Some background on what I am discussing:
Well I just watched Celebrity Big Brother (in the UK), probably along with the other many thousands who have lately tuned in due to the racism allegations. Well, it was interesting to see the housemate Jade Goodie (a celebrity due to her involvement in an earlier Big Brother) going off (yelling, screaming, arguing) with the Indian Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty. They started to have an argument about the grocery shopping and food – I guess typical fare for people stuck in the same house 24-hours-a-day – but it ended in a tyrade from Jade directed at Shilpa for various reasons. It has been painted as racism and there have been thousands of complaints made – to politicians, to Channel 4 who air the program, and to the UK media watchdog. But I think that this has a lot to do with class as well as race. Jade’s posse, former beauty queen Danielle Lloyd and ex-S Club 7 member Jo O’Meara, did a lot of sitting there, laughing along at Jade’s embarassing tyrade, as well as saying stupid – and offensive – things, like ‘she can’t even speak English properly’, when in fact her English is probably better than theirs. I think there is a mixture of feminine competition and racism, but tonight, it really looked a lot like Jade’s class background and her insecurity about it and all her assumptions about Shilpa, who she sees as posh and different, were coming out in her tyrade of embarassing arguments and chants of ‘you’re a liar’, ‘you’re a fake’.
I really hope that the public debate here encapsulates the class issues as well as the racism, but I’m not sure how likely that is here in the UK with its heavily entrenched class system.
Sometimes I think that maybe I shouldn’t have come here when I have so many issues about classism (and my own background). It seems that people here in the UK seem to accept the class structure as somehow normal, not something socially-constructed that can be removed.