In the upcoming science-fiction film Inception, one of the main characters is heard to state:
“What's the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.”
Ideas lead to discovery, which in turn lead to innovations, ultimately giving us inventions that benefit humanity.
It is stated that life began in Africa and that humans migrated elsewhere, thus the Out of Africa Theory (OAT). Often maligned as The Dark Continent, those of African descent have been noticeably absent from any hard science fields when it comes to Nobel Prizes and worse, metallurgy never took off on a continent bestowed with untold resources. It was left to Europeans and now, the Chinese (those who evolved outside of Africa, if OAT is to be taken seriously) to mine these resources for human usage.
Prometheus is said to have stolen fire from the Gods and given it to man, an act he was eternally punished for and yet this divine spark was the mythical instigator for all human innovation.
Black people are painfully aware that Prometheus decided to impart that divine spark of fire unto white people, thereby depriving the earliest form of life (if OAT is taken seriously) any opportunity to create, innovate and eventually invent anything of lasting significance that has helped benefit the humanity:
Imagine some pathetic Euro-American activist grabbing your lapels and demanding,
"Did you know that Euro-Americans invented the airplane? [You nod.] Oh, you did? Well … did you know that Euro-Americans invented the golf cart? Huh? Huh, did you know you that?"
Well, duh, everybody knows—whether or not they're crass enough to mention it—that over the last 500 or 600 years, whites invented pretty much everything worth inventing. (And, of course, a lot that wasn’t.)
For his encyclopedic Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century, Peter Watson interviewed 150 scholars from around the world about who was responsible for the great innovations. Watson recounted that
"…all of them—there were no exceptions—said the same thing. In the 20th century, in the modern world, there were no non-western ideas of note."
Maybe this is a little unfair to the Japanese, whose Just-in-Time manufacturing was hugely important. And to some nonwhites in the West who came up with good ideas like jazz. Overall, though, the dominance of whites is just so hugely apparent that it's in bad taste to talk about it.
During Black History Month, Crusading White Pedagogues go to great links to elucidate the trivial inventions of Black people to the point of praising George Washington Carver for his contributions in furthering our knowledge of peanuts and multiple usages and applications of this delicious diminutive snack. Sadly, even these teachings are inaccurate.
A list of purported Black inventions is found here, though these touted accomplishments face scrutiny here. Black Invention Myths is a website dedicated to truth in a world where Fictional Black History Month Heroes are being drudged up from the bottom of seemingly endless sea of innovations brought to you solely by the Black mind:
Perhaps you've heard the claims: Were it not for the genius and energy of African-American inventors, we might find ourselves in a world without traffic lights, peanut butter, blood banks, light bulb filaments, and a vast number of other things we now take for granted but could hardly imagine life without.
Such beliefs usually originate in books or articles about black history. Since many of the authors have little interest in the history of technology outside of advertising black contributions to it, their stories tend to be fraught with misunderstandings, wishful thinking, or fanciful embellishments with no historical basis. The lack of historical perspective leads to extravagant overestimations of originality and importance: sometimes a slightly modified version of a pre-existing piece of technology is mistaken for the first invention of its type; sometimes a patent or innovation with little or no lasting value is portrayed as a major advance, even if there's no real evidence it was ever used.
Unfortunately, some of the errors and exaggerations have acquired an illusion of credibility by repetition in mainstream outlets, especially during Black History Month (see examples for the traffic light and ironing board). When myths go unchallenged for too long, they begin to eclipse the truth. Thus I decided to put some records straight. Although this page does not cover every dubious invention claim floating around out there, it should at least serve as a warning never to take any such claim for granted.
Well, Black-Inventor.com is one of the best tools for researching Black inventions as they provide links, unlike numerous websites that purport to highlight inventors who hail from The Dark Continent.
Sadly, insufficient evidence is cited which can credibly confirm any of the aforementioned inventions that came from the fertile soil of the African mind (Ancient Egypt was not Nubian, to the dismay of Afro-centrists everywhere).
However, one such innovation is credited to a Black person which Black people collectively can take credit for and relish in the notion that one innovation is fully documented as theirs: The Super Soaker.
This toy gun, when filled with water, has the ability to supply children with endless hours of fun and we owe its creation to Lonnie Johnson:
Lonnie Johnson has some impressive hard science credentials.
He’s worked for the Strategic Air Command and for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, engineering missions to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. He holds more than 100 patents, many of them in that arcane spot where chemistry, electricity and physics cross into future technology. He invented a chip that converts solar heat to electric current
Now Johnson, a nuclear engineer is introducing a new generation of rechargeable battery technology that could revolutionize the, cell phone, pacemaker and plug-in electric car.
But among the crowd of aspiring engineering students, their parents and some of Los Angeles’ top names in engineering, Lonnie Johnson is still known as Mr. Squirt Gun, inventor of the Super Soaker water gun.
“What, cried UC Riverside engineering students Ebube Agu, Kevin Mitton and Nkenge Wheatian “He invented the Super Soaker”? The students were among those gathered at the Proud Bird Restaurant for the Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers’ 31st annual awards and scholarship banquet.
Keynote speaker Johnson, 61, doesn’t mind if he’s better known for watery mayhem than rocket science.
Perhaps that’s because more than $1 billion worth of Super Soakers have sold since 2007. His share (he licensed the Soaker’s design to Larami Toys, later bought by Hasbro) won him financial independence to pursue his own dreams and ideas which is how his Atlanta based Johnson Research and Development Company was born.
“It all started with an accident,” Johnson told the crowd.
The Super Soaker toy gun is the most important contribution to humanity that can be credibly linked to being solely the innovation of a Black individuals mind, thus it can truly be celebrated by Black people everywhere as a profound sign of their inestimable value:
No one could mistake Lonnie Johnson for a crackpot tinkerer. The Atlanta toy inventor knew he had something special when he let his children play with the pump-and-nozzle apparatus he had fashioned. "The other kids in the neighborhood," he says, "just had regular water pistols."
Johnson first got the idea for the Super Soaker in 1982, while he was still in the Air Force. "I was experimenting with inventions that used water instead of Freon as a refrigeration fluid," he recalls. "As I was shooting water through a high-pressure nozzle into the bathtub, I thought that it would make a neat water pistol. From that point, it was an engineering problem."
In March 1989, Johnson visited the Larami Corp. booth at the American International Toy Fair held at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. But, he was in a wary mood for deal-making, bringing with him a history of disappointing ventures with manufacturers who had licensed his previous ideas. "I didn't have a nondisclosure agreement with me," he recalls, "so I talked very superficially. I just said I had an idea for a new type of water gun and asked if they would be interested."
Millions of children can thank Mr. Johnson for this invention, as he helped progress toy military technology by 50 years and ushered in a new era of water-based weaponry that few can hope to replicate. Every other innovation, well... we think you know who to thank.
Sadly, the invention of the Super Soaker is an albatross for Black inventors as so few other innovations have come from the innovative minds of Black people (Robert Johnson did found Black Entertainment Television, but this innovation has done little to improve the quality of life for anyone who watches the channel).
Lonnie Johnson has placed a heavy burden upon Black people (especially Black inventors) by inventing the Super Soaker, a device of such overwhelming importance that one can scarcely imagine a time when such an innovation wasn’t help wreck havoc in backyards across Whitopia’s everywhere.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes the Super Soaker. Lonnie Johnson’s invention is a sad reminder that unlike the character Leonardo DiCaprio will portray in the upcoming film Inception, Black people can’t steal inventions as he can dreams for their own benefit.