It’s “Get On Your Knees and Thank a White Man Day” in the Men’s Rights subreddit [UPDATED]

King Leopold of Belgium brought the gift of death to ten million Africans

King Leopold of Belgium brought the gift of death to ten million Africans


NOTE TO AVFM READERS: See UPDATE 2 at bottom of post.

Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, a dude named unkleman wants us all to remember the debt of gratitude we owe to the white men of the world:


unkleman 27 points 21 hours ago (42|15)  You should ask her if she is ashamed of the burden of original sin or should blacks feel like the burdened sons of Cain.  Here is my response to that attitude, but it is sure to inflame further-  People are quick to blame white people for historic wrongs, but that is because they developed technology in more barbaric times. Do you think the Zulus would have been more kind with muskets? For every white person you want to unload on for historic wrongs, you need to get on your knees and thank a hundred first for the renaissance, the age of exploration, the industrial revolution, the atomic age, and the information age we live in. Take a look at your life and ask yourself how much of current civilization would exist if not for the white man. For all I know, whites are the only reason that we all are not currently as barbaric as the very people that are decried with rants against historic wrongs. These accomplishments have given you the luxury to decry the effort they were built upon and you would have been no better but for what the founders of this world have allowed you, so allow them the thanks you owe in spades.

This message went over pretty well with the overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly self-pitying and self-congratulatory and maybe just an eensy teensy weensy bit racist demo in the Men’s Rights subreddit. I guess it pays to know your audience!

Men’s Rights and White Supremacy: two … tastes that go together.

Thanks to the folks in the AgainstMensRights subreddit for pointing me to this lovely comment.

UPDATE: Apparently, Unkleman’s comment was meant as sarcasm. That is, while he seems to think that his version of history is accurate, he thinks that the notion that individual white people today deserve credit for things other white people did in the past is stupid.

Interestingly, when he pointed out that this was what he actually meant, he got downvoted below zero, a stark contrast to the reception his original comment got. Take a look:

ishm 5 points 1 day ago (10|5)  I am in agreement with the majority of your statement!  But the "owe to white men" stanza going on for a multitude of sentences triggered negative feelings in me. I do not believe we "owe it to white men", yet I would be much more complacent with "we should appreciate the MEN and WOMEN who discovered them". Owe should be excluded as there was no damned contract signed. Minorities and other whites do not owe anything to whites who discovered various technologies. Appreciate is the word you meant I hope.      permalink     save     parent     report     give gold     reply  [–]unkleman -1 points 1 day ago (4|5)  Yeah, it was entirely meant to stir negative feelings and the premise is ridiculous. It is just the other side of the coin of the thought process for people who use such excuses to be "politically correct" racists and meant to show that their justifications should lead to a reverse conclusion.  If I actually believed I am owed kudos for racial reasons, one should assume that I literally have nothing else going for me in life and that would be sad.


Evidently, the Men’s Rightsers liked his comment much better when they thought he totally meant it.

UPDATE 2: Evidently my point in posting a picture of King Leopold of Belguim was a bit too subtle for the not-so-great minds at A Voice for Men to understand. So here is the point, in plain English: If you’re going to talk about all the good things done by white men in history, which have been considerable, you should also be prepared to talk about the bad things they have done, which have also been considerable. Since the fellow I quoted gave examples of the good things he sees as white male accomplishments, I thought I would provide an example of a white man who was not such a good fellow as a counterexample. I hope this helps!

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on April 14, 2014, in misogyny, MRA, oppressed white men, racism, reddit and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 184 Comments.

  1. Joe Kennedy had his daughter Rose lobotomized for being “inappropriate” with men and generally being considered unstable. She was left incapacitated at the age of 23. It was a wide spread practice. It was not as dangerous as the hysterectomies that came before it. It was cheap, quick and it shut ’em up.

  2. Also, it is hard to say whether the reported risks of c-section apply to c-sections or are caused by factors that make women more likely to have c-sections, or are only a factor in emergency c-sections and not planned c-sections, since most studies don’t compare births by planned delivery mode (which as far as I’m concerned is a huge drawback–what if it turns out that most of the problems with c-sections are caused by emergency surgery and could be solved by scheduling c-sections? I certainly would want to know that before planning either mode of delivery.)

    And always remember that “planned” c-sections may be planned because of entirely predictable problems with a “natural” delivery. Having got to near 3 weeks overdue with my first, the obstetrician said we’d better pencil in a c-section for a couple of days hence. I was horrified. Why not induce labour? Well, he said, we could do that. But seeing as the baby’s head isn’t anywhere near where it should be for a natural birth, we’d be giving you an emergency section after a few hours. It’s better to schedule it in the first place.

