So might as well wade into the extremely sensitive debate about racism in the Sleb Big Brother house. Although being the leftie pinko liberal that I am, I want to talk about the issues surrounding the subject rather than throwing accusations at certain members of the house (although I must admit I am pretty disgusted and ashamed at the actions of the English contestants, regardless of the semantics).
Whether you believe this is racism or not, covert or overt, direct or non-direct, several of the affected parties are not going to do too well out of this. Channel 4 can continue to pretend there isn’t a problem and act as if 30,000 complaints to Ofcom and the suspension of 3 million pounds worth of advertising revenue, it seems as though C4 think its all far too difficult (or sensitive) a situation to get involved in. I think at it’s core the reason this has arisen is due to people not wanting to open a discussion about racism in case they realise that they may have racist tendencies themselves, much easier to hope it’s all just bullying because that’s easier to pigeon-hole and blame on other factors (difficult childhood etc). But racism is a different matter; it can’t be tolerated so no amount of excusing is going to placate the situation. Yet if Channel 4 had been a little more honest with themselves and others then this could have been dealt with in a much more open manner. Take the Big Brother homepage, hmmm, don’t seem to see much about the ‘r’ word that has coasted 3 million, been commented on by the two Prime Ministers of this country as well as the foreign secretary and the Indian Government. As Jeff Jarvis has said, you must host the conversation, not try and control it as it will just be taken somewhere else where you can’t respond.
I think the only good thing that can come out of this is the instigation of a proper discussion on racism in this country, we have all got a little complacent with Britain being a tolerant society, which in the most part it is. Although it seems that dark elements are behind this facade of tolerance just waiting to come out whenever someone (of a different culture) annoys us.
So what should C4 do? I think it’s a little late now, the point of no return was probably after airing last nights program in which was arguably the episode which cemented peopleâ€™s perception that racism surely exists in the house (the perception that I also share). You know it’s far too late when the Ofcom site crashes due to heavy traffic.
Oh and how about this for a robust defense:
When the Daily Mirror approached the Channel 4 chief executive, Andy Duncan, yesterday, he scowled and stuck his finger up at the photographer and refused to comment.
Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson avoided commenting on the issue this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Johnson was repeatedly asked about Celebrity Big Brother, but said only that Channel 4’s views had already been made known in a written statement.
No-one from Channel 4 defended the programme on the network’s 7pm news last night.
Oh dear, textbook example of how to handle accusations of racism very very badly. Ofcourse as some have suggested this may all be intentional anyway, which really makes you feel sick.