Well, they are, if you believe one Mr Jeremy Paxman. It seems that race relations have progressed so far in this country, that beyond mere equality, bigotry in its latest form means that white middle-class men have no hope of making within the television industry.
At a pre-recorded interview at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Paxman said:
“The worst thing you can be in this industry is a middle-class white male. If any middle-class white male I come across says he wants to enter television, I say ‘give up all hope’. They’ve no chance.”
Pardon me if I’m perhaps just a tad sceptical. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong; I love Paxman’s irreverent interviewing style on Newsnight (who doesn’t!?) Much to the amusement of the British public, Paxman has provided countless classic moments of TV gold, as many an arrogant, slippery politician makes yet another futile attempt to try to evade his aggressive and persistent line of questioning (“Did you threaten to over-rule him?” 😉 ).
Afterall, only Paxman alone could ask Tony Blair whether he and George Bush pray together, for example. 🙂
However, in recent months, Paxo has been prone to gaffes on more than one occasion. First, there was the rather sensitive issue of Marks & Spencer’s underwear (the less said about this, the better – I’d rather not elaborate 😯 ). This was closely followed by a rather serious “incident” where Paxman managed to offend the whole of Scotland, by lambasting the work of celebrated poet, Robert Burns as “sentimental doggerel.”
And in his most recent error of judgment, Paxman appears to think that white middle-class men are the most disadvantaged when it comes to employability, in the television industry, at least. This is a comment that could only really come from someone who’s probably hasn’t experienced much prejudice and bigotry firsthand.
Needless to say, Paxman’s comments have received much criticism and ridicule. Channel 4 news presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, said:
“I feel awfully sorry for white, middle-class men who went to Oxbridge… but I’m not sure they are the ones at the greatest disadvantage.
“Obviously, the people who really are facing the biggest struggle to make it into television are those from working-class backgrounds and people from ethnic minorities. If they are both working class and from an ethnic minority, they really are up against it.”
Whilst it’s undeniable that there’s been significant progress when it comes to eradicating discrimination, nevertheless, there is still a long way to go, and to claim that white middle-class men face a greater struggle than women, ethnic minorities, or the working class, is simply absurd.
Paxman’s bold, outlandish claims that white middle-class males are society’s most neglected minority group seems to indicate that he is completely out of touch with reality.
Despite this latest faux pas, to remember Paxman at his most memorable, check out this video that features some of his best moments:
Aah, that’s better. Classic Paxman at his finest hour. 🙂