I hate Big brother and wouldn’t be caught dead watching it. Even worse ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother where people who think they are celebrities go onto the show to desperately revive their career. However, I am commenting on it because it is in the news here big time.
Among the people in there this time is an Indian Bollywood actress by the name of Shilpa Shetty. Over the past few days she has been abused by some of the housemates and there has been a record number of complaints – 7,600 - from the public as the taunts have been racist in nature. Channel 4 where the programme is aired, has received a further 2,000 e-mails and calls.
According to today’s Times Ms. Shetty has been called a “dog” and contestants have complained about her touching their food. Another contestant declared that Indians were thin because they were always ill as a result of undercooking food. Ms. Shetty’s accent has been mocked and she was asked if she lived in a shack.
These were the same type of stupid things I had to deal with in the late 70s. White people in general did not want to touch any food black people touched – indeed they didn’t want to touch anything we touched for fear of getting fleas they often said. This goes to show that over the years many white people – mostly the painfully ignorant – have maintained the same attitudes of yore.
What is heartening about all this (and yes, there is something heartening about it) is that so many people have complained. Let us assume that not all of them are non-white – this shows a massive change in how people think. Calling to complain is an anonymous activity which one assumes is borne of outrage. I mean it would take something pretty bad to make me bothered enough to call the media watchdog. That so many people have seems to indicate that white British people have progressed leaps and bounds in their journey to civilised behaviour over the past thirty years. I mean when I was a girl, the sentiments expressed by these racists were commonly expressed in everyday life in public – without anyone being bothered by it. That people are now outraged, and seemingly genuinely so, is great news for the humanity of white people. Progress is slow but seems to be sure.
Crazy Advice From a Judge
In similar news in the Times a man who called a police surgeon a “f***ing Paki” was advised yesterday by a judge: “Next time call him a fat bastard and don’t say anything about his colour.”
The judge gave this gem after describing the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute the man for a racially aggravated offence as “a nonsense”.
The man in question had been taken into custody by police officers who mistook him for a suspect in another case. He’d been in a cell for two hours after which he demanded to see a doctor about his back. Dr Imraan Jhetam was sent but the suspect refused to be seen by him, yelling “I want an English doctor, not a f***ing Paki.”
The judge complained about the case coming to him and said that the doctor should have let the insults “roll off his back”. He also said that his comments were “not intended to make light of racist remarks”. Huh! Is he an idiot? I’ll bet if the doctor had been white and had been abused he wouldn’t have told him to just let it slide. My feeling is that if you are a decent and civilised human being, racial abuse is a no-no all the time. The fact that so often white people say we black and brown folk should just ignore it instead of them taking their fellow white person to task for racially abusing people tells volumes about their own racial attitudes.
If I am in a mixed group of people and a white person racially abuses me, why the hell can’t the other white people cuss off their white brethren and condemn their actions? Why is it that their reaction is to either say nothing, or chastise us for being ‘touchy’ if we take the abuser to task? Racists need to be made to understand their behaviour is not OK. If we just ignore their behaviour and bizarrely leave the onus on the racially abused to ignore the abuse, it will continue from generation to generation. White people need to rise up en masse like they have in the piece above and register that it is not OK. Only then will it begin to be eradicated.