Life is a minestrone, served up with parmesan cheese … Why, in God’s name, am I singing that in my head? Probably because the lyrics are perfect! There is everything in Minestrone and the parmesan is just the icing on the cake. It’s the everything one has to watch out for, though!
It is Thursday evening, as I write and today was supposed to be relaxed and easy. Sure! I was going to go for a walk – 10,000 steps – and then release some of my thoughts and opinions onto my laptop. Simple. Effective. My version of therapy. Suffice to say, it all went pear-shaped! I had slept very fitfully, as has become the norm, switching off my light at 2am when I put down my latest book – Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller. Yes, yes, might just be easier if I went to stay with her in her yurt in Wyoming? Always fancied Wyoming … vast, lots of mountains and unpopulated except by cowboys; read real men. What’s not to like? Seriously!
I woke at 3.45am believing I had slept for hours and it was time to get up. So weird! Almost disappointed, I turned over and, then, continued to waken – same scenario – throughout what was left of the night. Hardly well rested, I threw back the downie just after 9am, drank my mugs (note, plural) of hot water, submerged myself in a bath then switched on This Morning as I waited for Becca to emerge and share my porridge à la soya milk! Too much information – or, maybe, just unnecessary? Whatever. Amid the impending mayhem – not at all prone to exaggeration – Manny had messaged me with a quote from the Robin Williams’ biography he is reading which, immediately, hit the spot, reminding me of my passion for words. So powerful – and moving. A quote apropos his film, Dead Poets’ Society. Robin Williams. The gentle soul possessing of a genius which transcended his human persona; tragically, devoid of the protective shell imperative for self-preservation in a ruthless world too blind to share his vision. I’m saving it; the quote, that is. Nothing beats a good ending!
Right, I did say that I had reams of notes which need addressing. What follows may, therefore, be somewhat disjointed. Topical? Yes. Controversial? Probably. Boring? God forbid!
Back to This Morning and one of my very real bugbears. Now, if I happened to be black – personally, I’d be happy with a tan – I would be truly insulted by ITV of late. Black Lives Matter? Quick! We need black presenters, quick! We have to be seen to be being PC; kowtowing. The only word missing – or silent – is ‘token’! The elephant in the room. It is embarrassing, let alone insulting and, not only to those so clearly being used but to the viewer as well.
So it is that the segment in which two guests give their views on the latest news of interest is, now, peopled by one white person and one black – only once, in recent days, has this not been so. Glaringly obvious to anyone above sub-intelligence, why agree to be ITV’s pawn? Far from indicating that Black Lives Matter, to my mind, it is nothing short of demeaning.
The same can be said of Loose Women. Always a panel of four, admittedly, in recent months, there have been two black panellists interchanging regularly but not every day. All changed now, though – aware, I check! Each day without fail, there is one black panellist; the token, there to appease. As Becca quite rightly pointed out, however, why only one of four? Why are there never two black panellists?
Suffice to say, ITV is not unique in this. Suddenly, the TV screen abounds with black presenters. Whatever happened to merit? Is colour, really, so significant to success, in the media at least? I, for one, do not buy it. How does one explain Trevor McDonald? Eighty years old, he’s had quite a career for a black guy! Then, there’s Moira Stuart. Anyone heard of her? The first African-Caribbean newsreader, she is seventy years old and has been a household name for as long as I can remember … I am not going to protest further. Of course, white presenters outnumber black in this country. There are more white people in this country! Once upon a time, Great Britain was a white nation. That is no longer so. Now, it is a melting pot of colour, race and creed. The world has changed; is changing but this obsession with – nay, insistence on racism – is nothing if not detrimental. The continual need to play the victim card in these ridiculously PC times is tiresome. I look back to my post on Steve Biko and his belief in the strength of self-worth. He happened to be black but, first and foremost, he was a man who could – and did – make a difference.
One cannot deny the existence of racism but it is no excuse for failure. True failure is only borne of not trying. Racism is borne of ignorance …
I happened to see Charlene White – a familiar, black newsreader on our screens – interviewed, this week, with regard to her personal take on racism growing up in this country. Firstly, note her success in her field. Already established, she is no media pawn; no token black. She did, however, recall her early schooldays when she was likened to poo and told to go back where she came from! Cruel taunts courtesy of nasty children; or, more to the point, children who do not know any different; children who are the product of their parents and their upbringing – or lack of it! For, that is the crux of the matter. Children are not born racist. They learn to be so. I know my two were never – are never deliberately cruel to others. Colour nor creed have any bearing on the person; the individual. Surprisingly, Becca and Manny were born knowing that and we taught them nothing different!
Disjointed? Perhaps not. I only addressed one subject but it happens to be one with far-reaching tentacles – and important. Made in China? Well, that’s on hold – a big one requiring of stamina! Meanwhile, time to sign off with that promised quote which enhanced my day. Just got to find the photo of the page which Manny sent to my phone …
‘Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish …
What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here – that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.’
Walt Whitman, ‘O Me! O Life!’
A gift not to be wasted …
This is Trish, signing off.