Last night was the first time I'd ever sat through a whole programme of highlights from Celebrity Big Brother. The things I do for the sake of this blog... On the basis of what I've seen so far, the Shilpa problem boils down to class and culture, but with unmistakeable racial overtones as well. Shyama Perera has a very good piece on the dynamics.
What was particularly interesting last night was the way Danielle responded to the rebuke she was given in the diary room. (She'd told Shilpa to "Fuck off back home" or something similar.) I'd expected her to brazen it out when she was confronted with her words, but she didn't; she shrank into her chair and apologized. That's an important victory, one that the many viewers who share her outlook won't be able to ignore. I just hope the producers don't make the mistake of becoming too censorious. Jade and Co are stupid and blinkered, but they deserve a chance to ponder and acknowledge their mistakes. Push them too hard and you risk turning them into BNP pin-ups.
Sunny Hundal's latest post puts matters in perspective:
A wise person once said - let the person who has not sinned cast the first stone. Similarly, let the Asians who are not racist against other races or xenophobic against other religions complain. I know their numbers aren’t that large.
When I was watching The Last King of Scotland at the weekend, it occurred to me that the scenes of the Asian exodus from Uganda didn't make any mention of the Africans' resentment at the racial prejudice that some Asians displayed towards them. That's a well known fact, as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has acknowledged. Yasmin came from Uganda; my wife grew up in Kenya, so I'm pretty familiar with the background.
UPDATE: What constitutes acceptable language on TV? If you haven't seen it before, the 1970s clip from Love Thy Neighbour is quite an eye-opener. It was never my favourite show, but I'm beginning to think the humour was braver than it seemed when I was thirteen.