Andy Mac

You could say my family were pioneers when it came to the question of interracial marriage. My great uncle, who fought with the RAF during the war after coming here from Jamaica, married into my paternal clan in 1946. It was a time when such progressiveness was highly frowned upon. We have to be thankful in many way we now live in an era where you can pretty much marry who you want in the name of genuine love. After all a couple’s feelings for one another must be the ultimate determinant when considering the possibility of a lifetime together, not what skin colour they happen to be.

As you’ve probably deduced, I have no issue whatsoever with someone marrying a person from a different ethnic background. What I DO have is an annoyance with the broadcast media who, it seems, no longer look on the phenomenon of interracial marriage with passivity, but rather as a means of pushing their increasing desire to thrust the concept of ‘diversity’ down our throats at all available opportunities. What do I mean by this? It’s simple. Watch commercial television in the UK over the past five years or so and you’d be forgiven for thinking every married couple in the land comprised of one black parent, one white parent, and a mixed race offspring. That is not an accurate reflection of the composition of British society and it’s probably going to be many decades – if at all – before it is. According to the statistics from the 2011 Census, roughly 9% of British couples were in interracial relationships. That means 91% were still in monoethnic marriages, civil partnerships or cohabiting arrangements. Advertising is not just supposed to be about targeting society, it should also be about accurately reflecting it!

In the 1980s, when the push for ethnic representation began in earnest, the argument was that television – from adverts to current affairs to situational comedy – should be an honest demographic portrayal of Thatcher’s Britain. For example, it was ludicrous that a national institution like ‘Coronation Street’ didn’t have its first ethnic minority character until 1992! Here you had an inner-city street in a major northern city entirely bereft of anyone with a skin tone darker than that of Tippex. Could anyone now look back and say that was believable? But equally incredulous is tuning in to the third series of ‘The Bay’ and concluding contemporary Morecambe is a town where the local police force is at least 35% non-white coupled with burgeoning minority growth in the local community. Dramas grounded in real life should have ‘believability’. Without that, they’re destined to fail or else have a very short expiry date. Why are people still haunted by Quint’s death in ‘Jaws’ but not by Captain Ahab’s demise in ‘Moby Dick’? Because people have been attacked and consumed by white sharks in that very manner. Nobody has ever been killed by getting their leg caught by a harpoon’s rope as they aim to take down a 60-foot sperm whale. You see my point? Whether it be advertisements or mainstream dramas, the emphasis centres on ticking boxes to please certain interest groups. The trend reached absurd heights in the summer of 2021 when Channel 4 (who else?) commissioned a miniseries on the life of Tudor queen Anne Boleyn, with black actress Jodie Turner-Smith playing the role of the ill-fated monarch. Naturally, the Leftwallahs at Channel 4 HQ were quick to denounce those of us who dissented as ‘racists’. In that vein of inclusivity, I look forward to the channel casting Christopher Biggins to play the main role in any prospective dramatisation of the life of Maya Angelou. If petty inconveniences such as skin colour or biological gender are no barriers in this world of utter absurdity, why not!!?

Did you know there is now a word to describe what’s been going on in television and film over the past half-decade? It’s called ‘blackwashing’. And there’s no shortage of examples, either. ‘The Dark Tower’, Deadpool 1 & 2, ‘The Death Note’, ‘Troy: Fall of a City’, ‘Charmed’, ‘The Fantastic Four’, ‘Lost In Space’, and ‘Annie’ have all fallen victim to this curse. Cheap and tacky remakes designed not to add a new dimension to much-loved classics, but simply to scream out “look how wonderfully progressive we are” from those behind the respective productions. In addition to insulting the intelligence of the viewers, they also diminish (in my view) those trailblazing black actors of yesteryear like Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis and Hattie McDaniel – chosen for their exceptional talent at a time where the prejudices of the moment far outweighed anything today’s celebrities would understand or experience.

Most folk don’t watch adverts, television dramas or movies to be bombarded by incessant and overt lessons in political memes or sociological seemliness. When studio/media executives sit and ponder why their products don’t have the same success or impact as they had in the past, do they ever wonder why? If we wanted to be preached at or lectured to, we’d go to a church or a university auditorium. Most of us just want our entertainment to go back to how it used to be. You know, when talent and meritocracy superseded bureaucratic political correctness. 

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