Thursday, June 07, 2007

more trouble in the house

Am I being unncecessarily base if I register an interest in the fact that Big Brother has once again been mired in a racial incident? It is kind of interesting, not least because this time the perpetrator comes from exactly the opposite end of the social spectrum to the aggressors last year. For those who missed it, Emily Parr, who is a 19 year old student from Bristol, and a very posh one at that, used the word 'nigger' or, more accurately, 'nigga' while talking with two black contestants, Charley and Nicky. Consequently she's been evicted, with C4 clearly keen not to be seen as being lenient or condoning racism. It raises a bunch of questions, but I'm most interested in what will happen to Emily. In her few days in the house, by all accounts, she's proved to be a rather unpleasant snob, and is plainly one of the most immature people in the house. She's quickly become isolated from the others, too. Anyone who passed the glossies rack in the newsagent in the last week or so will notice that being branded a racist has done Danielle Lloyd's career no harm. Will Emily be shunned and vilified or get a sympathetic hearing? Her choice of words was hugely unfortunate but not said in spite, unlike the sustained attacks on Shilpa Shetty last year. She's basically a kid, so I feel some sympathy. Despite the headlines it will garner, meanwhile, I rather suspect that C4 is increasingly beginning to wonder if all this is worth it.


Anonymous said...

Not sure I understand this - she was clearly using 'street slang' ironically and not being racist. Why is it racist for her to say it but not for loads of gangsta rappers?

Anonymous said...

more pc nonsense. shes not racist.

jonathan said...

No, I think they were right to make a stand. Click here to see why.

Ayaan said...

First of all I think that BB were well within their rights to evict Emily, because she broke their rules. You may not like them, but it's their call.

Secondly, let's not even get into the whole 'PC gone mad' thing, could people be more predictable? Emily - based her comments in the Diary room - is clearly speaking from ignorance, she has no idea why the word is so offensive or any clue about it's history. And I'm not going to cut her any slack for that: whose fault is it that she's ignorant, after all? If she doesn't to learn about black history, that's her call, but the fact that people are excusing her from that speaks of her privilege.

Silencing Shabnam when she tried to discuss the issue is not a point in her favour either.

And if the first commenter bothered to listen to what actual black people are saying and writing s/he would know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of that term and others within rap music. If you're really unaware of the different power dynamics inherent in a white person using that word against a black person and a black person using it to refer to another black person, then you probably also think that there's no difference between a man calling a woman a bitch and a woman calling another woman a bitch, and there is nothing I can say to you.

This whole topic (and people's reactions to it) really gets to me, in case you can't tell.

PS. Nicky is South Asian, not black.

Anonymous said...

Whatever she intended, it caused offence and that is enough. As with work place bullying, it is not what she intended which counts, but how it affects another person. We all have a responsibility to show basic respect and consideration to others, and when we don't there are consequences. Sorry but that isn't too tough or pc... just a fact of life. Maybe she will think about it and become a more mature person as a result of this. All of us make mistakes, and hopefully we learn from them.