Are shows like period dramas enjoyed more by racists?

Watch
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
Costume dramas like downtown abbey are usually successful on uk television. One thing that is usually common in such shows is lack of ethnic origin characters. Do you think that the lack of ethnic faces on display on such programmes contribute to their success? Do you think people who who view such white washed shows perhaps yearn for a time when Britain was less mulitcultural perhaps?

Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

I personally probably watched one episode of downtown abbey in the past never caught on for me, however, I have watched other heavily white to programmes such as the past BBC versions of pride and prejudice , Jane Eyre and The ruby in the smoke.

I'm not white myself by the way and can equally enjoy these shows, I'm sure just as much as a Caucasian viewer but the thought does cross ones mind about the reasons behind why less multicultural period type dramas are made so much and who the target audience is.
2
reply
Lord_hanson
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
(Original post by Mancini)
Costume dramas like downtown abbey are usually successful on uk television. One thing that is usually common in such shows is lack of ethnic origin characters. Do you think that the lack of ethnic faces on display on such programmes contribute to their success? Do you think people who who view such white washed shows perhaps yearn for a time when Britain was less mulitcultural perhaps?

Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

I personally probably watched one episode of downtown abbey in the past never caught on for me, however, I have watched other heavily white to programmes such as the past BBC versions of pride and prejudice , Jane Eyre and The ruby in the smoke.

I'm not white myself by the way and can equally enjoy these shows, I'm sure just as much as a Caucasian viewer but the thought does cross ones mind about the reasons behind why less multicultural period type dramas are made so much and who the target audience is.
I think that people enjoy it as a form of escapism. I doubt that racists enjoy it more; I can't imagine some football hooligan or BNP member watching Downton Abbey.

You will notice that most fans of the show are women. Most of the women who I have asked about why they like period dramas say like like the clothes, and the manners. They like the "proper" behaviour of the ladies and gentlemen in the shows.
2
reply
Iwouldliketoknow
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 years ago
#3
(Original post by Mancini)
Costume dramas like downtown abbey are usually successful on uk television. One thing that is usually common in such shows is lack of ethnic origin characters. Do you think that the lack of ethnic faces on display on such programmes contribute to their success? Do you think people who who view such white washed shows perhaps yearn for a time when Britain was less mulitcultural perhaps?

Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

I personally probably watched one episode of downtown abbey in the past never caught on for me, however, I have watched other heavily white to programmes such as the past BBC versions of pride and prejudice , Jane Eyre and The ruby in the smoke.

I'm not white myself by the way and can equally enjoy these shows, I'm sure just as much as a Caucasian viewer but the thought does cross ones mind about the reasons behind why less multicultural period type dramas are made so much and who the target audience is.
yes. they call it the good ole days for a reason
0
reply
Copperknickers
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 years ago
#4
(Original post by Mancini)
Costume dramas like downtown abbey are usually successful on uk television. One thing that is usually common in such shows is lack of ethnic origin characters. Do you think that the lack of ethnic faces on display on such programmes contribute to their success? Do you think people who who view such white washed shows perhaps yearn for a time when Britain was less mulitcultural perhaps?
You can't describe historical dramas as 'whitewashed' because they depict the UK at a time when there were genuinely almost zero non-white people in most parts of the country, because that's just called historical realism. Having a load of black and Asian people in Pride and Prejudice would be like having mobile phones or iPods. There are plenty of other programmes which non-whites can be and are included in, and indeed they are already included in historical dramas when their presence is not blatantly unrealistic (and sometimes, even when it is).

There are still very few non-whites in most parts of the UK, Britain is a majority white country and there is no reason to have ethnic minorities in historical dramas just for the sake of it. I'm not even racially white, and I can see why UKIP voters accuse you people of trying to destroy British culture. If you don't want to watch programmes about white people then watch Asian or African tv dramas, and if you think it's racist for a country to make and enjoy entertainment about its own history then I think you need to take a step back and think about how little sense that sort of pointless iconoclasm makes.

