Thursday, January 18, 2007

Of Big Brother, Racism and Undercooked Food

989 articles on Google News today, talking about racism on Big Brother targeted towards Shilpa Shetty. More than 19,300 complaints received by the Brit (sorry, is Brit an offensive word?) TV regulator. An issue blown so far out of proportion that Gordon Brown, currently in India, has to talk about it. Tony Blair has to defend his country. The Indian high Commission in London has to launch an enquiry. And, of course, the inevitable…effigy burning in Bihar. To quote from this Time article:

“About 25 people, most of them men, marched down a street in the city of Patna in eastern India on Wednesday chanting, "Down with Big Brother." The protesters, who said they were members of the Shilpa Shetty Fans Association, burned a straw-and-paper figure representing the program's producers in effigy before being dispersed by police.”

Over what?? Let’s take a look at the offenses:

a) Calling her a “liar and a fake”;

b) Calling her a dog;

c) Asking her if she lives in "a house or a shack" – well, it’s the new-age version of misinformed foreigners asking if we ride to work on our magic carpets, innit? (Sorry, is my use of “innit” offensive to anyone?)

d) Refusing to eat chicken cooked by Shilpa Shetty, calling it “spicy” and “undercooked”. Ouch. My ears are still hurting from those grossest-of-gross racial slurs. They should ban the word “undercooked” – then we could always call it the “U-word”, never to be used except in crass rap songs.

e) Telling her to “go back to the slums” – that’s just a stupid, misinformed opinion. Should we be launching enquiries based on stupid people’s stupid opinions?

f) The Guardian:

‘Danielle also weighed in - but out of earshot from the actress - saying: "I think she should go home."’

How racist of them to want her to lose the competition. Hang them, I say.

This one’s my personal favourite, though – people are complaining that they call her “The Indian”. Since when is being called an Indian an insult? Let’s face it – how many of us have never referred to a foreigner as a “firangi”? I’m definitely guilty of that one. Am I a racist?

Imagine that there are fifteen people in a room, fourteen are British, one is Indian, and you’re so thick-headed that you can’t pronounce the Indian’s name correctly, so you call her “The Indian”. That might be stupid behaviour. It might be an attempt to show derision for her and for her entire country. It might be an attempt to somehow prove yourself superior in everyone’s eyes – whatever it is. It’s just a stupid woman and her stupid opinion. Grow up already – must we go crying to the principal every time the class bully calls us names? I’m calling that Brit woman stupid. I imagine someone from the UK must be filing a suit against me right now for being racist.

Since when did the whole world become such a crybaby? Do people think that screaming at people for voicing their true opinions will make these opinions go away? Will Jade Goody suddenly become a better person now, with all traces of slums and undercooked food removed from her outlook of India? Yes, I can see that working - "If people stop voicing their true opinions, their opinions will all change for the better and the world will be a happier place". Am I missing a step in between?

More from Patna: a BBC article has this to say about the fine, cultured people there:

“The comments provoked a small protest in the northern town of Patna and prompted the country's junior foreign minister to comment on the issue.

"Surely such racist slurs have no place in civilised society?" Anand Sharma asked.

"India has throughout firmly rejected all forms of discrimination and racism.''

Of course. We have no racism in India. No discrimination on the basis of caste, class, economic status, anything. We’re the perfect society. Enough said.

1 comment:

Pranay Da Spyder said...

Hey. Now you are right. This does not immediately reek of racism. However, it is good that it has been blown out of proportion.

Nothing better can be expected of uneducated dumb idiots like Jade. the thing is, they have got some opinions that have no educated logic behind them and therefore are construed as being racist.

Now I am a huge (BIG) fan of Big Brother and I was watching it everyday when BB3 was on and Jade was in it as an unknown person. Her only claim to fame is her loud mouth, so this is nothing strange really.

What is good is that reading comments on the sun, daily mail etc, you realize that the opinion is mostly pro-Shilpa, i.e. opppose racism in any form. Now that is good as it shows that the general British society (the one that goes online to read news at least) is nice, friendly, global and not racist.

But lets face it, this news does make for excellent gossip :-)

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