Monday, January 22, 2007

Being 'racial'

What I find interesting about the recent Celebrity Big Brother affair is not what was said against rich Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty - "Go back to the slums", "Shilpa Fuckawallah", "Shilpa Poppadom", "You don't know where those hands have been" - but that such comments have, rightly or wrongly, been branded racist by the media.

Comments similar to these were constantly levelled at me and my family during the 1970s and 1980s when we lived in Kent and were "the only Indians in the village" and we called it ignorance not racism.

It's interesting to me how definitions have hardened and narrowed to encompass a broader range of activity, language and intent in recent years. I would define many people as racist and as people to fear, but I wouldn't even call Bernard Manning let alone the Celebrity Big Brother contestants anything but stupid, ignorant and perhaps more than a little jealous.

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