Friday, 18 February 2011
Rastamouse... the childrens show we love (it's not racist!)
Although I don’t have a child under 5, I did take the time to watch an episode of Rasta mouse.
This was after reading up about the complaints and allegations of it being racist, stereotyping, and offensive…
Now my honest opinion…I loved it!
Sure there were something’s particularly around the dress of the characters and the mannerisms that I thought were a bit iffy (for lack of a better word).
However overall I think it is great to have a superhero of which young British children of African-Caribbean heritage can relate to (as well as other none African –
Also to have African-Caribbean culture represented on mainstream TV; and in a positive light is bloody brilliant. So I say bravo to the authors of the book, the BBC, Reggie Yates and crew for bringing it all together!
I mean the story line was wonderful (cheese went missing, Rasta mouse and crew set up an operation to catch the theft, the theft repented and made good); it was not only about solving a mystery, it had forgiveness and redemption, plus reggae music all wrapped up into one cosy 15 minute (or so) episode, and I can’t see anything wrong with that.
Now if you did not know, the Rasta Mouse books have been around for years; so why no one complained then is a mystery. It’s probably because in book form it only appealed to a certain demographic; however now it is on mainstream TV people has a problem with it!
Now to address the problems which I have read about in the many articles:
1) Levi Roots (of reggae reggae sauce fame) took a not so good view of the Rasta being portrayed as a mouse; as a Rasta man he would have preferred a Lion.
2) There was a mother on mumsnet who was afraid that if her white child was to call a ‘none white’ child a ‘Rasta’ that it might be taken as an insult.
3) There are conspiracy theorists who think that the cheese is a reference for marijuana;
4) Some parents are afraid of the use of patois or slang in the programme…
Well I say Pish Posh!
The show is true to its premise: ‘a bad thing turned good’ and on the Rasta Mouse website it does not say its going to represent true Rasta culture, fight racism, prejudice or fight stereotypes. It’s a children’s programme focused on being educational and fun; whilst staying true to the Rasta Mouse books it has been adapted from.
Now address the so- called problems…
1) I would rather have a positive, crime fighting, uplifting, peace-loving Rasta Mouse than no Rasta at all portrayed on mainstream TV; and I think Levi Roots did concede it is better than nothing.
2) I would rather my own black child be called a ‘Rasta’ in reference to Rasta mouse (a positive character) rather than being called any of the other names he has been called by random white children over the years.
Also I think it boils down to you as a parent and what you teach your child about other races/cultures, because to be called a ‘Rasta’ (or any other minority non white group name/reference) is not an insult unless you think it is, and intend to use it as such.
3) Regarding the complaints about the patois or ‘slang’ there are people in the world who actually speak in Patois and use the ‘slang’, which is why it is important that the show does not dumb down for the sake of a few.
Also you only have to read some of the comments after the articles about Rasta Mouse to know that people are not ignorant to Patois and ‘Slang’.
There’s a plethora of patois and slang in the comments section.
So lets be realistic unless your child lives in a bubble with no contact with other races/cultures etc… they will know and use slang at some point; even if only to use as an insult!
4) As for the conspiracy theorist- I think that possibly they themselves must be smoking too much marijuana!
So anyways BDSS’ers what do you think? Rasta Mouse Racist, stereotypical and offensive?
Yah Man... speak your peace!