Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shoot the Messenger

Last night finally saw the screening of Shoot the Messenger on BBC2. The screenplay, is by Sharon Foster, and won the Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award, which after last night I persoanlly think was a well-deserved award. The drama was heavily trailed in the press with a lot of column inches about whether it was the right or wrong way to tackle the issues of the British black community. Some said it was racist, other said it wasn't.

The tale follow Joe, (David Oyelowo), who is a teacher that wants to help black kids help themselves out of the world of gangs, crime and constant underachievement. However, it all turn wrong when a boy accuses him of assault, he loses his job, goes insane, and decides he hates black people.

Sharon Foster herself says it "is a reflection of debates which are ongoing within the black community, and questions some of the stuff that black communities tell themselves and their children. It's like a fable. Some of it may be uncomfortable for people to hear, but ultimately it's about learning to accept and love people as they are."

For me it was more than just that though. One of the fundamnetal things that leapt out at me was that it often appeared to pitting the leftist, Hegelian master/slave dialetic view of the world - the "all black people are victims" argument, against the rightist individualist view, that we all of us make our own history and personal responsibilty takes precedence over a re-directed blame mentality. That, for me at least, was the colour blind message within the drama.

1 comment:

Praguetory said...

Not being in the UK, I haven't see the program. But the general point you make at the end is valid. When people (or a people) believe they are victims they can do terrible things. The best example to demonstrate this is the tragedy of the Serb nation but there are many other examples. For me personal responsibility is the core of the rightist message and what makes it so appealing.