racism on the bbc

One of the BBC’s most popular shows, “Top Gear,” recently decided to air these deeply racist comments about Mexicans:

It’s shocking to listen to. I wonder how producers decided that it was acceptable to air. And I’m also curious why the show has not been quick to issue an apology. I think the hosts should be fired. If you want to contact the show you can, at:

By email/telephone
tgweb@bbc.co.uk or call 020 8433 3598

Or mail:

TopGear.com, Second Floor A, Energy Centre, Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, W12 7TQ

6 thoughts on “racism on the bbc”

  1. This is a somewhat extreme example of a pretty standard trope in the UK, where the twin ideas that England is Crap and England is Top Nation coexist in an uneasy way. Because there’s no Mexican population in England, it doesn’t read as racist so much as standard English semi-serious xenophobia of the sort associated with football — Clarkson, especially, is an irritating shit who revels in this sort of thing. So you’d see somewhat similar tripe about the French or the Irish or Germans or Spaniards or indeed (maybe especially) Americans. This seems like a more extreme example, perhaps because your typical Brit’s knowledge of Mexican culture doesn’t extend very far beyond Speedy Gonzalez cartoons.

    What you’d be much less likely to see on Top Gear without serious local pushback is a similar bit about, say, ethnic Pakistanis or West Indians. These are large minority populations in the UK, and an equivalent bit would be coded as nasty racial rather than jolly national prejudice. I’m sure that many English viewers winced at the whole Mexican thing, too, but they’re relying on the national stereotype thing to carry it off. When transposed to a U.S. audience, the context is of course completely different, and it just seems incomprehensible that stuff like this could be played for laughs on national television (by a state-sponsored broadcaster, no less).


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