Are white middle-class men discriminated against? No, seriously.

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. 🙂



  1. ubuntucat · August 26, 2008

    So Asian-American men suddenly are on TV everywhere? Where?

  2. evolution · August 26, 2008

    Hi ubuntucat,

    Good point. I think the most apt example of this is the film, 21, “based” on a true story.

    in reality, the entire blackjack team featured in 21 was Asian; however, Hollywood decided to produce the movie with an almost all-white cast, with a couple of Asians in minor roles.

    Even the Kevin Spacey character was an Asian cross-dresser in real-life, but all the leading characters in 21 were instead, for some reason, white.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Drue Kataoka · October 18, 2008

    A thoughtful and in depth post as always Aliya. Interesting for us in the Valley since Newsnight is not something on the tele here. It is interesting how the concept of “whiteness” is flattened out to mean one thing when in reality there is an extraordinary diversity within it. Thank you for giving the topic at hand so much analysis and serious treatment.

  4. Commonly Sensible · December 15, 2008

    White middle class movie goers want to watch white middle class people on the screen and movie makers just want to make cash. Hollywood routinely changes history to make it more palatable for the fat white middle class dollar that they are chasing and that is not racism on the part of Hollywood, although it is definitely casual racism on the part of the lumbering fried chicken stuffed white Americans.
    When I see a Bollywood movie full of white people then I will start expecting to see Hollywood movies full of Asians.

  5. Mike · September 23, 2009

    Paxman has not made a faux pas. Many of us who are pale and male can relate to this — discrimination against us is systemic — but we don’t speak out enough about it. Please, for example, can some bold commentator start kicking up a fuss about anti-male bias in the media. Anyone ever seen a men’s rights group quoted in a news story???

    As for being white (which I am), I hate the constant stereotyping and the subtle anti-white racism in the UK that has flourished under our oppressive left-wing state. Many organisations now have clear policies in place to favour/advantage people who are non-male, and non-white (and often non-middle class). Social engineering is so pervasive in our society that summarily to write off Paxman’s non-conformist remarks as a faux pas shows precisely the extent to which dictat has, in many quarters, displaced independent critical thought.

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