Monday, April 9, 2012

Hollywood Still Wins the Stereotype Derby

John Derbyshire got himself dropped as a contributor to the conservative National Review magazine by publishing in another online journal some politically incorrect attitudes on how whites should relate towards blacks in the United States.

A great irony is that the same stereotypes that are being universally condemned in Derbyshire are the stock in trade of Hollywood. Indeed, one can go down Derbyshire's list and find Hollywood movies made by some of Hollywood's brightest and most progressive stars with the same themes.

White Man's Burden (9a) A small cohort of blacks - around five percent - is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us.
Do the Right Thing (9b) A much larger cohort of blacks - around half - will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event.
Animal House (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
Training Day (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
The Warriors (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date.
8 Mile (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
Zulu Dawn (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
Hotel Rwanda (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
The Last King of Scotland (10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
Fort Apache, The Bronx (10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
Trading Places (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
Dangerous Minds (11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.
Gone with the Wind (12) In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs.
Brewster's Millions (13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks (IWSBs). You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs.
White Men Can't Jump (14a) There is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (14b) There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs.
Soul Man (15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous.

It is perhaps unfair to include Zulu Dawn, The Last King of Scotland, and Hotel Rwanda as they are about Africa and not black Americans. But it should be observed that 66-year-old John Derbyshire is every bit the English twit his last name suggests.

He attended the Northampton School for Boys, a school most notable for its production of rugby players, and graduated from University College London, a third-rate British university (it rates behind Cambridge and Oxford). What informs the Derbyshire psyche is undoubtedly not so much American experience as growing up during the unravelling of Britain's colonial empire, White Man's Burden and all that.

Take 10a, I'm sure that I could with perfect safety walk into a NBA locker room or a Black Chamber of Commerce Meeting. For 10b in Boston, I can think of some white neighborhoods like Southie and Eastie that are good to stay out of at certain times of day. On 10f, the city I've settled in has had a black mayor 3 times while I've lived here to no ill effect. We did have one mayor who had to spend some time in prison, he was not black.

10i is good advice, I use it in everyday encounters with the largely white street people in my city. I did stop Sunday and give assistance to a young black couple and their two young kids. They wanted help interpreting our byzantine parking signs, directions to the Harvard University campus (apparently wanting, if I were to apply Derbyshire stereotypes, to indoctrinate their kids against privileged whites and Asians while still in the stroller), and directions to the nearest good Thai restaurant.

Derbyshire makes something of the fact that there are "no black Fields Medal winners" saying that "this is civilizationally consequential." There have been only 52 recipients of the Fields Medal mathematics prize. That is not a very large sample size from a world population of 7 trillion. Derbyshire's assertion suffers from the black swan problem. For all we know, Jesse Douglas, one of the first two winners in 1936, was part black. Or perhaps the first black Fields Medal winner is now in grade school.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, referred to in 14b above, was released on December 12, 1967. In it Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier sought to warm up America to interracial marriage. But one product of a short-lived interracial marriage was already 6 years old, future President of the United States Barack Obama.

But if Derbyshire is out at the National Review due to his propensity to stereotype, there may still be room for him in Hollywood. He does have an IMDB entry as an uncredited thug in the 1972 Bruce Lee movie Way of the Dragon. More likely he'll retire on his acquired American citizenship and draw social security on the earnings of his racist thuggery like a good leech.

No comments: