Monday, July 15, 2013

Coronation Street Race Row

For some time, probably years now, the writing on Coronation Street has been deteriorating. Sad I know, but I do actually watch that particular soap opera. Or I did until the latest storyline broke on Friday, but enough is enough, I am no longer watching it.

If you don't know Corrie is set in the fictional Manchester suburb of Weatherfield. Unlike other soaps it has rarely hit the big social issues of the day and has been popular for its dry, northern humour and irony. It was no-nonsense gritty working class drama that didn't take itself too seriously. Or it used to be like that.

In the last episode last week one character (Paul) turned to the other while playing darts in the pub and laughingly said: "Play the white man". That was it, it all kicked off. A black character (Lloyd) heard the phrase being uttered and became extremely angry, there was a huge row with the white character accused of racism. For the rest of the episode, like some kind of TV soap style Stalinist show trial, virtually every character popped up to condemn the evil racism that had caused such deep offence in the pub.

My problem with this is on several levels. Paul, the character who uttered the evil words, had previously shown absolutely no hint of racism or any other 'ism'. It came completely out of the politically correct blue. It was as if the writers had been sat around bored and decided it would be good for ratings to confront the issue of racism. It was clumsy to say the least and smacked of a writer being on a hobby horse.

On another level many people I know have used the phrase "play the white man", including me. Now I'm not going to self-flagellate and profess to have black friends so I'm not racist etc. etc., all I can say is read my blog and see if you detect anything that could be (mis)construed as racism. Maybe now I will think twice about using the phrase, just in case it does cause offence, but using the phrase hardly merits the user being treated like the reincarnation of Eugene Terreblanche. A jokey put down by the black character would have probably made the point much more effectively. But crying racism and going into Twitter style moral outrage belittles the victims of true racism and is highly patronising to most of us.

I am pissed off with politically correct bullshit. I am pissed off with patronising politically correct morons lecturing the rest of us about the evils of 'isms', 'isms' that usually exist in the patronising minds of the politically correct who are so feeble minded they desperately want to take offence on behalf of other people, people who rarely see anything to offend.

I suspect in a real working class Manchester pub the conversation would have gone something like:

Paul: "Play the white man".
Lloyd: "What do you mean you cheeky bastard?"
Paul: "What? I wasn't talking to you"
Lloyd: "Play the white man? As if you lot are better than us?"
Paul: "Oh shit yea, I didn't think of it like that, sorry mate, just a turn of phrase. Fancy a pint?"
Lloyd: "Cheers yea, pint of bitter please mate. Fancy a game of darts?"

That's why I will never watch Coronation Street again. While I still have the freedom I choose not to be brainwashed by the box in the corner.


Dorothy Stewart said...

Hi Gregg, interesting discussion. In Canada, we've just seen these episodes this past week. I quoted a bit of your post in mine. Hope that's ok.

Gregg said...

Fine Dorothy. Many thanks,