During the recent Celebrity Big Brother, apart from the swearing, belching and farting, young British women were singled out for criticism as racist bullies.When Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty won the vote the media saluted it as a victory against racism. There was general approval in the House of Commons. The people of Britain had displayed the fairness and tolerance that we should have expected.
In the row over bullying in Big Brother, most media observers had little to say about what is bound to happen when you lock people up under 24-hour surveillance, like animals in a crude experiment, because that might suggest that the whole purpose of Big Brother is to promote bullying and encourage the lab rats to gang up on each other. Instead we were treated to a range of arguments about racism, to heart-searching reflections on what Jade’s comments about Shilpa reveal about the true state of Britain today. In short, the air was filled with the stench of righteous indignation and bourgeois hypocrisy, incluing the media bullying of Jade following her eviction.
This was another of capitalism’s endless parades of spectacles and diversions, a further stage in the campaign to keep us fixated on questions of race and religion. With their endless scare-stories about asylum-seekers and Muslim terrorists, the media incite racial and religious hostility and then rush to condemn it. They promote divisions, while trying to get the whole population to march under the banner of national unity bound together by shared British values, like the use of anti-semitism in 1930s Germany. This might seem contradictory, but both the divisions and the ‘unity’ serve the needs of the ruling class. It doesn’t want the working class to recognise that it has shared international interests which cut across all ethnic or religious divisions, but it does want it to identify with the national framework which corresponds to the interests of capital.
So, next time a row blows up over racism, multiculturalism or ethnic identity, don’t look at the headlines but see whose class interests are being served. It’s not usually the working class. Car 2/2/7