The BBC reports with great excitement that the award for best British independent film at the British Independent Film Awards has been won by ‘Rocks’, a film that cast unknown East London schoolgirls with no acting experience in its main roles and featured improvised dialogue – perhaps the players were unable to learn any of their lines.
Producer Ameenah Ayub Allen said that Rocks was a celebration of female film-making: ‘We were making this film that really had a truly independent spirit. It had a truly independent methodology.’ And one of its stars, Kosar Ali, 17, said, ‘Before this whole experience I never thought I would be who I am today, winning awards and even pursuing this acting career.’ Bukky Bakray, 17, British Nigerian, added that, ‘The disparity of representation in the industry is revolting.’
One’s immediate reaction, though, is pity. Pity for the kids in East London schools who instead of being educated, initiated into the cultural tradition of this country as previous generations of EastEnders were (immigrants included), are fed a diet of multicultural diversity pap that panders to the cult of coloured victimhood. Their every failure, every shortcoming, every deficiency, instead of being recognised for what it is, will be attributed to institutional racism. And when they do achieve success or recognition, everyone will know (though no one will dare say it) that it was not earned the hard way but bestowed by white liberals on a guilt trip.
Pity for the wretched white teachers in those East London secondaries whose every move will be analysed for signs of unconscious bias and microaggressions. These days it is a brave white teacher who admonishes a black child, or questions their ‘attitude’, or the standard of their work. For to do so is to apply white standards, impose white hegemonic norms, reproduce white cultural ‘habitus’, and propagate ‘colour-blind racism’, thereby further marginalising the identities of oppressed racial minorities.
Pity for those kids of all colours whose parents work long hours to educate their children in private schools, to initiate them into the dominant culture, into ‘the best that has been thought and said’. Their kids will learn that when they fail, they have no one to blame but themselves, and that their achievements and successes, when they come, are hard won. If they want to be an actor, or a musician, or an artist, they will have to do it the hard way (RADA or the RCM if they are very lucky), and still be prepared not to realise their ambition, however hard they try, however talented they are. And toughest of all, when they go for an interview or for promotion, they will have to accept that no matter how qualified or talented or hard working they are, they will always lose out to the candidate who can claim minority victim status, cancelled because of their privilege.
And most of all pity for kids who are white but whose parents cannot afford the benefits of private education. An enforced multicultural diversity curriculum in state schools means they are denied access to their own historic cultural inheritance, which is tainted with white colonial privilege and must therefore be deconstructed. No heroes or role models for them. But at the same time, they receive none of the benefits of designated minority or coloured victim status. They lose on all fronts. Their future has been cancelled before it had even begun.