Monday, February 14, 2011

Rastamouse: the bloodclart blacklash begins

It's only been a couple of days since we covered the mighty Rastamouse on this blog and, frankly, that is too long. As predicted here, there have been accusations that the programme encourages young children to use grievous grammar and patchy patois (admittedly, it was the Daily Telegraph that reported this, not the Daily Mail, but just wait...I wouldn't be too surprised if the Daily Star linked Rastamouse to an alleged plot to kill the EDL leader next week).

The other accusation seems to be that the programme stereotypes Jamaicans and the Jamaican English variety - some claiming that it will lead to racism because (wait for it) white kids will start talking in Rastamouse patois and get beaten up by actual Rastafarians. No, really.

While that argument strikes me as almost completely deranged (and full of stereotypes of its own e.g. that black people have such gigantic chips on their shoulder that they will respond aggressively to any perceived slight) the argument about stereotypes and mockery is more serious and probably needs to be looked at a bit more closely than just dismissing it out of hand.

So, what do you think? If you've seen Rastamouse, do you think the programme mocks Jamaican patois? Or instead is it celebrating the language? Vote now in the poll on the right.

What's really depressing is to see some of the comments added by readers of the Telegraph piece, some of whom seem to genuinely feel that by having Rastamouse on TV British values (whatever those might be) are being undermined. Some of them honestly believe that Rastamouse is part of a liberal conspiracy to impose multiculturalism on an unwilling population. I've got to stop reading and responding to these loons!

Black British English vs MLE

The latest episode of Lexis is out and it features an interview with Ife Thompson about lots of issues connected to Black British English, i...