We are in 2021 now, and it would be nice to think that things could have become a little better, in regards to understanding one another. But if anything, sometimes I think that this has reverted, as there seems to be more stick going around than ever before.
For a start, the phrase chav is basically rooted in classism, Because the kinds of people we associate with it, tend to be from lower income, working class backgrounds. This is because the lifestyle they lead tends to be of a lower cost; think that the price of eating McDonald’s is less than eating in an expensive restaurant.
Now you may contest that actually the stereotype of a chav is a joke which no one is going to take seriously. However a yougov survey conducted in 2006, showed that 70% of TV industry professionals believed that Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard, was an accurate reflection of white working-class youth. Many other TV programs have also portrayed the classic chav, making many middle class viewers see a “chav” in a bad light. Meanwhile we all know that many of those behind TV are going to be of a higher class, such as David Walliams who starred on Little Britain.
The media’s projection of the “chav”, probably hasn’t done anything help the public’s perspective. Because let’s face it, a lot of us are in the habit of pointing our finger at someone, just for standing outside McDonald’s wearing a hoodie, or at a young parent in a supermarket. When you however think about it, it is almost snobbish, as you are looking down on the way those people are living. This creates further barriers in society enabling people to look down on each other, when we should really be working to remove them.
Now in his defense, David Walliams did state that the characters made in Little Britain were for people to laugh with, rather than at. Being very relatable to many. And to some degree this is true, as it was (sort of) a representation of Britain at the time. And the same could be said for the term “chav”: as it is a joke. Moreover at the end of the day presenting yourself as a “chav” is a personal choice, so using the term in a derogatory way is not a direct insult on class. However we do need to be more aware of what we mean by the phrase chav, and as many of the dare I say symptoms of it cannot be helped, then we should be more sensitive toward it.
Earlier on this year you may have been unfamiliar with the term “roadman”, and you would have probably guessed that it resembled something similar to a chav, which is true, well sort of… The subculture originally emerged in London, among generally working class and people of colour. It was associated with grime music, street style and often sport. Over time as the culture expanded, it provoked interest among the middle classes, with many wanting to copy the slang. However it also led to many seeing Roadmen under a bad light, provoking fear among many who speculate that they are likely to be possessing drugs, carrying out crimes and are likely tot be violent…
Once again much of this is going to be rooted in classism, however I would also say that it is part of internal racism due to how many automatically associate poc with violence. This way it is important for us all to question our judgments when coming across people who may be different to us, and ask ourselves if we are coming to a fair conclusion.
In the end, it would be silly to argue that everyone who mutters the phase “chav” or “roadman” is simply making a comment on our culture, because both off the phases are to some degree are rooted in observations of those behaviors, which are caused by no fault of their own. In some ways it is alright to comment on our culture. This way it is important for us all to question our judgments when coming across people who may be different to us. While we should try to get a better understanding of different groups of people and pay attention to our internal prejudices before askingourselves if we are coming to a fair conclusion.