Tonight sees the third episode of the BBC’s adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s book Noughts and Crosses. The first two episodes received incredibly positive reviews - even from many who found it uncomfortable viewing - alongside, perhaps predictably, negative ones: a minority of reviewers even went so far as to say it was ‘anti-British’ and ‘anti-white’ and ‘a masterclass in ‘race-baiting’. The series release comes at a time when people in the UK are finally starting to talk about race: the hounding of Meghan Markle by the tabloid press, the rise in racism since the Brexit vote, the BBC’s treatment of Naga Munchetty and the subsequent fall out, and the work of writers such as Reni Eddo-Lodge are just some of the things that have pushed combating racism higher on the agenda. It is no longer easy to look the other way and feign ignorance about the structural racism operating in society, which prioritises the needs, experiences and interests of white people at the expense of people of colour, but there is still so much work to do. The TV series has arrived at a critical time and its existence will no doubt contribute to the dialogue about race, encouraging the action that we need if we are to create a fair, just society that serves all of its citizens.
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