Monday, September 04, 2006

Keeping racism off TV

Over the past few years, racism has become invisible in television drama. A decade ago, the white characters in Casualty or Corrie would express initial racist hostility to non-white newcomers. Then they would quickly learn that "we are all the same". And, certainly, black characters are now so indistinctly written that this liberal maxim is actually true in soapland.

Sexism, homophobia, a lack of understanding of the disabled - all these prejudices can still be dramatised, and characters educated out of them. But what of the racism that we know exists in our inner cities, our suburbs, our rural villages? No character ever voices it.

There is something dangerous about this. Once a reality is deemed too unpalatable to make it on to our screens, once we make it an invisible force, then it becomes that much more potent.
More from Mark Ravenhill in The Guardian.

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