I watched Sky One’s version of X Factor last night, ‘Must Be The Music,’ with some modicum of scepticism. I’m not a fan of the X Factor, the sob stories bore me rigid, but I can still appreciate the sheer balls of the people who have the courage to get up on stage to do their thing. I mean, we can’t all be good singers, right?! (Joke, by the way. Although, in the car, I sound amazing.)
A band from Essex came on and sang a song called, “Made in England.” Having recently watched the film, ‘This Is England’, about skinheads, White Nationalists and racism, my teenage son and I looked at each other and held our breath.
Was this song created for the terraces? Can you sing about being proud to be English without any underlying tone? Does the band’s young age indicate that a new generation are more or less xenophobic than the last?
In fact, we pre-empted some of the very same concerns the judges had. The controversial connotations of the film’s title with the song’s, together with the band’s personal style of dress and anthemic “We’re made in England,” chorus raised questions my family and I have to live with every day.
Being born in England does not constitute the same thing as being indigenous. If your skin is not white you are not treated the same way. I know this first hand.
Of course, I know I’m generalising. However, I am in the position of being able to talk from personal experience.
I have a mixed race, blended family and they couldn’t make me happier. However, the ‘micro-aggressions’ we come across every day as a family are constant.
We’re not alone in being judged. Society is judgemental.
But when I hear a song like “We’re Made in England,” I’m sad that I’m not automatically thinking, this is great, it’s just a group of boys singing about being proud of their roots.
The judges rightfully questioned the lyrics and the boys dealt with the questions maturely as they talked about being sick of MP’s expense claims and how they felt we, as a country, were subsidising these supposed bastions of the ‘State’ (a subject which deserves its own post). The first compliment the judges gave was directed to the only black member of the band.
I’ve become a little more sensitive to the way the world works. No longer do I have the luxury of burying my head in the sand. That’s education for you. And I’m glad I’ve changed in this respect. Once bitten and all that.
However, when I’m out with my family I don’t take kindly to being stared at. For whatever reason. Who would?
The first act on the show, ‘Flow Dem’, summed up how I feel. A group of young teenagers from Wales, brought together by their youth leader, to sing, “It’s not a racial thing – it’s a black, white, mixed-race, Asian thing.”
Isn’t it great to see someone trying to be so positive?!
‘Flow Dem’ – I couldn’t have said it better myself.