Little Britain's racist, isn't it? Page 12

Little Britain. Image shows from L to R: Matt Lucas, David Walliams. Copyright: BBC / Little Britain Productions.

Little Britain

Matt Lucas and David Walliams take a comic look at British life in this character-based sketch series

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Nick

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 1:13pm
  • Japan
  • 818 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 3:07 AM

The fact that he said his views have evolved is an inference to racism. Just because he didn't have intent didn't mean he wasn't being racist. It could have very well been socialized behavior taught as a child from his parents, peers, and others. I think at this point everybody knows what blackface is and means, even if they lack the historical context or origin. Playing a diverse bunch of people is one thing, putting on blackface is another. His version of Jesse King the black Harlem preacher in brown face is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY over the line of harmless fun. And it wasn't funny in the least, it was highly subjective and offensive to the characterization of Black Americans.

Hey, if you think something was racist then that's fine.

But when you intentionally misquote someone and butcher their meaning, you don't strengthen your argument - you weaken it. It is pretty low behaviour because you know full well he wasn't making the confession of being a racist.

He mentioned not playing a transgender character, not offending fat people, apologizing to Gary Barlow etc. as well. "Society has moved on and my own views have evolved." as he said, and things that were acceptable once are not acceptable now.

That happens all the time and it has happened with numerous American shows as well.

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Firkin

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 1:52pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
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Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 3:07 AM

His version of Jesse King the black Harlem preacher in brown face is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY over the line of harmless fun.

I can see why you would say this, but I believe cultural differences may be at play here. In that this was made for a British audience. Hollywood often presents British men as either gay or a villain with bad teeth (e.g. Snake in the Simpson). Even Austin Powers had ridiculous teeth. Mind you, if we're measuring racism, then Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from the Simpsons is one of the most blatant stereo types out there. 8 kids, never stops working, funny accent. But as Indians don't have a strong representation in America, the Simpsons gets away with it.

For what its worth I think Little Britain is very tongue-in-cheek. For example if anyone should complain it should be wheel chair users, because now some may believe they don't need one. I'm sure Harlem preachers can fend for themselves, and I saw that more as a dig at evangelical preachers, paying homage to their wonderful rhythm of speech, which lends itself to comedy.

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John M

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 3:38pm [Edited]
  • Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • 213 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 3:07 AM

Playing a gay character is one thing. Anybody can be gay, any race, creed, or color. But being a white guy adonning black, brown, red, or yellowface as a white man is definitely not being that person and is completely over the line when the butt of the joke goes into stereotype territory where it is based on unresolved issues of racism, both socially and within the television medium. Granted, this can be cultural as well as different countries have different tolerance levels. Howsoever, blackface minstrels is nothing people are perceiving anymore, and yet Lucas/Walliams decided to bring that harsh imagery back into collective consciousness without being sensitive of its origins or what it represents.

I was merely reaffirming that people are perfectly entitled to make fun of themselves.

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ArticulateMadness

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 7:19pm
  • United States
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Quote: Nick @ 5th January 2018, 1:13 PM

Hey, if you think something was racist then that's fine.

But when you intentionally misquote someone and butcher their meaning, you don't strengthen your argument - you weaken it. It is pretty low behaviour because you know full well he wasn't making the confession of being a racist.

He mentioned not playing a transgender character, not offending fat people, apologizing to Gary Barlow etc. as well. "Society has moved on and my own views have evolved." as he said, and things that were acceptable once are not acceptable now.

That happens all the time and it has happened with numerous American shows as well.

Blackface IS racist. Why is that so hard to grasp?
I didn't misquote. I said it inferred. Period. If his "views" have evolved, then what were they before that would make him think doing a minstrel bit or black/brownface acceptable and non-offensive? Lucas has already cheekily admitted that they knew what they were doing and trying to pass it off as if he's grown as a person, when in fact he hasn't. Neither has his partner in crime Walliams - see the halloween costume. He can marginalize the other stereotypes, but they are NOT equal to them parading as minstrels of doing black/brown face based on their historical significance.

Nice try defending it though.

