Thursday, June 07, 2007

more on bb racism

Right, already had a couple of comments on my post about the Big Brother racist incident suggesting that C4 were too hasty in evicting Ms Parr and that her words were not used in a racist way - she was, they say, trying to mimic the street slang she's familiar with from hip hop records and movies. According to the transcript, afterwards, Emily said (those dread words) that she is "friendly with plenty of black people" and that they all call each other 'nigga'. Hmm, well, perhaps. But I think that C4 were perfectly right to make the decision they did and I'm of the opinion that although what she said was most likely a product of gross stupidity rather than racial prejudice, the words remain likely to offend and can't be condoned. Here's why.

Just to recap, Emily's words were, of Charley's dancing, ""You pushing it out, you nigga".

Quite apart from the fact that it would be ridiculous not to condemn the use of the term itself, I think it was the use of the word 'you' which made it unacceptable - she might conceivably have survived if she had said 'my nigga' or just the term on it's own, but the 'you' turned it from being an ironic or faux-inclusive term into a pejorative or alienating one. Have you ever heard a rap record which contains the phrase 'you nigga'? No, you haven't, because there isn't one. The only time you'll ever hear that term is as an insult. Now, I don't think Emily intended to insult Charley, but insult her she surely did. Basically, it was a stupid, stupid thing to say, possibly even a slip of the tongue (the 'you' bit, I mean) but you have to be held responsible for your actions, and in this instance, C4 were right to make a stand.

Oh Big Brother, see what you've done! I didn't want to watch you, much less talk about you on my blog! But as ever, you have defeated me!


Stephen Newton said...

All sounds a bit Nathan Barley. Given her background she's unlikely to understand the difference between 'you nigga' and 'my nigga' or even 'yo nigga'.

The problem is that it can only be ironic when the person using it is someone who could easily be on the wrong end of the insult. For Emily to use it is to presume that she's an 'honorary black' (in the sense that South Africa had honorary whites under apartheid).

But I'm not convinced it was a sacking offence.

Anonymous said...