By: Edinah Masanga
It has been a while since I wrote commentary but that is because I have been busy writing a book on my race-based experiences here in Sweden. I will tell you more on that later but first, let’s get to the issue at hand.
Talking of writing I watched SVT drama Bonusfamiljen during my hiatus, which I love by the way, but I have noticed something worrying on there. They like to put appearances by black characters who walk behind others silently.
Well okay, they once they put a black woman’s character that talked but then after that, the black actors that appear on the drama are just silent figures following others around on the screen.
The writers of the show need to take into consideration the consequences of such seemingly inconsequential gestures. I concede that having black actors making an appearance is better than nothing but making them appear silent always only serves to reinforce the stereotype of the ‘clueless black person’ which we blacks grapple with all the time. While the show’s attempts to be inclusive are to be commended that is not an excuse for the inclusion to be done improperly.
It is ironic that black people in Sweden do not have that much of a voice already and here we have a whole, very popular TV programme parading silenced black people.
The writers of the show are undoubtedly brilliant but need to present their show in a way that truly and objectively represents the makeup of the Swedish society.
Black and brown people’s representation cannot be taken for granted or included in a way that only harms rather than improve their social standing.
Art is a critical tool in shaping people’s opinions and in this way, Bonusfmiljen is doing black people a disservice at least and harming their standing at worst. And thus Bonusfamiljen placing silent black actors is a failure at inclusiveness.