Difficult one really

There is just one problem with the character, according to a BBC diversity chief: he’s not authentically black enough. Miranda Wayland cited the popular crime drama as an example of a series that is only superficially diverse, as the corporation seeks for more convincing and rounded portrayals of minority groups.

“When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, black character lead,” said Wayland, the corporation’s head of creative diversity.

“We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? But after you got into about the second series you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”

Because that’s an insistence that black characters – leave aside that half of British blacks are in fact African, not Afro-Caribbean, so why would they eat Caribbean food – are significantly different from the wider society around them.

Which isn’t, quite, what we’re all supposed to be thinking, is it?

22 thoughts on “Difficult one really”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Miranda unwittingly makes a good point, some of the BBCs diversity casting really grates as its so obvious. One of the most egregious cases was Bodyguard, I only watched the first 5 minutes but so many of the characters were so obviously diversity placements and so unlikely in that role it made it unwatchable.

  2. The Meissen Bison

    OK, he doesn’t have any black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”

    By series two, he should be eating yams and plantains, by series four he should be authentically stabbing brothers in the hood.

    The problem for diversity chiefs is that they inhabit a world of endless tokens nestling like babushka dolls.

  3. Person who gets paid to whine about how awful White people are, whines about how awful White people are.

    Something about paying the Danegeld….

  4. Also, I never saw him playing basketball and he didn’t have a part-time job as a DJ.

    The character really was not black at all.

  5. “OK, he doesn’t have any black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”
    And he’s not driving around with the car entertainment system set on 11 smoking ganga, either.
    ““We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? ”
    There’s a whole lot of presumption there, it’d be better not to explore.

  6. Not authentic as in his skin colour needs to be darker? If this is about black, thats a colour not a culture. To claim the guy isnt black enough is surely one of those racist moments where the jobsworth diversity twit will be made to publicly apologise? Are we to only see black people through stereotype now?

  7. Of course blacks are significantly different from the wider society around them. They are vibrant, authentic, soulful, and often slightly psychologically wounded by the bad stuff that whites do to them.

    Oh, and there’s the dancing and the sport, of course.

    But overall they are just more interesting, which is why the BBC and advertisers love them.

  8. ““We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? ”

    In her defence that’s probably an accurate assessment if she’s referring to Bbc personnel of both sexes.

  9. The Meissen Bison

    Come to think of it, Miranda (he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food) Wayland needs a bit of diversity training:

    Idrissa Akuna Elba was born on 6 September 1972 in the London Borough of Hackney, to Winston, a Sierra Leonean man who worked at the Ford Dagenham plant, and Eve, a Ghanaian woman.

    For him to eat Caribbean food would doubtless be cultural appropriation.

  10. Which isn’t, quite, what we’re all supposed to be thinking, is it?

    You seem out of touch, Tim. Black (and brown and yellow) people just settling in and becoming, and being accepted as, British is no longer the desired goal. We are all now to be judged on the colour of our skin; plus race = culture = race, forever.

    Just keep in mind that the new anti-racism looks a lot like the old racism but with whites on the bottom, and you should follow along nicely.

  11. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    Isn’t the bigger problem that Luther was shit, even by the BBC’s low standards?

    Obviously not.

  12. I saw Elba in an old Law and Order episode last year sometime. He had a shockingly bad American accent, which kept on drifting back across the Atlantic. I think he’s fixed that now. If you have had the misfortune to hear Martin Freeman’s accent,you will know what I mean.

    I have never seen Luther. I guessed he was so called ‘cos he kept on nailing stuff to church doors.

  13. I lost track of Luther early in season two. I remember it being entertaining, if melodramatic. One thing I rather liked about it was that it had a black lead, but nobody made anything of that. Almost as if it wasn’t the most important thing about the character, or humans generally.

    That is why race-baiting, grafting shits like Miranda get aggrieved.

  14. “…more convincing and rounded portrayals of minority groups.”

    In artificially diverse TV land these minority groups aren’t in the minority though. Now I’m confused.

  15. Elba is a sh1t actor IMO and largely engaged as a diversity makeweight.

    And to have even considered him as Bond is about as far from “authentic” as you could get.

    BTW, it’s probably not “authentic” to never show 40s or 50s British children at home or playing without a golliwog somewhere in view.

  16. “Who didn’t, right? But after you got into about the second series you got kind of like, OK …”

    She speaks a sort of coarse sub-American. Maybe she should go and live there, given that she obviously hates it here.

  17. Luther is basically a fantasy comic book series that has been made using actors rather than animation. I think it’s really watchable, but demanding more ‘realism’ in a show that has supernatural storylines seems – how do we put this politely? – a bit stupid.

  18. The whole point of “diversity” casting is the denial of the realities of “diversity”.

    I mean, if advertising is to be believed, they weren’t kangz, they ARE devastatingly handsome/beautiful philosopher kings who are so “white” and desirable they put us pasty faced Neanderthals utterly to shame.

    Where can I meet one in real life? Would I need a reference from Idi lammy?

  19. Imagine her disappointment when she finds out that Living Colour exists.

    An all-black hard rock band? What kind of mutants are these?

    By the way, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was written by a white British dude. It’s almost like someone’s race is a very superficial thing to concern yourself with, no?

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