No one has escaped the debate of Celebrity Big Brother 7. We have all witnessed the appalling, even disgusting, behaviour of Jade, Jo and Danielle and I think I can safely say that most people found it very uncomfortable to watch.

As an Asian myself, I cannot sit back and let people call whatever Jade, Jo and Danielle said and did as nothing. Having been a victim of racist bullying, I definitely cannot sit back and let people call it nothing.

Racist bullying does exist. It is not because ethnic minorities are ‘overly sensitive’ or that we’re always quick to play the race card. Jade Goody is only a small example of what some people are capable of. There are thousands of Jade Goody’s (theoretically thankfully!) within our society. This goes beyond the world of Big Brother. Racism is not always a straightforward case of derogatory name calling because of one’s race. It has its subtleties, like any form of bullying.

Bullying is awful, but racist bullying is exceptionally awful – who can do anything about the colour of their skin? Who can ‘correct’ their skin colour, why should it be corrected? If people use fake tan in order to make themselves look better, is that not slightly hypocritical to think badly of someone who is naturally that colour?

From what has been said, on the radio or on the television, hardly anyone can refer to this as anything other than bullying but what I think is fundamentally important for everyone to understand is that it can be classed as racist bullying. Shilpa “Poppadom”, the “dog” and another word that was omitted from playback is only a sample of what Shilpa had to put up with. Most insults were said behind her back. Making fun of someone’s accent or making derogatory comments about them and their race is racist bullying and I cannot comprehend why some people are still calling it ‘bit of harmless fun’.

Personally, I think it was a good thing for our society to finally recognize that racist bullying is an issue in this country, but saddened me that it was at the expense of Shilpa. It has been a victory for all of those who have been victims to this vicious type of bullying. Jade has put a face to all of those that get away with racist behaviour every day in our society.

Jade and Danielle did say sorry. Jade and Danielle did give Shilpa a hug and confess ‘everything’ but only because they were re-told what they had said. Would she have said sorry if Big Brother hadn’t sat her down and explained to her that she was racist? Would Jade have cried if Shilpa had not explained that India would be watching and be very upset by her behaviour? The fact that Jo cannot humble herself to say sorry only proves the kind of person she is.

Those that are too ignorant to notice that what they did was wrong no longer have an excuse. People tend to blame them for their lack of intelligence, but some of the most intelligent people in society educated by the finest institutions in the country are racist. Jade, Jo and Danielle are all paying the price for their ignorance. Shilpa is still an international superstar and with her grace, dignity and humility has extended her fame. In the end, it seems, good triumphs over evil – but how long will evil stay down? Is it only a matter of months before the Troika of Ignorance worm their way back into stardom?

Rebecca Wicker

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