Anorak News | Big Brother’s Emily Parr Is The EveryTeen On The Omnibus

Big Brother’s Emily Parr Is The EveryTeen On The Omnibus

by | 8th, June 2007

BIG Brother’s Emily Parr is no bigot. She’s just aping what passes for nomality. Or she may indeed be a raving Neo-nazi. But this is about the language.

Says Dizzy:

It’s a pretty straightforward question really, but have you ever sat on a bus in South London, or London in general and listened to the kids talking amongst themselves? Have you ever sat there and listened to a group of kids, white, black, brown or purple who are listening to tinny music on their mobile phone whilst calling each other, “nigga”, “whitey”, “paki” or whatever other word that has been officially sanctioned as no longer allowed?Does anyone complain? I bet you don’t. Sometimes I read out loud to get my own back about the music, but the language that they use is not something I care about because I cannot change it, we cannot change it. The language they use is that of their peer group and their comfortableness with each other.

The words they use are such that their meaning is carried by their contextualisation. This is why if you saw a BNP rally where they were chanting “niggers/pakis/jews/gypsies out” you’d realise very quickly that they’re not very nice people, and, frankly, just a tad ignorant too. Yet when you see a group of kids, and one white kid says to a black mate,”shut up nigga” and the other replies in kind, you know, that actually, that is just how they talk to each other.

You know that whilst they are using words that might be offensive in one sense, the same words can and are merely labels in another. One can almost visibly see the bond of acceptance between each party that contextualises the power and meaning behind the words.

Words are just words, but it is there placement within tone, intonation and circumstance where their meaning is found. This is one of the things the Internet lacks, and is precisely the reason the dreaded “emoticon” was invented. For without the occasional 😉 or the odd 🙁 , it becomes difficult to understand what the meaning of the words on the screen are actually meant to be.

Where am I going with this? Could it be Big Brother by any chance? Now I don’t know the girl that has been kicked out, I don’t know what she is like outside, she could be a raving neo-Nazi for all know, but this doesn’t change the argument underneath what, going by the transcript that appears in all the newspapers today was actually said.

What is interesting, when you read it, is that the argument was made about peer groups using the terms “nigger” and “wigger” between themselves. As is almost clockwork we also saw the “some of my best friends are [insert minority here]” line come out. It is a cliché to dismiss this response, yet it is rolled out so naturally so many times that perhaps there is a hidden truth in it?

Friends speak to each other in differing ways. They use words that outside their circle may make no sense or may, sometimes, be assumed to be offensive. Someone who spends their day in a multi-racial peer group (and I have no idea if the girl on Big Brother did but it is irrelevant to the point) will, often, fall foul of acting how they do with their peers when with those who are effectively strangers.

When this happens it is their misjudgement of the situation, and also a misjudgement of the familiarity with which they are permitted to speak with the stranger. Does this make them racist, sexist, bigoted, or whatever label the dominant thought police in society choose to use? I think not, I think that actually, far from being “institutional racist” as the phrase goes, we have a much bigger problem in this country, and it stems solely from the dominance of identity politics.

We have created a society that is founded upon diversity but at the same time, and in an entirely contradictory manner, encourages separation of identity. We say, bizarrely, “we cherish and embrace our difference; but we must not ever mention that difference”. It’s a counter-intuitive way of thinking, and we only have to look at the young in a multi-racial society to see how wrong we are.

The young acknowledge their difference, embrace their difference, and happily use their difference in their language whilst, and this crucial, not seeing their difference as of meaningful relevance in the wider scheme of their lives. Meanwhile, the older generation says, “oh you mustn’t use that word” and simply attempt to suppress language in a rather blunt fashion.

Until we realise and acknowledge that labels of difference – be they on matters of race, sexuality, gender or hair colour – are used in society in non-pejorative and non-negative ways, we will never break out of the contradiction inherent in our attitude towards what we currently call “diversity”. Get on a bus between 3.30pm and 5pm today and listen, then tell me I am wrong.

Posted: 8th, June 2007 | In: Celebrities Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink