Why is the BBC promoting white identity politics?

Afua Hirsch’s new documentary looks terribly ill-conceived.


Topics Culture UK

‘Do you identify as being white? Do you feel you can’t talk about it? Why?’ This is perhaps an unusual ad for a BBC Two production to put out. But then, we live in pretty unusual times. Indeed, this call-out, looking for participants for an upcoming series, gets at something rather unsettling about the identity wars.

Specifically, it is calling for people to take part in a new two-parter on ‘whiteness’, made for BBC Two by Pulse Films and presented by identitarian commentator Afua Hirsch, author of the book Brit(ish).

According to Broadcast Now, the show will document a ‘range of immersive experiences, discussions and interactions as participants wrestle with their biggest fears about race in modern Britain. Difficult questions posed include “Can you be white and proud without being racist?” and “What is whiteness as opposed to Britishness?”.’

It all sounds like a bit of a set-up, whereby unsuspecting participants will be presented with their alleged privilege and accused of racism if they even raise an eyebrow. But it is also an indication of how identity politics encourages us to think in backward, racial terms.

One of the primary problems with mainstream identity politics is that it risks feeding white identity politics. The more you encourage people to think racially the more they will, er, think racially. And the more you say whiteness is all about privilege and shame, the more cynical operators will say white people are actually the most put-upon people and should have more of a sense of pride.

What’s particularly striking about this ad is that it is almost indistinguishable from white identity politics itself – it looks like a flyer for a white-identitarian therapy group. In that, it is a neat illustration of what a dangerous game identity politics can be.

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yonathan dagen

17th March 2020 at 8:30 am

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Constantine Sotiriou

25th February 2020 at 12:42 pm

BBC desperately trying to make itself relevant to its target audience.

Aufa Hirsh is dangerous.

Anakei Ess

24th February 2020 at 12:39 am

” Do you feel you can’t talk about it?

This is an invitation for a few bigots (carefully selected) to unload their racist views on TV, which will then be extrapolated to “This is what white people really think ” and used thereafter as a stick to beat British culture with

Peter Gough

6th March 2020 at 12:18 pm

I’ve applied for it… lol

M Clifford

21st February 2020 at 10:43 am

Afua Hirsch could easily ask her own father about being white.

Remittance Man

21st February 2020 at 7:15 am

It all looks very good, but I have my doubts about this one.
Who’s willing to bet against my suspicion this will end up as an exercise in “exposing whining whitey racists wrapped up in their own (false) sense of vicimhood”?

Geoff Wilson

21st February 2020 at 7:50 pm

I think that is exactly the aim of this programme. I wouldn’t go anywhere near it.

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