Is Dr Who a massive racist?

I love Dr Who but when it comes to announcing a new actor in the role the knee jerk reactions are tiresome. "Left wing" or "right wing" thinking are not useful[1] because they send you down very predictable patterns of thinking. As an ex "lefty" the following is an example..

From The Guardian:

Peter Capaldi is perfect for Doctor Who – if we must have a 12th white male

Fans will be safe in Capaldi's wonderfully unpredictable hands, but let's have a woman or ethnic minority Time Lord soon
It's "lefty-by-numbers" idiocy but what's particularly dull about it is I guarantee you've read it before.

They always do this, despite the fact The Doctor now has a daughter, they want him to be female. An actor of a different ethnicity is less of a stretch but, if for example he did choose to be black, the next question would be, why hasn't he done it before?

The fact is this, anti-racists often end up seeing the world in terms of racial politics just as much as racists do.

The Doctor has shown no interest whatsoever, ever, in racial issues. I would assume he, like me, has difficulty distinguishing the different races.[2] Unlike me he has more of an excuse because he's an alien and from a distance the distinctions caused by race are incredibly slight.
Unthinking criticism often reveals more of the critic than the criticised. It acts as a little window on the author's subconscious.

I suggest Jenny Colgan, the writer of this Guardian piece, learns to attend to the wisdom of this famous Nietzsche quote:
“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”- F. Nietzsche
She has come to see the world through the eyes of a racist, via her anti-racist agenda. Having a non-white and non-male character in your TV show does not a racist statement make, unless you always see the world through the lens of racial politics.

However, anyone who follows her logic, may well ask why her profile omits to mention enough ethnic minority entertainers, for example:
Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is a novelist, journalist and occasional radio pundit. Her interests include Dr Who, Jon Stewart, Nintendo, traditional music, Edinburgh, oysters, trains, Kate Bush and complaining boringly about the West Wing being cancelled.
The closest we've got is Jon Stewart who is Jewish. Why has she not named any of her favourite female comedians? Is she saying women cannot be funny? Etc etc.

The above argument is absurd obviously. Just as is her article.

Nick Margerrison

[1] I have explained in a previous post that I consider the "left right paradigm" to be dead.

[2] I don't know why this is but I've always had difficulty noticing people's "race". I have a number of friends who've even been totally confused by the fact I didn't notice they were "asian", "jewish" or "mixed race". You have to have very strong racial distinctions for my un-observant brain to notice and even then it's tricky for me to remember it as important.

This sounds really right-on but it's partly because I don't care and also because I'm too wrapped up in my own little world to worry about what race the people I'm getting on with "belong" to. I'm not saying genetics do not have a part to play in who someone is but I do believe the key is in what people think, say and do.


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