Is Downton Abbey Class Racism?

What would you say if the BBC were to produce a sumptuous period drama which involved white landowners and black servants caught up in tense and fractious relationships but essentially the black slaves were content with their status. The white masters no doubt content with their positions of wealth but the black slaves also happy and content with their positions despite their struggles. Of course there would be outrage and the programme banned. Apartheid ended in South Africa thanks to Nelson Mandela and the ridiculous idea that people of different races should be separated. Especially when living in their own country. While a direct comparison is not worthy as the suffering is not comparable. I can’t help thinking Downton Abbey conveys a situation where one class, the working-class, are depicted as likeable, hardworking souls, who accept their conditions and place in society but can never reach beyond that. Meanwhile the wealth and privileges go to their bosses without complaint. I remember my father saying to me when I was younger, ‘That’s no meant fae us.’ He was Scottish. And I wondered what that meant. I myself didn’t think too much about class. I just went about my way and lived my life. It wasn’t until my later years when I was enthused by Tony Blair’s idea that we were all entitled to an education. I decided to sign up to a University and better myself. That’s when the mantra ‘that’s not mean’t for us,’ kicked in, and I found myself in the land of the middle-class. I always thought I knew who the middle-class were, like me, with a bit of an accent, and maybe some more cash. But I was wrong. The middle-class were considerably wealthier than me and more importantly, better educated, and their parents too. It’s not that I felt separated or classified. In many ways the insecurity was an internal thing. Should I change the way I speak from ain’t to ‘it is not.’ Speak my vowels more clearly. Once I had finished my degree would society afford me the same opportunities as my middle-class compatriots? Or will I be divided based on accent and background? I got into a good University but when it comes to an employer that means shit when everyone employed is singing from the same hymn sheet. They’ll let you get so far but that’s enough. ‘That’s not meant for us’ he said to me. I’m starting to think that’s true not because he said it but because other people above me are reminding a certain portion of society that you can climb so high but no further. Back to Downton Abbey and it’s the 21st century. A few million people at home and abroad are enthralled by this programme about a small group of privileged elite having good times and sad times. Aided by their band of merry servants. All doffing their caps in deference to their masters. Propaganda at is most polished. Invisible to the working-class eye.

classracism
Is Downton Abbey Class Racism?

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