A discussion on Twitter has some Brits admitting that a multiracial television advert has turned them into racists.
Television and film can shape our perception of the world whether we realise it or not. These forms of media can have a huge impact on how we see ourselves and others and it’s important that people get to see a real reflection of the world around them.
Thanks to the internet, I’ve learned that whilst the US has many faults they are far ahead of the UK when it comes to representation in TV media. Whilst the BBC has struggled with diversity in its programming and staff, and Channel 4 vows to give Black talent a voice, Americans have long enjoyed TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Belle Air, Moesha, Keenan and Kel, Being Mary Jane, Scandal and so many more.
Only in the UK can people openly admit to becoming racist because a TV advert features a black or multiracial family. As if we don’t exist in the real world. This question was asked on Twitter:
“Do you find constantly seeing more coloured faces and mixed marriages in TV advertising makes you more or less keen on immigration? And does it help to sell you the product or does it not matter? I speak to people who find themselves becoming racist who were not before.”
Some of the responses are quite scary and truly bonkers.
One person tweeted: “I immediately have no interest in any product they may be advertising. Could not even tell you what the product was. Thats the effect it has on me. All I see is social engineering so advertisers are wasting ther time and cash.” (The spelling mistakes aren’t mine).
This one made me laugh: “I know what you mean in real life I know of only one mixed race family so it’s not all that common. Nothing wrong with it but they should stop representing it as so common”
These people aren’t even using critical thinking skills to ponder why that is? Because he only knows one mixed family doesn’t mean that it’s not common. Is it because they live in an area that is predominately white? I live in London so for me, it’s not unusual.
Here’s another one: I find it offensive bc it’s not a reflection of reality of UK pop. Attempting to re-engineer reality via TV is propaganda that we pay for at the supermarket checkout. The woke executives who think they’re so clever doing this casting ignore their own ideology – concept of quotas.”
I have to say someone who uses the word ‘coloured’ has obviously been disconnected from society for many decades and failed to get the memo that that term is not acceptable. He probably also reminisces about the glory days when England colonised many parts of the world.
People claiming that the adverts are making them racist because they don’t reflect their real lives were possibly racist, to begin with. The backlash against diverse films and TV shows is nothing new and will continue until filmmakers and broadcasters ignore the vocal minority and strike a representative balance that reflects the real world. That is why representation matters. If we aren’t seen in people’s homes as real people with the same worries and joys as white people, it’s easier for them to ignore us, other us and pretend we don’t exist in the real world.