Being ENGLISH is NOT about Race

by Wrinkled Weasel

The "Black Farmer" and friends
There is a TV programme called Midsomer Murders. According to the Telegraph the writer of the series has been suspended, yes suspended, for reportedly saying:

Well, we just don't have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It just wouldn't work. 

A few general observations first. First is that Midsomer Murders is a work of Fiction. It is not real. Second, I wonder how many similar works of fiction, from Africa, India, Yemen, etc, have white Europeans in them, and if they do, are they portrayed "sympathetically"? Of course not, they are about being African, or Indian or Yemeni.

You may argue that these societies are not multicultural. You may argue that centuries of White oppression have not endeared them to us. You may even argue that we should insist that drama reflects reality. I would suggest, if you do, that you have misunderstood the nature of fiction. It is not there to reflect reality, it is there to make an artistic statement. It just so happens that Midsomer Murders makes a statement about something that is not popular.

What I take issue with is not a work of fiction but the opinion of Mr True-May (the author) who believes that the show is "The Last Bastion of Englishness".

What he has done is to fail to see that Englishness is about an attitude, a cultural worldview and a sense that people should be treated fairly and equitably. By insisting that there be no black faces in Midsomer Murders, he has alienated a lot of English people who are every bit as English as he is, and perhaps more so.

I understand part of the problem. To insist on having rough parity with the demographic is absurd. Shows like East Enders insist on it and the results are laughable. So does Dr Who. It's pandering to political correctness.

But at the same time, back to Englishness, what defines us is love of our country and pride in our achievement. Anybody can subscribe and all are welcome.

12 comments:

Ed Smith said...

O/T

You asked why Adml Byng didn't attack Pt Mahon, Minorca. I tried to respond on the Coffee House Blogsite but failed.

His thinking was what you wanted. I read years ago that he said he could get into Mahon but not out again - the wind prevails into the sound. His ships would have been destroyed by red hot shot from the forts - the French were good gunners.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you Ed. Any suggestions for British Navy posts?

Richard said...

You have only to look at The Archers to see where this is heading. I used to listen occasionally when it was 'an everyday story of countryfolk', with Walter Gabriel and Dan lad me old pal me old beauty, but I stopped listening when it became a kind of rural Eastenders, with its due quotas of ishoos ad multicuturalism. In effect, Ambridge was moved from the country to the suburbs, and it cut itself off from its roots in doing so. Having an English village full of lesbian IT workers and black disabled dyslexic refugees was just risibly inauthentic, and I stopped listening long ago.

Soon, the only place you will find true Englishness will be in real life.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It has always amused me that the people who write East Enders, a story of every day East End folk, who love multiculturalsim and gays have obviously never been in a black cab.

Ian R Thorpe said...

I had an Indian grandma who gave me a melanin gene. As I grew up running around in the fresh air in Shropshire I became quite dark skinned by north European standards.
Now I live in the wonderful Ribble Valley but have spent a lot of time working in London where everyone thought the north was all Coronation Street land full of ignorant racists.
Strangely enough I have only ever been referred to as Paki in enlightened London.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Ian, welcome to the blog.

I come from a part of the world like the Midsomer Murders place, except that there are fewer murders.

We had no people of ethnicity or whatever it is called now, except for two families. They were excepted without question, nobody noticed them, except that one of them was known as, and responded to, the nickname "Darkie".

How things have changed. The only racial remark I ever heard about "Darkie" was that he was Welsh and then it was not particulary a bad remark!

I first found the notion of a black farmer calling himself "The Black Farmer" quite hard to get my head around. But if you think about it, how else would he be known?

As I said before, if you want to know what Londoners are about, real Londoners from the East End, then ride in the back of a Black Cab a few times. It will not make for a comfortable journey.

Richard said...

Ian, you have reminded me of a conversation I had a few years ago. One of my adult students was a black man (African origin, I would guess) from Bradford. We came from the same part of the world, so we often had a chat about 'Oop North'. His accent, by the way, was pure Yorkshire. I commented on how 'white' Pembrokeshire was, and asked if he had ever encountered racism down here. His answer? "Never. I got it every day in Bradford, but here I haven't heard a single racist remark." It seems that we can be tolerant to minority groups as long as we don't feel threatened by them.

Foxy Brown said...

Would this be an issue if the mad, mass immigration of the last 15 years had been controlled? Countryside-dwellers tend to be more conservative, and so are both frightened and apprehensive about newcomers. This is not only true in terms of the rural traditional pattern of life altering - and change is inevitable when migrants move to an area - but also having to watch p's and q's out of fear of causing offence to new neighbours.

Was Mr. True-May attempting to say that the English are not able to be English any more, and that this one TV programme was valid expresssion of nationhood? As you say WW, generally speaking, minorities are over-represented on TV. The need to be tolerant, on the part of white liberals who want to be nice and virtuous, has led to tokenism. Actually True-May was a bit naive, as we live in an environment (incidentally one which makes Senator McCarthy's America look like a haven of tolerance) where these things cannot be discussed, without the speaker being derided and condemned as a "racist", "bigot" or "nazi".

strapworld said...

Actually by the wonders of Satellite television one can receive African television shows.

Do you know there are hardly, ever, any white people men or women in their soaps!

Now that cannot be right as I know there are one or two in each country.

We did have, a comedy I think, of totally black actors. It failed for lack of viewers.

Midsomer Muders will now have ethnic actors involved, but for Gods sake do not make them the bloody suspect or there will be Hell to play!!

Anonymous said...

Not only have the writers of EastEnders probably never been in the back of a London taxi, they've probably never been to the East End. I don't think such people (white, middle class, Guardianistas and completely phoney) would last five minutes there. They probably don't realise that Whitechapel or Bethnal Green aren't quite the same as Hampstead or the gentrified parts of Islington.

Revenai said...

I grew up in an English village, very similar to the ones depicted in Midsomer Murders - and indeed the programme is full of nostalgia for me in a way.

It is how it still is in most English villages; migrants usually don't want to bother with the disadvantages that living in the country brings, they seem to prefer the town and cities where they have access to their own ethnic markets and places of worship.

And as a mattor of opinion, I think if you want to bring this country to the brink of civil war just try building a mosque in somewhere like Cherchill or Calne ... or even Midsomer

Wrinkled Weasel said...

A very apposite point, Renenai, and the inspiration for my next post!