Hello Patrick! First up, I’m sorry that the previous comment came across snarky, it wasn’t intentional. I felt that I had something to offer here, which might help clarify the gaps in your knowledge.

That said, a latent snarkiness likely arose because this kind of attitude is particularly dangerous in the UK right now, and it has in many cases paralysed anti-racism efforts. The argument that “we’re not as bad as the US” is a pervasive propaganda point that our education department maintains to justify teaching about racism in the US, but not the UK or its former and existing colonies.

I’m not sure that it was Shonda’s intention when directing Bridgerton, but precisely the problems discussed in this article ARE racism in Britain right now. Too many white Brits, particularly women, have always seen racism as something distasteful, the cure for which is for it not to be seen. To be “post-racial” is a white woman dream, which allows them to keep their comfort without challenging their paradoxical position of power and victimhood. Even the leader of the Suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst was a notorious bigot when it came to humanising black Britons. Her daughter was better, and an anti-racism activist ahead of her time. But which of these characters is taught in schools?

In today’s Britain, those racialised as black DO hold positions of power, wealth and influence, just like in Bridgerton. But this doesn’t protect them from, for example, forced deportation after legally entering the country fifty or more years ago (Google Windrush generation) or being publicly humiliated in stop-and-searched by police (back to the Akala book). Bridgerton seems, as a British person, more a reflection on today’s British racism than on the Regency era. Which I find either incredibly clever or an accident worth keeping.

China specialist, feminist, political scientist in progress. Reviews, socialism & everyday academia. Low-brow, no jargon/acronyms. Editor of The Open Bookshelf.