All entries for January 2007

January 17, 2007

Big Brother? Big Bullies more like…

There’s no hiding from it: Celebrity Big Brother fever has taken over. With the allegations of bullying and racism making front page news, and the issue being taken as far as Parliament, this has become about something more than just a reality tv show. I’ve been contacted by two BBC radio station this week to give my viewpoint as a viewer and as a British person of Indian origin, so I thought it was about time I shared those views with the Warwick Blog community.

First things first, I think that there is no doubt that Jade, Jo and Danielle are bullying Shilpa. I’m sure many people, Asian or otherwise, will relate personally to the way in which they have singled her out and are bitching and picking on her non-stop. I do, however, doubt that she was singled out because of her colour. I think that they were looking for a target whatever, and she’s became it because she’s the most different to them. They took her honesty about her status and success in India for arrogance, and things have snowballed from there. And there’s Jade who’s famous for her initial embarassing behaviour in BB, and Danielle who’s famous for being a WAG who feel unsettled by this. I think that if they’d placed someone else in there who was displaced from the world they know (e.g. an opera singer), she would have faced similar treatment. And yes, she: this is definitely a female thing.

But, the other day a line was crossed which put the three cronies on dodgy ground. When they were running out of things to mock Shilpa about, they turned to her ethnic background…when they maliciously mocked her accent and made sweeping, bitchy statements about ‘how things are in India’ I felt a pinch. She has never judged what they do, or how they conduct themselves, let alone said anything about life in England. How dare they make awful assumptions about India?! I was listening to a discussion on the BBC Asian Network yesterday and someone made a very important point: you don’t need to understand someone else’s background and/or culture to just be nice to them.

So, what needs to be done? Let’s get one thing straight – Shilpa doesn’t need our help. She has her moments, but overall she is handling them really well, turning the tables on Jade in the argument shown tonight. She’s been paid to be in the show, and if she couldn’t take it, she’d walk out, but she’s determined to rise above the bitchiness. As Jermaine said, “You can’t reason with stupidity.”
But, Channel 4 do need to do something to let those dreadful women know that what they’re doing is unacceptable, not for Shilpa but for all the people who suffer bullies at school/college/work. These people endure similar treatment, but there aren’t any cameras watching them, there aren’t thousands of people ready to make a stand for them. I was a lucky one, but my brother endured bullying at primary school to the point where he had to change school. Just like Shilpa, not even the ‘good guys’ stuck up for him and the teachers made it out that he was exaggerating.

CBB has become uncomfortable viewing, and by letting Jade, Jo and Danielle’s behaviour continue Channel 4 are giving the message that such bullying is ok. Well, it’s not. And anybody who has suffered (or continues to suffer) discrimination, segregation and abuse deserves some intervention to let the bullies know on national television that what they do is just wrong.

V xx

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