The so-called debate surrounding what the mainstream media have referred to as the ‘Oscars row’ took an interesting turn yesterday, when various members of the British acting establishment decided to try their hand at the thing they do best (and no, I’m not on about shit mockney accents or sullen expressions that scream self-soiling). I’m referring to whitesplaining, of course. That seldom seen social phenomenon when white people remind non-white people that the white dialectic is intrinsically authoritative and that black & BME voices obviously aren’t, by completely disregarding anything that isn’t a white opinion (read: black is whack, white is right).
I know what you’re thinking. How presumptuous of me to posit such an idea. Actors are well educated types, they’re meant to be PC – only, therein lies the problem. Political correctness in post-noughties Britain teaches us that BME voices – or rather, the ones that successfully make it over the parapet of obscurity to the benevolent palace of prime time consumption – as scarce as they are, exist merely to be tolerated (yet another reductive word I love to loathe and one you’ll be seeing me refer to time and time again in the coming months) as one would an ice bath after a short, spontaneous jog up a country road in the heart of Little Britain. I know, “wo, wo tiger! why all the anti-white vitriol?” you’re probably thinking. I mean, why not give white people the benefit of the doubt? After all, what else are white people supposed to do? Stop bemoaning imaginary PC quotas whenever someone mentions the preponderance of whites in highest echelons of the arts and actually pay attention to the work BME filmmakers and artists? (I know, bloody outrageous idea, right?).
No. I know it’s a sobering thought for neoliberals everywhere, but we shouldn’t expect anything, in fact. “You can’t let some kind of expect affirmative action to take hold of the film industry” they say, when pressed – because whiteness just won’t be told, kids. That’s the hard line here, folks. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Drake’s revolutionary ‘Hotline Bling’ fandom most likely instilled you with the hope that tumblr memes would solve all of society’s race problems, it would appear that reductive thinking still rules the waves in 2016. I know. Like, urghhh. WTF man? People invested their hopes and dreams in your swag and you can’t even fix this race thing for us? What a complete bastard! (Don’t worry. I’m not actually a hipster).
But I digress. We’ve yet to discuss the contenders for Best British Whitesplaining. Well, so far we’ve had the Charlotte Rampling eye roll, the Michael Caine put down (almost tops his horror at learning that John Lennon had eloped with a Jap back in the day) and the Eddie Marsan “she’s a nice awld whoyte laydee” kirkby kiss of faux-sincerity. “Why not open up this category to non-actors?” I hear you interject (rude). Alright, well, alright. Purely in the spirit of diversity, of course. I mean, I’m certain an infinitely intellectual Piers Morgan ‘reverse racism’ reprisal or even a Far Right Question Time panel poopooing the entire concept of racial discrimination could hold their own just as well. Speaking of which. Fuck it. Why not make this thing Transatlantic? I wonder what’ll creep up on the other side of the pond. Perhaps a Ted Nugent fundraiser for those poor cracker actors struggling to get by would make waves? or better still, a Stonewallesque moment in which an Oregon militiaman publicly declares his penchant for white dildos only? As I’m sure you can imagine, the possibilities are clearly endless. Whatever the outcome though, I’m sure both serial and first-time whitesplainers alike won’t fail to disappoint.
N.B. Before you have a duck egg, I haven’t forgotten about the walking-talking ball of guff (whose name rhymes with dump) currently wooing crackers throughout the US, or his whacko russophile, pro fuck-women-everywhere de facto running mate either. I just haven’t decided if I’m going to entertain the idea of them existing on the same scale as the more casual whitesplainers, let alone if I’m ready to pass comment on them. Yet.
TBC . . . . .