Once upon a time six blind men came across an elephant.
- The first one touched his side and said the elephant was a wall.
- The second one touched his tusk and said the elephant was a spear.
- The third one touched his trunk and said the elephant was a snake.
- The fourth one touched his knee and said the elephant was a tree.
- The fifth one touched his ear and said the elephant was a fan.
- The sixth one touched his tail and said the elephant was a piece of rope.
But only the third blind man was white and spoke English.
- The BBC said the elephant was a snake.
- CNN said the elephant was a snake.
- The New York Times said the elephant was a snake.
- The Wikipedia said the elephant was a snake.
- Hollywood said the elephant was a snake.
- Harvard said the elephant was a snake.
- Oxford said the elephant was a snake.
- Cambridge said the elephant was a snake.
- Schoolbooks in Texas said the elephant was a snake.
And so the Vast Talking Machine filled the world with its voice and, lo, many believed that the elephant was a snake.
Those who disbelieved were discounted. After all, most of them did not speak English or were not white or came from poor countries or were just women. So what did they know?
Those white Americans who disagreed mostly kept their mouths shut and just thought of it as a Very Odd Looking Snake Indeed.
Those few white people who did speak up had
- their intelligence questioned or
- their education questioned or
- their motives questioned or
- their state of mind questioned.
After all, if most white people believe something how can they be wrong?
The moral of the story:
In our world it is not one observer in six who is an English-speaking white man but one in 44:
- Less than 22% of the world is white.
- Less than 11% of the world is white and male.
- Less than 2.3% of the world is white, male and speaks English.
Yet they run the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. They write most of the Hollywood films and Wikipedia articles and schoolbooks in Texas. They even own BET. English-speaking white men own and run nearly all the main bits of the Vast Talking Machine.
Not that English-speaking white men are always wrong or always agree among themselves. But when they do generally agree on something but are wrong about it, it is very hard to set it right.
For example, things like stereotypes about Africa or about blacks, Latinos and Asians become very hard to shake – or even escape. Meanwhile, pointing out – or even knowing about – the full truth of the evils past and present of English-speaking white men is not easy at all. It certainly is not something you can depend on the Vast Talking Machine to do – as Malcolm X found out and WikiLeaks has shown.
– Abagond, 2010.
- propaganda model
- The Five Rules of Racial Standing – how White Americans are affected by race when judging the truth of someone’s statements, whether in court, on television or on a blog.
- stereotypes about Africa– here I list some of them, yet if you read the comments of the following two posts you will see how knowing about Africa only through the Western press gives me the wrong picture:
- What Malcolm X read in prison
- Zora Neale Hurston: What White Publishers Won’t Print
- History in Texas schoolbooks