Eye on Hollywood: Reel Bad Whites

As I wrote back in early June, Arab-American professor Jack Shaheen has long been concerned about the consistently negative images Hollywood comes up with when portraying Arabs. Over the years he has written three books on the topic: The TV Arab; Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People; and Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs After 9/11. In the massive second book Reel Bad Arabs, he canvassed 900 films, “the vast majority of which portray Arabs by distorting at every turn what most Arab men, women, and children are really like.”

Shaheen was wise to point to the selective framing of Arabs and how it is repeated endlessly. Naturally, such repetition has a goal, one captured in an old Arabic saying: “Al tikrar biallem il hmar. By repetition even the donkey learns.”

With respect to an ethnic group—nay, a whole race—closer to my own heart, I worry about the images of the white majority. You know, the Leave It to Beaver types that we were (and were surrounded by) in our youth. 

Hollywood, it seems, has not favored us over the last half century or so. Either they supplant favorable white images with favorable images of African Americans and more recent Americans such as Jews. Or they create images of whites that are far more negative than typical of the first half of Hollywood’s existence. Why the change?

Further, why has the “reel,” or contrived studio image of whites, especially men, taken such a hit? Have whites really become that bad? Or have we always been evil, but our oppressive powers hid that truth?

Allow me to illustrate. Consider the following actual, or “real,”  stories:

The Ithaca Christmas Massacre of 1989: Ithaca, New York, home to Cornell University, is small, like many such towns in the Finger Lakes region. A white man, Tony Harris, married with two children, felt it was a good place to raise a family. Unfortunately, he, his wife, son and daughter were murdered there three days before Christmas 1989. Sixteen-year-old daughter Shelby was raped before she was killed. The suspect was African American Michael Kinge. Records indicate that Kinge had ridden his bicycle to the country setting of the Harris’s home, assaulted them with a gun, then tied all four to beds in two upstairs bedrooms. He shot all four, then attempted to dispose of the evidence by burning the bodies.

The Wichita Massacre of 2000: Pat Buchanan was one of the few nationally-known personalities to reference the Wichita Massacre of 2000. In his book The Death of the West, he described the crimes that took place on the night of Dec. 14, 2000:

Five young people were at a party when their home was invaded by brothers, ages twenty-three and twenty. The five were put into a car, driven to an ATM machine, forced to withdraw their money, and taken onto a soccer field. The two women were forced to strip and were raped. Then the victims were forced to have sex with each other at gunpoint. All were made to kneel down. Each was shot in the ear. The three young men and one woman died. The other woman, left for dead, ran bleeding and naked for a mile in the cold to find help, as the brothers drove back to ransack the house.

One of the victims had decided to become a priest. Another had bought an engagement ring and was about to propose, but “in the minutes before he died, Jason Befort was forced to watch as the woman he hoped to marry was raped.”

The Knoxville Torture Murders of 2007: On the night of January 6, 2007, a young white couple, Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, were on a date. On the streets of Knoxville, they were allegedly carjacked by black men, then kidnapped, beaten, gang-raped, tortured and murdered. The national press was silent.

As with the Wichita Massacre cited above, Hollywood wanted nothing to do with the story of black men anally gang-raping a 23-year-old white man. They did not want to graphically portray black men pouring cleaning fluid down Ms. Christian’s throat after orally, anally, and vaginally gang-raping her. Nor did they want to discuss how Newsom’s body, with “multiple gunshot wounds,” was discarded and set afire next to railroad tracks.  Ms. Christian’s body was found wrapped in garbage bags in a trash can. Some have suggested the body had been dismembered.

Now consider how Hollywood portrays interracial crime:

A Time to Kill (1996): In A Time to Kill, two Southern rednecks, dirty and disheveled, race their souped up yellow pickup trick across the red dirt of rural Mississippi. Sweaty and drunk, they hurl a full bottle of beer at black youths innocently playing basketball outside a small grocery store. Inside the store, the rednecks cruelly harass the long-suffering blacks of the neighborhood, including a young black girl.