Quote: Firkin @ 5th January 2018, 1:52 PM

I can see why you would say this, but I believe cultural differences may be at play here. In that this was made for a British audience. Hollywood often presents British men as either gay or a villain with bad teeth (e.g. Snake in the Simpson). Even Austin Powers had ridiculous teeth. Mind you, if we're measuring racism, then Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from the Simpsons is one of the most blatant stereo types out there. 8 kids, never stops working, funny accent. But as Indians don't have a strong representation in America, the Simpsons gets away with it.

For what its worth I think Little Britain is very tongue-in-cheek. For example if anyone should complain it should be wheel chair users, because now some may believe they don't need one. I'm sure Harlem preachers can fend for themselves, and I saw that more as a dig at evangelical preachers, paying homage to their wonderful rhythm of speech, which lends itself to comedy.

I've said it is a cultural difference many times in this thead; howsoever, it was America that imported the blackface that is still being used in other countries as a representation of black people. It's 2018, enough is enough. Depicting a British guy with bad teeth is wrong, but it isn't nearly steeped in a history of violence, racism, discrimination, segregation, etc. as black/brown face. There is zero comparison because at the end of the day the British guy with the bad teeth is still white by American standards which affords him a different class status not drenched in said history. Yes, Apu is the traditional bad Southeast Asian stereotype and I don't condone it, but Indians for the most part in America are afforded a higher class status than black Americans, and are extremely racist towards them even having darker skin. Again, Indians fashion themselves higher and their caste system that they bring with them is a completely different cultural context since they tend to be very self inclusive. The Simpsons get away with it because the Indians allow them to. Black America has bitched and moaned about blackface since its inception and it is STILL happening - but then that is also a cultural nuance situation since race relations have all but deteriorated in the last 10 years. Think of it like this, black Americans STILL don't have a constitutional amendment to vote. It must be renewed by the standing POTUS every 7-9 years. The minute a POTUS decides not to sign it, they cant vote. That shows you the level of respect Black America gets stateside.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 8:29pm
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,396 posts

Well why are you preaching to us in the UK?
In the main no matter what colour, creed or race we are in the UK, we all take people as people. Good, bad and indifferent.
Despite what hits the headlines, we all get on just fine without a thought of racism. We like or dislike someone for what they do, not what they are

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zooo

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 8:40pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 69,187 posts

Lol, you might be like that but there are plenty of racist scumbags in Britain, just like in any country.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 8:48pm
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,396 posts

I would say Britain is well down on the racist scale, especially compared to some of our European neighbours
There will always be rebels without a cause grabbing the headlines.
It's not an accurate picture

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Nick

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 12:16am
  • Japan
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Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 7:19 PM

Blackface IS racist. Why is that so hard to grasp?
I didn't misquote. I said it inferred. Period. If his "views" have evolved, then what were they before that would make him think doing a minstrel bit or black/brownface acceptable and non-offensive? Lucas has already cheekily admitted that they knew what they were doing and trying to pass it off as if he's grown as a person, when in fact he hasn't. Neither has his partner in crime Walliams - see the halloween costume. He can marginalize the other stereotypes, but they are NOT equal to them parading as minstrels of doing black/brown face based on their historical significance.

Nice try defending it though.

Sorry. This could be an interesting discussion, but it really needs a little bit of nuanced thinking. You said that Matt Lucas admitted that they were being racist. He did not. Now you have said that I defended blackface. I did not.

You constantly repeating, "It's racist, it's racist, it's racist" doesn't add anything to the debate. You would do well to check the BBC link that I posted earlier in the thread.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42561815

Now the person campaigning against blackface here specifically says, "I don't necessarily think that it's racist". I'm not saying that you should necessarily agree with him (and I'm certainly not saying that I agree with blackface in 2018), but your current attitude suggests that you are 100% right and he is wrong. Just because we disagree with something does not make it necessarily racist. Nuances.

And I would also suggest that you watch the recent interview that Richard Herring did with Simon Brodkin recently. They have an intelligent discussion about this topic that starts at around 41.26

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bDLRUVhmM4

If you look at it with an open mind, you might find it interesting.

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Firkin

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 12:30pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 684 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 7:19 PM

Think of it like this, black Americans STILL don't have a constitutional amendment to vote. It must be renewed by the standing POTUS every 7-9 years. The minute a POTUS decides not to sign it, they cant vote. That shows you the level of respect Black America gets stateside.

Very interesting point, I didn't know that. Why didn't Obama change that ? I do remember being shocked when I read America still had segregated schools and busses in the 1960s and was very late at dropping slavery.