    I wasn’t happy. But I had both babies by section. From what I’ve since heard about induced labour going haywire – probably for the sort of reasons he was referring to – I’m glad the doc did the right thing.

  3. About ECT: It has a horrible history of abuse that should be remembered. But it really is a far different procedure today than it was, it and is only used as an absolute last resort when therapy and medications fail. I’ve seen it done. The person is given a mild, short lasting anesthetic and is hooked up to monitors to watch heart rate and vitals; also EEG and ECG. The shock administered is a lot lower than it used to be, and a lot shorter. It’s a medical procedure, so the person has to give informed consent before being given ECT. The most common side effect is short term memory loss.

    I once interned at a state mental hospital. There were a couple people there who actually begged their doctors to send them for ECT (the treatment was done at the nearby medical hospital, not at the psychiatric facility) because they said it was the only thing that worked for them. The doctors were very, very hesitant to do so, because it was such a drastic and last resort treatment.

    This all happened in Pennsylvania, USA. In the US, ECT is regulated by state and federal laws.

    Psychiatry and medicine really does have a horrible and sordid history of human rights abuses and cruelty. Lobotomy is a case in point. Shudder. I remember from one of my psych classes, they used to use ice baths and put people into insulin shock as treatments for mental illness – absolutely no scientific backing for either, just lets do this and see what happens.

  4. opium4themasses

    A friend linked me to this

    The sight is thought catalog, bit this article has very little.

  5. @Samantha: Those stories are absolutely horrendous. I’m appalled, and feel sick that you had to experience and see stuff like that.


    You know, I used to be much more upset over an abusive childhood and such than I am now. I have had long conversations with my husband about my life and, over the years, I came to the conclusion that, on the whole, what I do with my experiences is a hell of a lot more important than what they were.

    I do not know if I can explain it well, but I have learned so much. Compassion is, I think, the most important lesson, followed closely by the importance of staying awake and paying attention. And I believe that everyone has challenges that may seem horrible to others, but are opportunities to expand one’s own sense of self and the world. Of course, there are limits. There are things that happen to folk that can just cripple them, and I have seen people who have come here from other countries who have gone through FAR whose than anything I can even imagine and still have the ability to love and feel that life is worth living.

    Gives me hope and joy, it does.

  6. Thought catalog is the worst. I don’t think I’ve ever read one intelligent thing there.

  7. Re: the OP, there seems to be a very widespread idea – not just with MRAs, but with the general public – that if the person widely credited with inventing X hadn’t done so, X would never have existed. That ONE AND ONLY ONE person could ever have had the stroke of genius that enabled them to create X.

    Obviously this isn’t true. Who these days doesn’t know about Elisha Gray? The printing press (already mentioned upthread) is another good example, especially since the Germans and the Chinese invented it completely independently of one another. My hunch is that if white people hadn’t developed the technology that enabled them to exploit the globe, the world of today would be…pretty much the same, just with another group dominating. Someone would have come up with the same or similar ideas and inventions.

    As Terry Pratchett puts it, you get steam engines when it’s steam engine time.

  8. opium4themasses:

    A friend linked me to this

    The sight is thought catalog, bit this article has very little.

    And isn’t it funny how most of those aren’t actually female privilege, but male privilege? And the rest either aren’t really things that happen (i.e., “women and children first”) or the result of rigid, toxic masculine gender role (i.e., being told to “man up”)?

  9. opium4themasses

    @sparky Very true. That article talks about a lot of things which remove agency from women and calls it female privilege.

    He even appears to long for the days when men could skip town on their family and avoid supporting their children.

    About the timing of an invention, I highly recommend the video series “Everything is a Remix” which talks about how many ideas are created through communication and disjointed collaboration. Shared culture is the giant whose shoulders we stand upon. (Also, Newton was an asshole.)

  10. Thought Catalog, ironically, is rather short on cogent thoughts, and long on self-absorbed wanking by people who haven’t yet learned to see past the ends of their noses.

    Re the various shock therapies: Sylvia Plath went through insulin shock, if The Bell Jar is any indication. Naturally, it didn’t work; it was a “throw mud at this wall and see how much sticks” approach. All she did was gain some weight. She got electroshock, too, but while it worked a bit, it only worked up to a point; she ended up killing herself ten years later, when her illness came back with a vengeance. No word on what medications, if any, she received. I’m guessing either the wrong ones, or none at all, because doctors at the time loved to tinker with sick people’s brains. And because back then, sedation was more important than combatting mania and depression. Docs preferred docility over actual wellness, it seems.

  11. cassandrakitty

    The Tom of Finland stamp with the head just kind of floating between the guy’s legs is pretty funny, gotta say. It’s the fact that it doesn’t seem to be attached to a body so it’s just kind of hovering there.

