Big Brother racist – never?

The Political Correctness police always do it. Time and again they fall for the trick and give a massive boost to the people they are trying to criticise.
This series of (not) Celebity Big Brother was seriously failing. Nobody was watching and the not Celebs were not obliging enough to make exhibitions of themselves. But the producers had planned for that. Hands up who has not thought how convenient it was that the ongoing row that has followed the introduction of Jade Goody just happens to centre on the most emotive word in the language.
The failing of the PC police is that they interpret that which is not racist (unpleasant yes, insensitive yes, disgusting yes, but not racist) as racism. The PC Police are of course incorrigibly middle class. Not only do they not understand the working class mind, they have no intention of trying, instead they simply try to impose their morals and values on everybody. We should remember that racism is the belief that people of a different ethnicicy are somehow inferior, their humanity has less value. To be racist requires a certain intellectual subtlety, to be racialist (to mistrust those who are different) just requires stupidity. The Working Class are not by any means all stupid, nor are the middle class all sensitive and inclusive. Let’s look closely at what is going on.
I have managed teams in which the way people of African and Asian origin were spoken to made me cringe. But such behaviour is motivated not by malice but by ignorance and stupidity.
Jade Goody remember, redefined the scale of stupid. In fact she has made a career out of stupidity and being totally beyond embarrassment. Her cohorts in the Big Brother debacle are not much brighter however, even if they are better looking.
The victim of the bullying, Bollywood magastar Shilpa Shetty, is not only a bigger celebrity in global terms than the rest put together but she is beautiful, intelligent, gracious, cultured and articulate – and speaks better, much better, English than her abusers (and yes, I do have a thing about Indian women.)
So what has gone on in that studio is not racism but plain, old-fashioned class envy. Shilpa is upper middle class, her tormentors are low end of the working class. We pretend the class system is dead but that is not so. Also we must not forget that the Big Brother programme makers will edit the footage to make it look as sensational as possible.
It is more than thirty years since I moved to East Lancashire but even now when I am introduced into a group of people who all know each other the usual response is “you’re not from round here are you.” This is not as bad as I used toget in London where the routine question was “do you still keep coal in the bath?”
“Do they eat with their fingers in India?” is from the same batch of stupidity.
There then follows a process of testing, usually in the form of derogatory remarks about he place one hails from. Deal with this good humouredly and you are accepted; show any sign of offence and you have committed the very worst sin in the eyes of the working class: that of “thinking you are somebody.”

To fall for the line that the baiting of Shipla is racist is to allow ourselves to be manipulated by these televisual freakshow operators. Its time we all rose above that and gacve the thumbs down to their pathetic, sensationalist television.

10 thoughts on “Big Brother racist – never?

  1. Couldn’t have put it better Ian. I think the only reason for this matter being blown up (in the UK at least)to these proportions is to benefit the various media. The racist label is fashionably provocative and if they just reported that Goody & Co. were behaving like the ill-educated bullying morons that they are, most folk would just think ‘situation normal’ then and pay no heed.



    1. There has been a bit of sexism in our house I’m afraid, my son and I both told my wife she is to stop watching when she thinks nobody is looking.
      Well as soon as the audience falls to less than 1 million they will start thinking maybe its not worth recommissioning.


  2. Based on the footage aired in the evening shows upuntill a few days ago, I agree with everything you have said. Alot of it is igonorance and a clear clash of cultures. Channel four are rubbing their hands together because of the ratings and money they will make from voting. However, some of the footage which has not been shown is blatantly racist. The link below shows jack talking to Jade. Most people will agree that he called Shilpa a ‘Paki’ although it is bleeped out there is a clear eee at the end?? Channel 4 claim that he said the C word? Judge for yourself?
    In the more recent shows, comments have been made that are blatantly racist ‘Fu*k off back home’ and ‘she can’t even speak English’ by Danielle which are blatant attacks because she is Indian. I agree that sometimes it is difficult to define the line between the bullying and racism but how can the above comments not be racist when they are specifically directed at her being Asian??


    1. Hey, I’ve been called Paki (I have one Indian grandmother) strangely not in the “ignorant north” but in London. It isn’t nice but neither is it racist, its just “you’re-not-like-us-ist. Bullies always pick on your most vulnerable point. So they think the “Paki” jibe or possibly my height (5’6″) will be mine. Wrong on both counts.
      Now I am not saying all northerners are enlightened liberals, they just tend to be less insecure.
      But as I said the baiting of Shilpa was not racist, the people behind it are not intelligent enough to be racist.


