you + me + them


I was watching Homefront in the garden with that Irish gardening guy, Diarmuid. He was making a garden for a couple, a white man and a black woman, and he mentioned that the garden design reminded him of another one he had done that year. It flashed to the other garden and footage of the couple for whom he designed it. They were also a black woman and a white man. I said (to tht television), yeah the reason they remind you of each other isn't the design but the fact that they are the only 2 mixed 'race' couple you have ever had on the show...

K said no, that was not at all necessarily the case. It was just me who was seeing it that way.

I don't really want to go on about tv racism, or even my perception of it, because there's so much of it and it's quite boring.
But I will mention that fly-on-the-wall "documentary" Airport. It's had many seasons, maybe even 5 years. I'm not sure. I watch it occasionally because I'm indiscriminate and at the moment it's the best thing on at that time...

But every single espisode seems to illustrate and support one kind of stereotype or another. It's quite subtle, but every racist stereotype can be seen across the series. Very often there is something about immigration, and especially illegal immigration. I breathed a sigh of relief this time when the illegal immigrants were white and from Eastern Europe. But instead of showing us a picture of immigration that was broader than our stereotypes, it was story of their criminality. Very nice - 2 stereotypes for 1. All eastern europeans (particularly former Soviets) are criminals... AND all immigrants really are criminals. Another storyline (other than the obligatory animal story that runs along the lines of 'Don't foreigners treat animals badly?' or 'Look at this illegal immigrant - isn't this one cute?') was about some woman flying first class to the Czech Republic. It was a mini life profile: she's old, 92, she was some kind of professional athlete (tennis? golf? can't remember) and her name is Lady Abrahams, "the wife of a business tycoon". Implicit is her or his Jewishness and wealth. I'm not saying she's not worthy of profiling because of her background, but every single storyline on every single episode of Airport illustrates and maintains subtly one stereotype or another. It becomes like a catalogue of reasons to be xenophobic. It seems to say, look we are right to hold prejudices - other people really are that bad!

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