  12. Marinerachel:
    “There has never been any convincing evidential support that delivery via c-section does any lasting harm to babies. Furthermore, while we know recovery generally takes longer following delivery via c-section due to the harm of a surgical procedure we never even talk about injuries to mothers as part of vaginal delivery and their long-term repercussions. We pretend they don’t even happen when they very much do.”

    I’ve done both. First baby was an unplanned c section after 3 hours of pushing. Next baby shot out of me like a cannon, 40 minutes after getting to the hospital – no pain killers. The recovery was far worse with the latter and oh my lord, the pain!!!. Lots of bruising and 3rd degree tearing (sorry for the tmi). After my c section I was hell bent on having a “natural” birth. Seriously be careful what you wish for! lol!

    My experience is in no way a norm and I don’t bring it up to promote c sections. Every birth brings it’s own unique set of circumstances I think is the lesson.

  13. RE: ollyoxen

    However, both Chinese and Korean are languages that have thousands of variable characters, making printing presses nice, but not that useful.

    Um, I was under the impression that Korean had a finite set of phonological radicals, combined to make syllabic sounds. You could rig up a printing press system using interlocking radical stamps without too much trouble, I think. So yeah, I don’t buy that.

    (Seriously, Korean seems to be one of the best designed alphabets around. Damn!)

  14. LBT, the Korean alphabet is an interesting case, as it was developed relatively late in history (1400s, I think?) relative to pretty much all other alphabets, and was tailored to be relatively simple and to specifically suit the Korean language, as opposed to other alphabets that (I believe) developed alongside languages and tend to have some weird discrepancies and foibles.

    Prior to this (and through a lot of Korean history- hangul [the alphabet] has only really been in universal use since the early 1900s I think?), the Chinese alphabet was used instead, because the Chinese culture was such a behemoth in Asia for a large chunk of recorded history, and there was a lot of borrowing from it by surrounding countries (as well as invasions and whatnot). So when the printing press was invented in Korea, it’s likely they were using chinese characters.

    This sharing of Chinese alphabet is also why Japanese is such a mess when it comes to alphabets- they used chinese characters for the longest time when their language is really not suited for it (a more phonetic alphabet like Hangul would work much better), and then they supplemented the chinese characters with TWO MORE alphabets (hirigana and katakana) to try to compensate for the shortcomings of the borrowed alphabet.

    Excuse any errors in this, I’m not a historian in the slightest.

    But yeah, everyone knows only white people did anything historically significant or interesting, right?

  15. cassandrakitty

    The confusion may be from the habit of writing Korean names using Chinese characters? But yeah, Hangul is pretty printing-friendly.

  16. (Seriously, Korean seems to be one of the best designed alphabets around. Damn!)

    Sanskrit is another really elegant (and pretty) one.

  17. My favorite alphabet is the Arabic alphabet. Cursive Arabic is very easy to grasp and it almost always looks pretty. I also used to do Arabic calligraphy, which unfortunately I’m not very good at but I made some interesting pieces, I guess. Most of them were just invented by 15-year-old language-obsessed me who thought it was cool to write old philosophical sayings in Arabic calligraphy. (The one that makes me cringe the most is basically a Confucius saying translated into sloppy Arabic.)

    I might try writing people’s names in Arabic calligraphy again, though. People seem to be more interested in those, and I don’t have to fear the possibility of being extremely pretentious. (Let’s just say I’m glad I’m no longer 15.)

  18. The only thing about the Arabic alphabet that bothers me is the difficulty involved in mastering certain consonants. Anyone who has tried learning the Arabic alphabet (as a non-native speaker of Arabic) knows how hard it is to pronounce ‘ayn, qaaf, and 7aa’.

    Sanskrit is another really elegant (and pretty) one.

    My sister knows Hindi and her Sanskrit writing is just gorgeous. I envy her. x_x

  19. cassandrakitty

    As far as alphabets that are just really pretty to look at, I also like Arabic, and Thai.

  20. I used to have trouble with my throat after my arabic lessons, which is odd since I’m Dutch and we’re stereotyped as having a language with many throat sounds.

  21. Ooh, Thai. They’ve got a great alphabet. A lesser known but awesome one: Tifinagh. Everything looks like a secret code.

  22. Since we’re on alphabets, fun fact: the Hebrew alphabet used by Jews (both in modern Israeli Hebrew and in the Tanakh and other sacred writings) is actually the Aramaic alphabet. The only people still using the original Hebrew alphabet are the Samaritans.

  23. @Leum

    Wow, I had no idea. I have always believed that Hebrew was kind of a long-standing, relatively independent language and that it was in fact Arabic that was largely influenced by Aramaic.

    I would love to learn Aramaic if the opportunity ever presents itself. It sounds beautiful – like a soft combination of Hebrew and Arabic. Too bad I don’t know any decent texts on Aramaic.

