Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Big Brother has exposed 'everyday racism'

22.01.2007
The bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother has exposed 'everyday racism' that is normally invisible, according to a leading expert in race and the media.

Steve Spencer, a senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University, claims that the reality show merely reflects racist and xenophobic comments and conversations that take place in Britain each day, and believes the programme points to our failure to achieve the promises of a multicultural society.

He says that broadcaster Channel 4 should be 'ashamed' for engineering cultural clashes to boost ratings, and also slams the viewing public for tuning in.

Mr Spencer said:

"The extraordinary situation on Celebrity Big Brother stems from a crass celebrity culture constructed around people who demonstrate a marked intolerance of others, and who are thrown together exactly for their contrasting and belligerent viewpoints. There is increasingly a tendency for apposite ridicule and parody to tip over into a desire for humiliation and easy cruelty, and present this as entertainment.

"We shouldn't have any sympathy for loud mouthed racists or the self-promotion of these people who use the show as a vehicle to promote their brand identities and I believe that Channel 4 is responsible for perpetuating the lowest common denominator of voyeuristic entertainment. However, the viewing audience is also complicit in elevating characters like Jade and Danielle to celebrity status by finding their opinionated rants and clashes entertaining. Why do such viewpoints get the oxygen of publicity?

"Calling Big Brother a 'social experiment' is a blind for engineering cultural clashes ( a mainstay of reality TV) to increase ratings - just as the focus of attention on Big Brother has done in the present case. What has happened to Channel 4’s remit as a cutting edge public service broadcaster; an innovative alternative to the BBC?

"Yes this is racism - the sort of everyday racism which is normally invisible - not overt, but in the private domain of the general population. Racist and xenophobic reactions like these 'private' conversations which are broadcast to a mass audience are a bizarre inversion of the everyday racism - the sneering comments, the cultural ignorance and intolerance which is commonplace in our society.

"The outrage over this incident is warranted and Channel 4 should be ashamed of the crass culture of celebrity they have helped to create. But let's not fool ourselves that this is unknown outside of the house - scratch the surface and it's staring you in the face.

"There are hundreds of racist attacks every year but many more acts of cultural intolerance: name calling, the constant dripping of sneers, racist jokes, and abuse which people face everyday. These corrosive behaviours are of course in addition to the persistent structural inequalities in education, employment, housing and health care.

"What we are witnessing is an ugly reflection of society - a microcosm in a vacuum - illustrating again that the promises of multiculturalism have never been achieved. However, we shouldn't be turning away from these ideals as they are the only promise of equality in the face of little Englander attitudes like these."

He added:

"Shame on the shallow self-promoting 'stars' for their ignorance and inadequacy, shame on Channel 4 for capitalising on them and shame on us, the mass audience, for gaining vicarious pleasure from such tawdry goings on."

Steve Spencer is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Sheffield Hallam University, and has worked as a lecturer in both higher and further education in Australia and UK. He has researched into ethnic conflict in the Caribbean and has recently published two books: A Dream Deferred: Guyana Under the Shadow of Colonialism (2006, Hansib) and Race and Ethnicity: Culture and Identity and Representation, (2006 Routledge.) He has produced several films on: consumerism, media coverage of the Iraq conflict, homeless Aborigines and multiculturalism.

Kate Burlaga | alfa
Further information:
http://www.shu.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>