(Todd A. Smith)

Although he has since apologized, author James Patterson has just proven what many African-Americans have said for years.

That is some White people play the race card just as much as their African-American counterparts play the so-called race-card.

Kaylyn Womack of The Root wrote, “Author James Patterson said in a recent interview he believes White men are struggling to find employment in the entertainment industry, per The Sunday Times. Patterson attributed their struggle to racism. In the same conversation, he said he was disappointed that the Woody Allen memoir from 2020 was dropped from publishing.”

Patterson went on to say it is hard for White men to obtain jobs in film, theater and publishing.

The author said, “What’s that’s all about? Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old White males.”

I wish I could take credit for this saying that has become popular in the African-American community recently.

It goes, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Newsflash to Patterson, once upon a time only White people received jobs in entertainment.

White actors and actresses often portrayed African-American characters.

Instead of Hollywood hiring African-American performers, White entertainers wore blackface makeup, taking every role from film to theater.

When African-Americans finally received roles, those roles often consisted of characters in subservient roles.

Until recently, which I call the post-Tyler Perry era, when Hollywood finally realized how profitable plays, movies and television shows aimed at the African-American community were, African-American led entertainment usually only happened in cycles.

When the blaxploitation movies of the 1970s and gangster/hood films of the 1990s stopped making profits, Hollywood often turned a deaf ear to African-American creatives.

Now, Hollywood sees how profitable minority communities are and are investing in art that speaks to those communities.

So, in essence what Patterson is seeing from the entertainment industry is not racism against old White males.

It is not even diversity for diversity’s sake because Hollywood has not had a come-to-Jesus moment.

What Patterson sees is common sense business, especially since Hollywood probably sees that America will soon become predominantly minority in the coming decades.

Hollywood would be a fool not to see that reality coming and the dollars they will pass up if everything they release is predominantly White.

So what Patterson should say, instead of playing the race card, is just because White people are not getting 100 percent of the entertainment opportunities as they did in the days of blackface, it is not racism for Hollywood to do business with a person that has a Black face or Brown face.

That is actually the opposite of racism.

And even with more minorities getting shine in Hollywood, White entertainers still get the lion share of work in Tinseltown and beyond.

USA Today reported, “Major publisher Penguin Random House conducted a 2019-2021 diversity self-audit and found that 74.9% of its contributors in that period were White; only 6% were Black, while 5% were Hispanic or Latinx. The publisher’s employees also skewed heavily White, making up 74.2 % of its workforce.

“In 2020, the New York Times compiled its own data to determine just how White the publishing industry is and, in their sample, 89% of the books written in 2018 were by White authors. A 2019 survey also found that 85% of the people who acquire and edit books are White.”

Therefore, Patterson has a problem with basic arithmetic, or he is playing the race card.

But for some strange reason, when White people play the so-called race card it is a real grievance, but African-Americans are just lazy, dumb or making excuses.

When African-Americans discuss discrimination and racism that they have faced throughout their life, they are often accused of playing the race card.

Certain comments and questions often follow when African-Americans recount some of the prejudice that they have faced.

African-Americans often hear, why does everything have to be about race?

Another consistent reply is a person saying they do not see race.

But when a White person like Patterson plays the race-card, it might cause more damage to society than when African-Americans play the so-called race card.

White animosity to minority progress is becoming a huge problem in this country.

In fact, it has been a huge problem for years.

It is not a new phenomenon.

The idea that African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Native Americans, women and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community are taking the place of White men can be the reason for the rise of White nationalism in this divided country.

And White nationalists present the biggest terroristic threat to this country, not foreigners or Muslims or whatever minority group gets blamed for everything.

When people like Patterson say untrue things like he did, it could lead to more White resentment, which could possibly put minorities at greater risks.

Look at what almost happened at the Pride event in Idaho when members of Patriot Front hopped into a U-Haul van with plans of wreaking havoc on people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Innocent adults, and some children, might have become the victim of a hate crime because of White male grievance.

 What Patterson must realize is that sometimes when things do not go the way he wants it, it does not mean racism against White men or reverse racism is the culprit.

Creatives like Allen have lost opportunities, not because of racism against White men, but probably because of their creep-like behavior and a lack of accountability on their part.

And accountability seems like oppression for a demographic who never had to be accountable like others have had to be for centuries.

Todd A. Smith
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