Friday 12 July 2013

I enjoy Coronation Street. I am not afraid to share this information. I am proud to say it.

Sometimes Coronation Street does weak storylines that don’t interest me – this is also the truth.

Tonight it did something really interesting. A white man said “don’t play the white man” when questioning someone’s sportmanship playing darts. To make matters worse (?) two black characters walked in as he was saying it.

I think it’s great that Corry is tackling something like this: that kind of casual racism that people defend by saying things like, “It’s just something my dad used to say”; “I didn’t mean anything by it” or “it doesn’t mean anything.”

Apparently it was all bollocks that anyone would care about something like this. I don’t think it would be. Was it this Mirror writer expecting? A torrent of n-words from a character? Something massively offensive. I think the point being made by the storyline isn’t about some sense of ‘pathetic PC nonsense’ (good stuff Mirror – it is political correctness gone mad not raising an eye to someone saying something racist). The point being made is that little archaisms such as this phrase ARE offensive and shouldn’t be used by anyone.

What’s more I don’t think that the point was made in a ridiculously over the top way. And the way Paul was outraged at being dubbed a racist was very realistic. Is someone a racist for using a term like this? Well not necessarily an active member of the BNP and not necessarily someone who makes a value judgement about someone because of their ethnicity. But they are something, if only a tool of perpetrating something latent from a generation or two ago.

The very fact that this probably made a fair few people have conversations about phrases such as this and others with dubious integrity means the storyline has served as an interesting storyline; a realistic reflection of society and a spur for conversation and education. Which is more than I can say about most of the content of The Mirror.

Two footnotes:

1) I had never heard the phrase until I saw this episode.
2) The South Park episode With Apologies to Jessie Jackson did do this a lot better.

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