      1. Hello,
        I understand what you are saying about the height issue and the ‘you’re-not-like-us-ist’ and it is unacceptable. I feel that peoples ideas about what is and is not racist is also very personal and will vary on what nationality you are, upbringing etc. You did not feel that the bullies were being racist but I think is it as it was an attack on a percived weak point but signifincantly your colour?? However, if you dont think that calling someone a Paki is racist then how would you personally define the word??


      2. The problem is that people’s ideas of what is racist are very personal. Racism has a very specific definition, it is the belief that because of race, religion, sexual orientation or whatever somebody is inferior to the racists group. Inferior, or as it was put originally “less pure in the eyes of God than.” The origin of modern racism lies in a belief that God made dark skinned people dark skinned because their souls were not capable of being made pure enough for them to enter heaven.
        Now “nigger” which was at first just a corruption of niger, the latin word for black was later attached to a set of beliefs that put humanity on a scale. North Europeans were at the top, mediterranean types were next, then Indians, Orientals, Arabs, Africans, Native Americans and at the bottom the Polynesian and Melanesian people of the South Pacific. They were bottom because they could not be trained to do any useful work.

        To me the silliest thing about all these “racism” arguments is the focus on certain words. When I worked in the City the first lesson South African executives were taught was “In Britain you can’t say things like nigger or kaffir.” I know this because when a consultant at Barclays I worked with a lot of them. They were told that coloured was dodgy but black was acceptable.
        You only had to hear one of them say, in that peculiar clenched teeth accent “the blacks are dragging our country down” and the venomous way they spat out the word “blacks” left nobody in any doubt what they meant.

        So to me its not the words used but the way they are said that make a racist.

        And some of the worst prejudice in Britain occurs in the South East against people from the regions. Now I could always rise above taunts that “its all like Coronation Street up there” because I wasalways in a position to flatline the taunter’s career. But on several occasions I had to deal with bullying of people from various backgrounds, the West Country, Wales, various parts of the North, Scotland and on one occasion New Zealand.

        Never confuse racism with bad manners.

        And so to “paki.” Whether it is racist or not depends on the emotion behind it. Ban a word as a hate word and the haters will soon find another way to express themselves.

        Did you know many Indians hate being referred to as Asian. I was told this by an Indian man I know quite well. “We have to be called Asian because the bloody fucking Pakis hate India,” he said, “but the Indian sub continent is not part of Asia.” He’s right, sort of.

        In the conflict in Darfur the Government side, Arabs from Northern Sudan think the Africas are “lower than animals” while the Africans think the Arabs are “devils and evil spirits.”

        If you can make any sense of all this for me I will define racism for you.

        BTW When working class Londoners called me Paki or homo (sorry I didn’t mention that one before – I’m not, though its none of anybody’s business except mine and my wife’s) made disparaging remarks about my height or where I chose to live it was nothing to do with colour, physical appearance or sexuality. It was because I am public school educated, articulate, self assured, well groomed, wealthy, drank wine and read poetry. If you cast your mind back to a footballer called Graham le Saux (I’m sure my friends Vieira or rithompson will remember) he suffered merciless barracking from the crowds for having a similar background. Intelligence is not acceptable in the Premiership it seems. Later they moved on to speculating during Mancherster United games if “Posh Spice takes it up the arse.” The stupidity of directing that sort of abuse at sportsmen in that rather than putting them off their game it prods them into raising it.

        You just learn to ignore it because to respond directly invites more. Don’t get mad, get even – which is exactly what our Asian communities are doing by being successful both individually and as communities.


      1. re use of word ‘Paki’ – I would never use it and was horrified that my (foreign!) mother commented on the ‘Paki shop’ as ‘that’s what everybody says’!
        I discussed this with colleague in certain S Wales valley and apparently ther’s an Asian woman who describes herself as ‘Reeta – Who runs the Paki shop’! Internalised racism or empowerment or fuss about nothing? I honestly don’t know…


  3. I agree Ian, Ms Shetty is rather radiant (if one overlooks her choice to appear on this shit show) and the glow in this case has simply illuminated the fact that some around her fall way short of the mark.


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