you still have some of that behavior happening today. Both by elements of mainstream entertainment, and ironically, and quite tragically, in a number of Hip Hop and Gangsta rap videos which purposely denigrate and disrespect black women, while fostering the worst possible stereotypes of black men.
But is the solution to those past and current sins, to create a fairytale entertainment world in which only white men can be portrayed as criminals. While amusing in its absurdity, it also draws attention the fact that as a nation, we are still not as comfortable or accepting of diversity as some would pretend.
(Posted on September 14, 2006)