  24. RE: Catalpa

    LBT, the Korean alphabet is an interesting case,

    Yes! Its history is fascinating! And King Sejong = teh awesomez.

    I know a bit about this, since I studied linguistics back in the day and was a Japanese minor. So this stuff is pretty much stuff I already know, but it’s still really cool anyway.

    RE: katz

    Sanskrit is another really elegant (and pretty) one.

    I unfortunately know next to nothing about Sanskirt. *shame*

  25. “I unfortunately know next to nothing about Sanskirt. *shame*”

    That typo cracked me up. Read it as “without a skirt” and that u know nothing of being sans skirt. Hehehe.

  26. @Kootiepatra

    And that’s leaving out the small detail that that ALL OF CAIN’S DESCENDANTS (according to the Bible) DIED IN THE FLOOD. Seth is the ancestor of Noah and therefore all humanity. They can’t even get their shitty mysticism right.

  27. Re: the OP, there seems to be a very widespread idea – not just with MRAs, but with the general public – that if the person widely credited with inventing X hadn’t done so, X would never have existed. That ONE AND ONLY ONE person could ever have had the stroke of genius that enabled them to create X.

    Aaaarrrggghhh. And it’s not just that; it comes with this notion that science and inventions are done by solitary Eureka moments ex nihilo. There’s no such thing as precursors or parallel research.
    Usually Einstein is cited as a prime example, when people forget that other scientists, such as Lorentz and Poincaré, were working on the same problems at the same time, and laid the groundwork for Einstein’s theory. Another good example was the invention of the airplane, usually cited as a stroke of genius by the solitary Wright brothers, when in fact a ton of people were racing to be the first to invent heavier-than-air flight, and it was achieved at least one more time independently before the Wrights claimed their invention.

  28. “Eureka is Greek for ‘this bath is too hot'” – the Doctor

  29. [blockquote]Re: the OP, there seems to be a very widespread idea – not just with MRAs, but with the general public – that if the person widely credited with inventing X hadn’t done so, X would never have existed. That ONE AND ONLY ONE person could ever have had the stroke of genius that enabled them to create X.[blockquote]

    The jet aircraft is a fine example of why that’s wrong, I think. I can remember two inventors for that, but I think there was a third one as well.

  30. As Isaac Newton, inventor of the catflap, said

    If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.

  31. I always love that Newton invented the catflap.

    Then I wonder … what was the real reason that apple fell out of the tree?

  32. Well, buggrit. The story about Newton may be urban myth. There are different versions of it, anyway.

    I found this piece about it – it’s not the article so much, it’s the comments, which are really funny, especially the ones about Schrodinger’s Cat.

  33. @kittehserf, I’m going with this one (‘cos I want to)

    There’s a bit more to the legend. The door with the 2 holes was the door to Newton’s lab. Newton was fascinated by light and would spend all day in his dark lab conducting experiments. Anyone who’s ever had a cat could see how this could become a problem. My cat gets upset whenever I spend more than 60 seconds in the bathroom. In Newton’s case, a cat hole wouldn’t work because it would let in too much light, ruining his experiments. His solution was to cover the hole with a heavy piece of felt, transforming it into the world’s first cat door. When his cat became a mother, he had a new problem. The kittens weren’t strong enough to move the felt door. He created the kitten door with a smaller, lighter piece of felt so they could come and go when they pleased without disrupting his experiments.

  34. That was my favourite, too!

    Though the idea of the cat/s just refusing to use the first door works as well. They do it with cat beds, can’t you just see them doing it with doors?

  35. Especially if they think they can make a human open the door, instead. *glares at witchy kitty*

  36. Open the door so they can then not go through it.

  37. But hang around glaring, or gazing wistfully, at you with unbounded pity that you’re too stupid to work out what they really want even though they’ve not yet thought of it themselves.

  38. That’s it.

    There are some fascinating articles on that site, including this one about cat behaviour, WITH CUTE KITTY PICS.

    (Why yes, ‘cats’ was my search term, why do you ask?)

  39. Even if you think white people are evil, there is no denying that modern technology exists because of them.
    As the author points out, there is no reason to believe Zulus would have been nicer had they’ve had machine guns.

  40. @a dude

    citation MAJORLY needed

  41. Hey dude, good job in completely missing the point. You are aware that all humans regardless of race are pretty much biologically identical, right?

  42. Do we need to go over how the concept of 0 which is essential to computer programming was not discovered by Europeans again?

  43. I love the overlap between racists and misogynists. Just remember, everyone, bigotry comes in little clusters of shit.

  44. You should also mention, as it is above bigots heads, that the white man did not invent All of Everything. Or even Most.

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