Walking home alone along a country lane, groceries in hand, the girl is struck down by a can of beer thrown by one of the rednecks. As the bag of groceries flies out of her hands, a broken egg on the ground with its yoke running into the dirt symbolizes what is about to take place with the girl. Lying prone on the ground, she is filmed from various angles as the two white men take turns brutally raping her. Once finished, the men intend to leave no witness alive, so they roughly fit a rope around her frail neck and lynch her.

Déjà vu (2006): This film portrays a young white self-styled “patriot,” not unlike executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The villain here has planted a bomb on a New Orleans ferry, killing 543 innocent Americans in the process. The scene accesses Americans’ memories of three traumatic events—the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina (complete with its overtones of racist whites).

A previous victim had been a beautiful young African American woman brutally butchered by the white man. He tied her hands behind her back, placed a burlap hood over her head, then poured gasoline over her in preparation for her immolation. Next, he sadistically brandished pruning shears as he approached the thrashing black captive, slowly picked up her hand and cut off the fingers of her right hand in order to remove evidence from under her fingernails.

Transforming Politically Incorrect Reality to Suit Hollywood’s Anti-white Agenda

But It goes beyond creating fictitious cases of whites preying on blacks. Hollywood has taken real cases where blacks have brutalized whites and portrayed them as the exact opposite: White men brutalizing innocent blacks.

For instance, in October 2001, African American Chante Mallard, a young nurse’s assistant, hit a homeless white man, Greg Biggs, leaving him half lodged in her windshield. Ms. Mallard then drove home, parked her car in the garage, and left Mr. Biggs stuck in the window. For two days she checked on Biggs’ condition, talked to him, and when he finally bled to death, she and her boyfriend dumped the body in a park.

Hollywood transformed this into an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as well as a film. In the CSI episode Anatomy of a Lye (the twenty-first of the second season), the driver became a white lawyer. In the 2007 film Stuck, Mena Suvari, the actress who played Lester Burnham’s blonde, blue-eyed high school love interest in American Beauty, starred in the role of Ms. Mallard.

The film was directed and co-written by Stuart Gordon, a Jewish American who has evidenced a highly critical view of majority culture, beginning with his founding of Screw Theater in 1968 and an adaptation of Peter Pan that featured nudity and hallucinogenics, for which Gordon was arrested. His Organic Theater Company later staged Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

Hollywood, of course, has not limited its inversions of politically incorrect reality to portrayals of white-on-black crime. A plethora of films have portrayed women or African Americans in high-status positions such as doctors, lawyers, or professors that were traditionally dominated by white males. An exception — until recently — was that Hollywood continued to portray airline pilots as white males. But even here, Hollywood now often shows a preference for women or African Americans as pilots.

For instance, in Turbulence (1997), a blonde flight attendant flies a 747 while a crazed white man played by Ray Liotta stalks her. In the Tom Hanks flick Cast Away (2000), we see both a female and a black pilot. And in a related theme, Jodi Foster plays an aeronautical engineer in Flightplan (2005). This, of course, is all part and parcel of the forward march of multiculturalism in the United States, as in the West more generally.

Another common example is for a Jewish character to rescue people in distress. A classic in this genre is the 1996 film Independence Day, which starred Jeff Goldblum as a hero fighter pilot along with African American Will Smith. (In this film, President Thomas J. Whitmore was still played by a white man; but, as we all know, portrayals of blacks as president have become commonplace, to the point that such portrayals have been suggested as paving the way for Barack Obama’s looming presidency.)

It is so common for Jews to be such heroes in film that one film expert has created a category specifically called “Jews to the Rescue.”

Then of course there are the numerous films in which the engineering genius is played by a black. One genius that comes to mind is Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson, “the original inventor of the neural-net processor which would lead to the development of Skynet, a computer A.I. intended to control and defend the United States, but which would later seize control of the world and launch a global war of extermination against humanity.” His appearance, of course, was in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Speaking only for myself, I fear that such fictional images of the dispossession of white males signal a real desire on the part of some segments of society to dispossess white males in real life. What then will future films look like when in fact the majority has been eclipsed?

Edmund Connelly is a freelance writer, academic, and expert on the cinema arts. He has previously written for The Occidental Quarterly.