We have racism but it doesn't appears to be as high on the agenda as in America. I read once, that this was a hangover from our imperialist days, we simply became more adept at compromising with other cultures and hence more tolerant. So it is ironic when some Brits say "Those Polish coming over here, getting their food in our supermarkets, steeling OUR night watchmen jobs...." But why does the country that brought us Martin Luther King, the Williams Sisters and Obama, still have such a big race issue ? Is King still revered in America?

Your point about Blackface I'm sure it total valid for America, but here in the UK our "Black" community take umbrage with the term Afro American, because British Jamaicans are daggers drawn with British Africans. Same as referring to an Indian as Asian, they are daggers draw with Pakistanis. So it's a minefield. Anyway I think we've clearly demonstrated Little Britain is not definably maybe racist. Next topic, is it funny and why. I would say yes, because it's using shock tactics, hence this thread. But that make it hit and miss for me. Very funny or very disturbing (the vomiting ones). Sick

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DaButt

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 1:48pm [Edited]
  • The Lone Star State, United States
  • 13,626 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 5th January 2018, 7:19 PM

Think of it like this, black Americans STILL don't have a constitutional amendment to vote. It must be renewed by the standing POTUS every 7-9 years. The minute a POTUS decides not to sign it, they cant vote.

Quote: Firkin @ 6th January 2018, 12:30 PM

Very interesting point, I didn't know that.

Probably because it's not true.

Quote: Firkin @ 6th January 2018, 12:30 PM

I do remember being shocked when I read America still had segregated schools and busses in the 1960s and was very late at dropping slavery.

The United States abolished slavery 20 years after the British Empire did the same. I'm not sure that "very late" is an apt term.

Little Britain was funny. There's a difference between irreverent, biting satire, and spiteful, angry racism.

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Firkin

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 3:33pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
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Quote: DaButt @ 6th January 2018, 1:48 PM

The United States abolished slavery 20 years after the British Empire did the same. I'm not sure that "very late" is an apt term.

20 years of false imprisonments is an extremely long time, some murders get less in the UK. Britain was late, America was 9 months pregnant. DaButt you do realise you are defending America's record on Slavery and ipso facto the treatment of Afro Americans in the 1960s #Black lives matter ? Why was it easier for Bruce Jenner to change his gender, than it was for Cassius Clay to change his name ? Why must we see Obama's passport, but Trump can pussy grab no questions asked ? Gawd bless your defence of all things America, but something are indefensible.... Wave

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DaButt

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 4:11pm
  • The Lone Star State, United States
  • 13,626 posts
Quote: Firkin @ 6th January 2018, 3:33 PM

DaButt you do realise you are defending America's record on Slavery and ipso facto the treatment of Afro Americans in the 1960s #Black lives matter ?

I did no such thing. It is not a defense of slavery to remind Europeans who wrinkle their noses at American slavery that they had a long and sordid history of the very same thing. Europeans built the slave market and profited immensely from it for centuries, so I don't think they deserve much of a pat on the back for outlawing the practice 20 years before the Americans.

Quote: Firkin @ 6th January 2018, 3:33 PM

Why was it easier for Bruce Jenner to change his gender, than it was for Cassius Clay to change his name ?

I was very young at the time, but I don't recall him having a difficult time changing his name, and having his willy lopped off was probably quite difficult for Bruce. Ouch!

Maybe this thread should be moved to another part of the forum to avoid the inevitable off-topic posts?

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DaButt

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 4:58pm
  • The Lone Star State, United States
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Quote: zooo @ 6th January 2018, 4:31 PM

Way to deadname the poor woman.
I'm sure Caitlin Jenner will never read this forum! But some trans people do, so, y'know, don't be an arse.

No arseyness intended. One of my dearest friends is trans and occasionally I trip up and call him Ginger, as that was the only name I'd known for decades. The same goes for Jenner, who I actually met 40+ years ago.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Saturday 6th January 2018, 5:16pm [Edited]
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,396 posts

They change sex and expect the whole world to change with them.
If they're happy, I'm happy but don't tell me how to think.
There's one on CBB at the moment that has told her life story of how she spent 50 years as a man. She has mentioned 50 years as a man dozens of times but when she accidentally gets called him or he, she turns nasty and won't accept apologies.
But everyone else has to be accepting.