I'm not white myself by the way and can equally enjoy these shows, I'm sure just as much as a Caucasian viewer but the thought does cross ones mind about the reasons behind why less multicultural period type dramas are made so much and who the target audience is.
Because the past was largely not a very multicultural place outside of large cities. There are plenty of multicultural historical dramas, Indian Summer springs to mind. But there is only a limited set of multicultural dramas one can make before one runs out of actual times and places in history where multiracial communities existed. And the target audience is the type of people who like twee historical TV programmes, i.e 70% of the British population, most of whom are white, very few of whom are racists.
3
reply
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#5
(Original post by Copperknickers)
You can't describe historical dramas as 'whitewashed' because they depict the UK at a time when there were genuinely almost zero non-white people in most parts of the country, because that's just called historical realism. Having a load of black and Asian people in Pride and Prejudice would be like having mobile phones or iPods. There are plenty of other programmes which non-whites can be and are included in, and indeed they are already included in historical dramas when their presence is not blatantly unrealistic (and sometimes, even when it is).

There are still very few non-whites in most parts of the UK, Britain is a majority white country and there is no reason to have ethnic minorities in historical dramas just for the sake of it. I'm not even racially white, and I can see why UKIP voters accuse you people of trying to destroy British culture. If you don't want to watch programmes about white people then watch Asian or African tv dramas, and if you think it's racist for a country to make and enjoy entertainment about its own history then I think you need to take a step back and think about how little sense that sort of pointless iconoclasm makes.



Because the past was largely not a very multicultural place outside of large cities. There are plenty of multicultural historical dramas, Indian Summer springs to mind. But there is only a limited set of multicultural dramas one can make before one runs out of actual times and places in history where multiracial communities existed. And the target audience is the type of people who like twee historical TV programmes, i.e 70% of the British population, most of whom are white, very few of whom are racists.

I wonder who is these 'you people' you refer to in that bold section.

My question is very much valid, television of today in the uk specifically is supposed to serve quite a varied audience not just one sector of society. Whether you like it or not, in only investing heavily in period drama I think it's fair to say the non Caucasian audience is not catered to in television perhaps by design or not. It's also fair to ask the question, is the main audience of such programmes themselves racist? Doesn't mean they are racist but it's totally fine to ask.

Guess it's alright to go around the world and destroy and rob other cultures just not alright when it happens to the British because apparantly British culture is sacred NOT.
0
reply
Macy1998
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 years ago
#6
Who doesn't like watching those TV shows?
If you happen to like a good TV show, it doesn't matter on how many black people or non white there is in it. If it's a good show watch it for the plot, not whose skin color is that or that. I watch tons of "white" TV shows. You do realize most of their audience is white, right? I don't know anything about UK history but I do know there was a time UK was predominantly white and still is today. I don't mind how white or non white it is. The directors are just presenting history. You can't complain about how history is whitewashed because it is what it is. What about those TV shows are racist? Lol. Should they meet a certain non white quota to prove how non racist they are? I thought racist meant stereotypes and generalizations about races but apparently if there isn't at least one black guy or non white person in a music video or film that is enough to declare it is "racist". Lol.
1
reply
wilson_smith
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#7
Report 4 years ago
#7
(Original post by Copperknickers)
You can't describe historical dramas as 'whitewashed' because they depict the UK at a time when there were genuinely almost zero non-white people in most parts of the country, because that's just called historical realism. Having a load of black and Asian people in Pride and Prejudice would be like having mobile phones or iPods. There are plenty of other programmes which non-whites can be and are included in, and indeed they are already included in historical dramas when their presence is not blatantly unrealistic (and sometimes, even when it is).
That is true to an extent but is ultimately a question of proportion. Are dramas appropriately self-conscious of the fact British imperialism subjugated much of the world during the periods in question? In the contexts in which this issue should bear upon discussion, does it? Specifically, I doubt the depiction of our colonial predations is commensurate with its historical proportions, and plays some role in reproducing our collective forgetting of this part of our past.

