James McAvoy did Scotland a service by calling out racism – Brian Wilson

Anyone who wants progressive change in Scottish society should welcome James McAvoy’s decision to express despair about the racism directed against cast members who were women of colour when he brought Cyrano de Bergerac to Glasgow.

James McAvoy spoke out about racist abuse of fellow actors in Glasgow (Picture: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
James McAvoy spoke out about racist abuse of fellow actors in Glasgow (Picture: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that even talking about it involved a decision because McAvoy knew perfectly well this it is not a message high-profile people like him are expected to give. Far easier to subscribe to the official line.

McAvoy told GQ magazine: “The narrative that Scottish people and the Scottish media want to hear… is ‘It’s rare. It’s fantastic. I’m chuffed to be here and there’s no crowd like a Scottish crowd. But I was going on stage every night going, ‘I don’t want us to be here. I brought this cast here and I don’t want to be here.’”

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These words should prompt a lot of re-thinking about whether there is any future in sweeping these issues under the carpet in order to promote an image that is far removed from reality. Scotland suffers from a relentless campaign of self-praise about us being the most tolerant wee country in the world where racism scarcely exists. It is one which fits the political zeitgeist but has never borne much relationship to reality. We might not be worse than anywhere else, but it is delusional to think we are better.

The social media opprobrium heaped upon McAvoy helped to reinforce the validity of his message. Until Scotland gets back to addressing such issues as they are, rather than how political correctness might wish to present them, very little is going to change.

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