White Men and The Pandering of American Media: (Pt. 1)The White Male Default

Lakitha Tolbert
26 min readSep 1, 2023

How White Men Are Portrayed in American Popular Media

Warner Bros. /1993

Pandering: the act of catering to or profiting from the weaknesses, vices, or unreasonable desires of others

Let’s talk about pandering, which is one of the favorite terms of disgruntled white male geeks, (at least the ones who loudly complain that they are being ignored in entertainment media. Note: They’re not entirely wrong.) What is pandering? How is it being done, what does it look like in films, TV shows, books, and music? We have only to look at the history of Hollywood to answer those questions. And what are the side effects of so many decades of Popular media pandering to only one demographic? For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll be speaking only about US entertainment media (although it is a global enterprise.)

Most of what Americans know about the rest of the world comes only through the media they consume since most Americans do not engage in international travel, and unfortunately, most of them are content to leave it at the level where the consumption of entertainment media is the sum of their knowledge. Most Americans don’t use their media consumption as a jumping-off point for more research on a topic, or to question whatever narrative they have just been given. Most people don’t question how they know what they think they know, who gave them the information, or why the information was given. (The corollary to this is the rest of the world learns about the US through the media we create.)

The media, especially popular mainstream entertainment, helps to shape and reinforce the “North American” worldview, and that worldview comes from the minds of largely one demographic, so it’s interesting when white male critics on social media talk about how the media is “pandering” to the SJW’s or that it is being too “woke”. They act as if white men had not been pandered to for the last 70+ years (and for the ones who do know that, they would like that to go on being the case forever).

Ironically, the statements white men are both a declaration of ownership and a lack of control over that ownership. “This is our media and our culture, and those people are invading it and/or taking it away from us.”…

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