Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reality Bites!

I'm not a big fan of reality TV, but I do admit it that if I am sitting twiddling my thumbs, I can be lured into watching some of the programmes.
What I have seen on Big Brother has horrified me. I resent bullying. I myself was bullied as a teenager and as such tend to stick close to the outsiders.... the people who the "popular" ones don't accept into their clique.

There is great debate at the moment as to whether or not the treatment of Shilpa Shetty is racist or not. It has caused such a furore as to have been regarded as a "diplomatic incident" between The United Kingdom and India, forcing Gordon Brown (visiting India) to try and placate the concerns of Indian politicians over the interracial attitudes of the UK.

My personal take on the debate is that whilst the motivation for the bullying is not racial (the cause is basic jealousy, fear and misunderstanding); cultural and racial stereotyping are definitely being used as offensive weapons against Ms Shetty. Racism isn't fuelling the jealousy, fear and misunderstanding... instead, those feelings are fuelling any instances of xenophobia and racism.

Either way it is an abomination and completely out of order.

Some people think that the 21,000 complainants (of which I am one), are overreacting, they say this sort of thing happens all the time regardless of race or culture... people just snipe and we should "get over it". I do not agree with this. First of all bullying is something we should all stand up to anyway, it is abhorrent by its very nature. Yet in this instance, it is as if the nation via Big Brother has held a mirror up to itself and does not like what it sees.

"If your eye offends thee... pluck it out".

I think the British public clearly want to demonstrate that the attitudes being conveyed, be they racist, ignorant, or just bullying for it's own sake... are not attitudes they wish to be associated with and so they are moving in their own way to remove the injustice they see. That is why there have been over 20,000 complaints and that is why Ms Goodie will ultimately walk on Friday. Heaven only knows what that reception is going to be like. Dare they screen it live?

My hope is that once the ringleader is gone, that good can come of this, that there can be a reconciliation between the two other offenders and Ms Shetty.

I have to say that throughout this whole debacle, Ms Shetty has to her credit demonstrated enormous restraint and dignity.

This is all however, merely a microcosm of a problem that is evident in our society. The question I ask is, if the British public are prepared to stand up for someone when they are in the public eye... will we have the courage of conviction to do likewise in the dark, when nobody bears witness to our actions?

I hope so.


  1. Anonymous5:02 pm

    I was one of the "outsiders" myself in school. But it has worked to an advantage. Instead of spending too much time just "hanging out", I developed creative skills that gave me self-worth and self-confidence. I learned not to care too much about what people think of me, but to base my self-esteem on what I knew were my strengths. It hurts not to be included as a child, but often works out for the best as we become adults.

  2. I agree, I actually think outsiders benefit. For one thing it isn't so easy to tempt us to follow the crowd like sheep. I also believe it gives us compassion for others who are on the outside.

    It angers me more to see others who are all alone in the night and being picked on for their differences.

    I'll defend them to the hilt because I would want someone to do the same for me if I were the one on the receiving end... and more importantly because it is the right thing to do.

  3. Anonymous5:13 pm

    I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

    It is a very sad reflection upon what Britain has become today.


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