It is not somehow politically neutral to focus upon the luxuries of late nineteenth century bourgeois living while ignoring the globe-spanning violence on which it depended. I am of course not saying this is the case for all period dramas, but calling attention to the fact that we should recognise this to be a political issue.

(Original post by Macy1998)
Who doesn't like watching those TV shows?
If you happen to like a good TV show, it doesn't matter on how many black people or non white there is in it. If it's a good show watch it for the plot, not whose skin color is that or that. I watch tons of "white" TV shows. You do realize most of their audience is white, right? I don't know anything about UK history but I do know there was a time UK was predominantly white and still is today. I don't mind how white or non white it is. The directors are just presenting history. You can't complain about how history is whitewashed because it is what it is. What about those TV shows are racist? Lol. Should they meet a certain non white quota to prove how non racist they are? I thought racist meant stereotypes and generalizations about races but apparently if there isn't at least one black guy or non white person in a music video or film that is enough to declare it is "racist". Lol.
Racism is not merely about statements which formally discriminate on the basis of race, but the wider cultural and political production of what it is to be black or white. Depicting imperial Britain is one small part of that. This kind of representation compounds to effect our wider beliefs.
0
reply
Macy1998
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 years ago
#8
(Original post by wilson_smith)

Racism is not merely about statements which formally discriminate on the basis of race, but the wider cultural and political production of what it is to be black or white. Depicting imperial Britain is one small part of that. This kind of representation compounds to effect our wider beliefs.
How is that racism? It just a tv show of white non existent characters and drama taking place in early Britain.

Racism :
a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.2.a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.3.hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

How does white brits relate to this definition?
What you're describing sounds like more identity issues than racism.
If There isn't enough non white people its racist. If there is too little its racist. Even if it has nothing to do with true racism, its racist. I guess the real issue is you're more concern about the skin tone then anything else. Its just a tv show.
0
reply
Joep95
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#9
Report 4 years ago
#9
(Original post by Macy1998)
How is that racism? It just a tv show of white non existent characters and drama taking place in early Britain.

Racism :
a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.2.a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.3.hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

How does white brits relate to this definition?
What you're describing sounds like more identity issues than racism.
If There isn't enough non white people its racist. If there is too little its racist. Even if it has nothing to do with true racism, its racist. I guess the real issue is you're more concern about the skin tone then anything else. Its just a tv show.
The real issue is that most people don't actually know what racism is.
0
reply
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#10
(Original post by Macy1998)
Who doesn't like watching those TV shows?
If you happen to like a good TV show, it doesn't matter on how many black people or non white there is in it. If it's a good show watch it for the plot, not whose skin color is that or that. I watch tons of "white" TV shows. You do realize most of their audience is white, right? I don't know anything about UK history but I do know there was a time UK was predominantly white and still is today. I don't mind how white or non white it is. The directors are just presenting history. You can't complain about how history is whitewashed because it is what it is. What about those TV shows are racist? Lol. Should they meet a certain non white quota to prove how non racist they are? I thought racist meant stereotypes and generalizations about races but apparently if there isn't at least one black guy or non white person in a music video or film that is enough to declare it is "racist". Lol.
Nice to hear your words and all but you aren't exactly answering the question at hand so in a way you have just presented us with a rant like an earlier poster.
0
reply
Zweihander
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 years ago
#11
(Original post by Mancini)
Costume dramas like downtown abbey are usually successful on uk television. One thing that is usually common in such shows is lack of ethnic origin characters. Do you think that the lack of ethnic faces on display on such programmes contribute to their success? Do you think people who who view such white washed shows perhaps yearn for a time when Britain was less mulitcultural perhaps?

Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

I personally probably watched one episode of downtown abbey in the past never caught on for me, however, I have watched other heavily white to programmes such as the past BBC versions of pride and prejudice , Jane Eyre and The ruby in the smoke.

I'm not white myself by the way and can equally enjoy these shows, I'm sure just as much as a Caucasian viewer but the thought does cross ones mind about the reasons behind why less multicultural period type dramas are made so much and who the target audience is.
yes echo the comments on the number of white people in downton abbey just being historically accurate, not racist.

Though the one thing I will mention is that there is evidence that shows that having ethnic minorities in leading roles does harm the popularity of the show. see link:

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/How-R...ils-68747.html

Here executives at Sony remark that if movies with Denzel Washington as a lead character had been cast with a white actor instead of Denzel, they would have made more money because, especially outside of the US, audiences are quite racist (especially in Asia).
0
reply
Macy1998
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 years ago
#12
(Original post by Mancini)
Nice to hear your words and all but you aren't exactly answering the question at hand so in a way you have just presented us with a rant like an earlier poster.
Fair enough. No, I don't think racists are enjoying it more. Because there are no racial stereotypes or racial jokes. I don't think racist would even waste their time enjoying it since they would be too concerned with the full white cast than the plot.
I'm not sure about the total of episodes that exist but since there are no racial jokes or racism in any of those episodes, it just a bland show with a full white cast and no fun to poke at other races. You can't be a racist and watch all the existing episodes about white brits and their drama and not have a good laugh about a good stereotype about non white brits or blackface. Now that would be boring. Plus its historical fiction, unless you define history racist.
0
reply
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#13
(Original post by Macy1998)
Fair enough. No, I don't think racists are enjoying it more. Because there are no racial stereotypes or racial jokes. I don't think racist would even waste their time enjoying it since they would be too concerned with the full white cast than the plot.
I'm not sure about the total of episodes that exist but since there are no racial jokes or racism in any of those episodes, it just a bland show with a full white cast and no fun to poke at other races. You can't be a racist and watch all the existing episodes about white brits and their drama and not have a good laugh about a good stereotype about non white brits or blackface. Now that would be boring. Plus its historical fiction, unless you define history racist.
Your problem is you are equating being a racist with only being inclined to behave a certain way. You could equally be a racist and simply want to watch a show no matter if there's no racial jokes but a show with a full white cast and that's what these types of shows give to such people. Let's them live in their delusion of how they think the world and society should be.
0
reply
Macy1998
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
(Original post by Mancini)
Your problem is you are equating being a racist with only being inclined to behave a certain way. You could equally be a racist and simply want to watch a show no matter if there's no racial jokes but a show with a full white cast and that's what these types of shows give to such people. Let's them live in their delusion of how they think the world and society should be.
Ok... fine. Racists are enjoying more. So.. how will adding a non white actor make them less racist? I think your problem is more about racists than the tv shows, lol.
Racists are going to watch tv because they're still human.
0
reply
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#15
(Original post by Macy1998)
Ok... fine. Racists are enjoying more. So.. how will adding a non white actor make them less racist? I think your problem is more about racists than the tv shows, lol.
Racists are going to watch tv because they're still human.
Not about making anyone less racist , unfortunately there will always be racists. It's about making programmes that appeal less to racists, so yeah stick a brown face in there if it helps 2 or 3.
0
reply
KimKallstrom
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#16
Report 4 years ago
#16
Ban period dramas
0
reply
Copperknickers
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#17
Report 4 years ago
#17
(Original post by Mancini)
My question is very much valid, television of today in the uk specifically is supposed to serve quite a varied audience not just one sector of society. Whether you like it or not, in only investing heavily in period drama I think it's fair to say the non Caucasian audience is not catered to in television perhaps by design or not.
No, it is not at all fair to say that. There are numerous programmes designed for Asian and black audiences. Most soap operas have numerous black and Asian characters. Childrens' shows and various current dramas have non-white characters. Shows like Dr Who have ratios of women and non-whites that are far beyond anything found in reality. There are a few programmes on the BBC with non-white main characters and a largely non-white cast, such as Citizen Khan, My Jihad, Luther, Asian Provocateur, and to a lesser extent Cuffs and Holby City. And as mentioned before, many period dramas do have ethnic minority characters.

