Back in September, on Saturday 5th to be precise, Britain’s Got Talent screened a performance by the Diversity dance troupe. They performed a brand new routine inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Ashley Banjo, who was also judging the show, said the group “wanted to express how the events of this year have made us feel”. On Tuesday 8th September the BBC reported that OfCom had received just over 1000 complaints in relation to the performance. What happened next is really interesting. Press coverage picked up on the story and within a couple of weeks the number of complaints had risen to over 24,000 and ITV, to their credit, issued a statement in support of the group.
Now I am curious about the speed of that escalation, especially so long after the event. Was there a massive spike in YouTube views of the performance? Did enraged individuals descend in their thousands upon ITV Player to catch up on the show, confirm their suspicions that this was a disgraceful thing to put on prime time TV before carefully crafting their strongly written submission to the regulator? If they did, the prose of the complainants is clearly in need of a bit of sharpening as OfCom, quite rightly, chose to take no action.
Fast forward to November and we have seen in the past week:
– A shameful article about Marcus Rashford in the Daily Mail conflating his campaigning work with his wealth, presumably driven by a desire to highlight his crime of being a Black millionaire footballer with a conscience, (they seem to have no problem with David Beckham though!)
– Barnardos harshly slated for daring to provide a support package for parents to talk to their children about white privilege, and
– Sainsbury’s lambasted for the outrage of showing an all Black family discussing Christmas dinner (Gravy Song)
As a child of the 1980’s I feel I could be forgiven for thinking I had been bundled into the DeLorean in the middle of the night and whisked back in time 30 odd years. So this blog is dedicated specifically to any Allies who are reading. You, the often silent majority, must help address this. It may seem a tad strident but I genuinely believe that if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
It is not for me to say what you should / shouldn’t do but I humbly ask you this. Every morning, as you stand in front of the mirror cleaning your teeth tell yourself “If I see anything today that I feel is racist I will take action”. Then, every night, as you stand in front of the mirror cleaning your teeth ask yourself “What have I done today to be anti-racist and could I have done more?” Your voice is more powerful than you think. Your actions carry more weight than you know. You can be the difference if you really want to be.
It will take some effort but #ImNotTired, are you?