Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reality TV: Racism Exists

Reality TV is knee-deep in racism in the UK. Like the US furor over off-screen comments by Isaiah Washington calling fellow actor TR Knight a faggot, the British media is agog over comments on reality TV. On "Big Brother" (a MUCH bigger show in the UK than here), an absolutely gorgeous Indian woman has been slagged by several fellow female contestants. Now on "Shipwrecked," 18 year old idiot Lucy Buchanan says slavery was just fine, black people are bad, and lesbians are sinister. Frankly, I don't understand the audience complaints. Showing a racist idiot is hardly endorsing their views, any more thanshowing Tony Soprano means you think it's fine to be a gangtster and kill people to get money. In both cases, other contestants call the racists on their comments and excoriate them. So what exactly are audiences objecting to? The fact that these shows are demonstrating that racism exists at all? Similarly, Opus Dei is upset that a British crime show "Waking The Dead" showed Opus Dei members embroiled in a gruesome murder. It's a CRIME show. Everyone they depict is involved in horrible murders. Yes, it's difficult if your particular group or minority is always depicted in a negative light. But exposing racists is not an example of that. Neither is it realistic to expect a positive portrayal of anyone on shows like CSI.

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