And as for 'catering to non-whites' in period dramas, why should non-whites feel they need to have people of their own race on display in contexts where that would be blatantly ahistorical, in order to be catered to? In most tv shows, entertainment value and accuracy to reality are completely unconnected to each other and it doesn't matter what race the characters are, but in historical dramas, you are detracting from the show if you make it historically inaccurate, because part of the reason why people watch these programmes is to gain an insight into what it was like to live in historical Britain. It would be ridiculous to portray Henry VIII as a woman, because in history he was a man, not a woman. So it would also be rather silly to portray him as an Afro-Caribbean. That might be entertainment, but it wouldn't be history. The same goes for any other historical character.

It's also fair to ask the question, is the main audience of such programmes themselves racist? Doesn't mean they are racist but it's totally fine to ask.
It's not intelligent to suggest that most people who watch historical dramas are racist, because it implies that being interested in history is inherently a racist interest to have. I suppose it's racist to like classical music, or to go on holiday to Spain, when you could have chosen to listen to Bhangra or go on holiday to Nigeria as well. Your logic simply does not compute. Obviously, a racist person would be unlikely to go on holiday to Nigeria, just as they would be unlikely to watch a show like Citizen Khan. But racist people watch historical dramas, and go on holiday to spain, and eat carrots, and enjoy Mozart, just like many thousands of tolerant, open-minded people. There is nothing inherently racist about history being portrayed in an accurate way, thus asking the question of whether it is, without any justification for the connection between the two things, is just completely mystifying to me.

Guess it's alright to go around the world and destroy and rob other cultures just not alright when it happens to the British because apparantly British culture is sacred NOT.
Nobody today thinks that the British empire was justified in committing the atrocities which it did, but neither are white people of today responsible for the crimes of our ancestors. It is not OK to denigrate and destroy any culture, British or otherwise. What you are saying is that it is OK to attack British culture because some dead people attacked the culture of some other dead people? How does that make any sense whatsoever?

(Original post by wilson_smith)
That is true to an extent but is ultimately a question of proportion. Are dramas appropriately self-conscious of the fact British imperialism subjugated much of the world during the periods in question? In the contexts in which this issue should bear upon discussion, does it?

It is not somehow politically neutral to focus upon the luxuries of late nineteenth century bourgeois living while ignoring the globe-spanning violence on which it depended.
What exactly is your proposed solution to this problem? Should Downton Abbey cut every 10 minutes or so to show an Australian aborigine being shot in the head, or a Native American slowly dying of European-introduced smallpox?
1
reply
Zechs
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#18
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#18
Just saw an advert for another period drama this time on BBC called War& peace another white period drama for white people.
0
reply
wilson_smith
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#19
Report 4 years ago
#19
(Original post by Copperknickers)
What exactly is your proposed solution to this problem? Should Downton Abbey cut every 10 minutes or so to show an Australian aborigine being shot in the head, or a Native American slowly dying of European-introduced smallpox?
To the extent to which the context of certain subject-matter invites the issue it should be raised. More generally, the subject-matter should in the first place be pluralistic enough that our representation of imperial Britain at least partly engages with the fact that we violently subjugated a large part of the world at that time.
0
reply
drowzee
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#20
Report 4 years ago
#20
Perios dramas are my favourite and I am brown. I really don't think there is any link
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Current uni students - are you thinking of dropping out of university?

Yes, I'm seriously considering dropping out (94)
13.78%
I'm not sure (32)
4.69%
No, I'm going to stick it out for now (214)
31.38%
I have already dropped out (16)
2.35%
I'm not a current university student (326)
47.8%

Watched Threads

View All