Posts Tagged ‘Midsomer Murders’

Whatever happened to racism?

March 17, 2011

Ok, so before I get arrested for writing this, I want to make something clear: I AM NOT A RACIST.  I do not base my opinion of people on the colour of their skin – unless of course the colour in question is that bright, dirty fake-tan orange in which case, consider yourself judged, you skank.  (I’m joking.  Maybe.)

‘Racism’ is a word that’s thrown about very carelessly nowadays.  Racism used to be pretty clearly defined – slavery, Nazism, apartheid.  Racism used to be about treating people badly because of the colour of their skin.  It also used to be widespread, culturally acceptable and legally enforceable.  Racism is not the same any more.

In the country newspapers such as the Daily Mail like to refer to as Broken Britain, racism now has a much more fluid definition.  Anyone, of any race or creed, now has every right to live where they choose, to have high-flying careers or a jet-setting lifestyle, to send their children to the best schools – and rightly so.  Nobody’s opportunities in life should be limited by their race.  But something is still wrong with the way race is dealt with in our society.  For example, the BBC is allowed to openly advertise a ‘black music’ radio station.  Would a ‘white music’ radio station be allowed?  Absolutely not.  You’re allowed to be race-exclusive, as long as you’re a minority.  White people can’t complain because we are still weighed down with our white guilt about slavery, apparently.  But how is this any better than the other way around?
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news at all this week, you will know two things. 1: Some shit has been going down in Japan, and 2: Midsomer Murders is being criticised because it doesn’t have any non-white characters.  In case anyone else has been wondering why nobody has given a toss about this until this week, when the thing has been running for fourteen years, it’s because apparently you’re allowed to HAVE an all-white cast, you’re just not allowed to publicly state that it was deliberate.  The producer in question, Brian True-May, has been suspended and could realistically lose his job over this totally pointless shitstorm.  Let’s remember, shall we, this is a work of FICTION – a work of imagination.  And if he has imagined a little village full of white people, then what is the problem with that?!  There’s no racism here.  The village is not populated by white people because they’re all card-carrying Klan members who burn any marginally brown-looking people who start sniffing round the local estate agents.  There just happen to not be any black people in the village.  I’ve lived in plenty of neighbourhoods with no black or Asian people!  The fact that ethnic minorities don’t live near me doesn’t make  me a racist.  Realistically, people of similar cultures and backgrounds tend to live in the same communities.  Society is happy to segregate itself.  I can tell you which areas of my town has the most Asians, the most Indians, the most black people – and they’re not there because Nazis have herded them in and allocated them each a bedsit.  People just gravitate towards the other people who are most similar to them.  If we start criticising programs for not having any black people in them, what next?  Once there’s a black character, is it racist to not include a Chinese character?  Once there’s a Chinese character, will the Muslims be offended?  Do they need to build a mosque in Causton?  Should the local school start speaking Polish?  DO WE REALLY THINK THE COLOUR OF THE VILLAGERS’ FACES IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN A VILLAGE WHERE OVER 200 MURDERS HAVE HAPPENED IN THE LAST FOURTEEN YEARS?  I’m just saying, you know, I wouldn’t choose not to live in a place because all the neighbours were white… but I might choose not to live in a small village with an average of like 14 murders a year.

We are supposed to celebrate the fact that Britain has become a multicultural society, and that’s all well and good – but it’s pretty obvious that it’s come at a price.  I don’t feel like I should have to say this, but I’m going to: we are predominantly, historically, a white, Christian country.  While I am about as white as it is possible to be, I’m not a Christian, so please don’t think I’ve got some kind of agenda here.  But surely there’s something quite wrong about the reports you hear about councils not being allowed to put up Christmas trees because non-Christian residents might be offended, and the way Christmas is now called ‘The Festive Season’ instead of ‘Christmas’?  Look, I’m sorry, you have every right to follow whichever religion you damn well please.  But if you are offended by the sight of a pine tree with some electric lights on it, GET A FUCKING LIFE.  To be honest, I imagine the number of people who are this sensitive is actually incredibly small.  The problem is, we are now overly cautious about race, and will fall over our own arses trying to ensure that NOBODY, ANYWHERE, EVER is offended by the white, Christian culture they have chosen to live in and be a part of. 

Race is sacred ground, now.  You can make a racist joke, as long as the race in question is your own.  You can use whichever racial slur you like, as long as you belong to the race in question.  And, well, anyone can say anything they like about white people.  Who cares, right?  Is it even possible to be racist about white people?  There’s plenty of us.  We’re big enough and ugly enough to deal with it, right? 

The simple fact is that race is an issue because we make it an issue.  We’re making it an issue when we discriminate negatively based on race, but we’re also making it an issue when we discriminate positively based on race.  Race will only cease to be an issue when it doesn’t matter to the extent that we can STOP GOING ON ABOUT IT.

Anyway, before we start accusing Midsomer Murders of being racist, let’s remember: all the murderers were white, and so were the victims.  What says ‘racial equality’ better than that?