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Racism, Bullying, Big Brother

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 13:59:19 -0300 (CLST)

There's some discussion in the UK press about racism in a TV program
called "Big Brother".  The program keeps watch on a group of people
together for several weeks (they cannot leave the house).

As far as I can tell, from reading some reports which talk about
"schoolground behaviour", people seem to be involved in some kind of
social behaviour that involves forming groups and negotiating power
structures, which (inevitably?) implies isolation and victimisation.

What strikes me as interesting in all this is that the moral outrage is
directed at *racism* rather than the more general status-related activity.
 I don't think that's simply because it's an easy label to use -
"bullying" is a suitable label for what is happening, and one that has
also been used, but which is not nearly so scandalous.

Bullying usually involves a victim who is "different" in some way - that's
why it is associated with group identification (it's not a group if it
includes everyone, and arbitrary exclusion seems "unfair"; a difference
can be used to explain / justify the behaviour).

So my question is - what makes it worse when the difference selected is
"racial"?  Why is that more acceptable than class, mannerism, speech
impediment, size, sex, age, weight, accent, level of education, etc etc
etc?

Why, in short, is being a bully more acceptable than being a racist?

Andrew

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