Friday, January 19, 2007


Big Brother anti-racism hysteria

Calling a woman from India an Indian is racism simply because the remark was made by someone white? And an alleged assault on a non-white by Janet Street Porter is racism because she too is white?

Not only is none of this (based on what we so far know) in any way at all racism, but indeed it IS racism to so construe a quite ordinary comment or assault by those thereby deemed actually guilty of nothing more than having a white skin.

That a lousy and failing reality TV series has prompted unprecedented numbers of complaints and moves to discuss motions in the Commons -- not to mention an inter-governmental row -- serves to highlight how utterly crazy anti-racism hysteria has become.

The furore stems entirely from the assumption that the feelings behind what is not in itself racist nevertheless renders the innocuous deeply offensive. However much we don’t like the bullying lout, Jade Goody, and hardly less the prat behind ‘yoof’ TV; they have done absolutely nothing -- so far as has emerged -- that is anything more reprehensible than delivering common insult and (allegedly) common assault.

Even the comment about Bollywood star Silpa Shetty’s hand was not in the ballpark of ‘beyond the pale’, as it were. And that would have been true even if the ‘joke’ had stemmed from the fact that traditionally people of some Asian cultures are known to use one hand to wipe the anus after defecation. As it was, the ignorant BB housemates were evidently unaware of this and instead had simply referenced eating with fingers.

Being bored silly in the BB fishbowl with nothing to do but cook, insults were mainly culinary it seems. It was also reckoned that Indians are thin because they don’t cook food properly. These are questions for food hygienists and chefs with expertise in a variety of cuisines; not for politicians, let alone the police.

One of the cabal of supposedly offending women -- a non-entity called Danielle -- was hauled in to the BB ‘diary room’ and asked if she has said that Silpa should go home. The hapless youngster admitted to going with the crowd and that she hadn’t meant it. Clearly she knew that racism was being hinted at, and just as clearly she had merely meant that Silpa should leave the BB house. Yet racism stayed as heavy subtext to the discussion. Big Brother really lived up to its name at this juncture.

It is a guffaw inducing irony that of all organisations Channel 4 is in the dock. Rightly it defended that there had been a clash that was not racist but merely about culture and class. A spokesman for JSP cited her public record on anti-racism, as if hysterical anti-racism is itself any defence. We live in the post-MacPherson world: any incident is officially deemed to be racist on the say-so of anyone deeming themselves the victim, or by anyone who witnessed it. Absolute lunacy. In any case, Shilpa is on record as saying that she did not consider Jade and Danielle's attack as racist. That leaves those BB viewers who sent in complaints. Pehaps we should use the more TV interactive viewers of Emmerdale to redaft the law on robbery or fraud?

If we can’t call an Indian and Indian, then we can’t call a Canadian a Canadian. We are already absolutely forbidden to call a Pakistan a Paki, yet Australians are always known as Aussies.

Wait for the backlash. It's coming. Anti-racist hysteria is anti-integration and deadening to the human spirit. The only place for it is as laughing stock. Being able to wind each other up is essential for social interaction, and all the idiots in politics and the media had better get wize to this and fast.

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