Tuesday, 15 March 2011

No minorities in the English countryside, or in Midsomer Murders

by FeministaSista

Just listening to the Today Programme and apparently the creater of Midsomer Murder has been suspended for claiming that there was no place in the programme for ethnic minorities.  This story has been widely reported in The Telegraph, Guardian, BBC News and so on.

Am I surprised?  Well, no considering the funny looks and remarks minorities often face when 'venturing out of the cities'.  If you don't believe me, take a look at the first episode of the new reality tv show on Channel 4OD - Love Thy Neighbour.  A black family with three young boys are competing with a white stepfamily to win a house in an 'idylic' village, but immediately on arrival they were gawked at as if the villagers had spotted a new species.  Perhaps they had, as some of the locals mentioned that their children had never seen a black face before, apart from on tv I'm presuming.

Then we cut to a number of vox-pops from villagers wondering if they would fit in, and stating that 'some' people just wouldn't like it.  I suppose we were supposed to be somewhat uplifted when they beat the other family to go through to the next round, but the programme left a bitter taste in my mouth.

It will be interesting to see if there is a blacklash to the suspension of Brian True-May, after all he did create a successful series and they are hard to come by.  And is it racism if you're simply recreating the reality which exists in villages throughout England?  As supposed to projecting an idealistic (but possibly unrealistic) notion of multiculturalism on our tv screens?

What really sticks in my throat is the assertion that True-May believes the lack of black faces is the reason for it's popularity.  Is this because the series harks back to 'the good old days' when everyone was English and looked the same?

The logical conclusion which follows from that line of reasoning is that you can't be black and English.  But do people still think that in 2011?


  1. I used to consider myself to be British until it became all-encompassing and started including people of every race and background, then I chose to self-identify as English - now I'm indigenous...and none of you can claim this identity as your own.

  2. What bothers me the most about what he said is this bit: "We’re the last bastion of Englishness. I want to keep it that way." To me, that's code for "We're the last bastion of all white spaces in this country and I want to keep it that way. By the way, you over there who was born and have spent all your life in this country, you're not one of us and you will never be one of us."

    I grew up in a Teesside village (northeast of England for all you Londoners!) and there may not be many black people there, but there is a bit of colour. The idea that there are no black people in villages is ludicrous, as shown by this Independent article about the very village in which Brian True-May lives: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/is-the-real-midsomer-murders-really-so-white-2242914.html. Worryingly, he doesn't seem to be the only resident who thinks it's all white while being oblivious to the black people around them:

    "In the market square, opposite the Corn Exchange, one man says: "You’d have to search pretty hard to find a dark face." Oblivious, sat on the bench behind him is Suzette Williamson, a 34-year-old Trinidadian nurse at the nearby care home."

    In response to peakwalking, you're joking right? How far can you trace your ancestry? Are you absolutely sure that nowhere in your family tree is there someone who was French, German, Dutch, Norman, Briton, Angle, Saxon or Roman? These islands are made up of the descendants of those who came here.

  3. I feel like this is the Great Britsh Fiction...namely that white people in Britian and David Cameron can rant and rave about the failure of multicilturalism and the segregation of ethnic communities from "British Values" whilst knowing full well that there are areas of Britain where white people can go a whole day, or even most of thier lives without ever having any meaningful interaction with an ethnic minority.

    They can do all this whilst claiming to be the attacked indigenous people of Britain and voting for the BNP. This is not because there are no black faces in these areas but simply because these segregated white communities choose not to see them, some even have the nerve to state that that while they would never vote for the BNP that thier colour blindness makes them non-racist, whilst they stare at every ethnic face that enters thier town.

    The fact is that everyone knows that the "reality" of Midsomer murders" does not exist, but there are enough people happy to entertain the notion that immigration never happened, because it makes them feel safe. I am reminded of this fact everytime I visit places that should know better like Devon and Hastings.
    To Brian True-May, and all the white folks who stare I would like to remind them that multiculturalism is here because your ancestors went all over the world and wiped out people for whom you crafted the word "indegious".

  4. To Chitra: Yes, there definitely is French, Dutch, Frisian, German, Danish, Norman, Jute and Anglo-Saxon blood in me. They are all basically the same people, indigenous to the north-west corner of Europe.

    Taking your argument you'd deny the status of indigenous to an Australian Aborigine or an American Indian just because they'd got ancestors who originally came from a different tribe from a few miles away.