Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dearth of Black People on UK TV

I tend to do a sweep of the UK papers online and I caught sight of a headline that said that black people and Asians say that UK TV is too white. Now that headline was in a racist paper – the Mirror but the headline has a point.

Do you know that on sketch comedy shows in the UK, when they want to depict a black celebrity a white person puts on black face – because there are no black people in their casts. This is 2008. Now the US is racist but this would never happen.

It’s true that in most UK TV programme the cast is either totally or nearly totally white. There has been an unhealthy tradition of having black people segregated in shows with just black people in them. It’s sad. Look at Law and Order – sometimes there are three black people in one scene (the Lieutenant, Green and that chick who always brings the messages in though she may be Latino). This would be unheard of in the UK.

I notice a lot of black British actors flash to the states for work (Idris Elba, that guy off of Hustle who was in Primary Colors). Will things change here? Not unless the same thing that made things change in the States happen – i.e. heavy lobbying and a refusal to accept the status quo. Learning from past behaviour in the UK I don’t hold out much hope.

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