Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is 'The Beautiful Game' bigoted? That was the second of three 'big questions' for discussion on BBC One last Sunday morning.

Some guests, including John Amaechi, were clear that there is a problem. John said the football authorities take some forms of prejudice more seriously than others: They have decided that issues with racism are import, and then other things come underneath that in descending order: ".. when it comes to homophobia they still have people in there who openly giggle when you talk about gay people, as if they were still eight."

The debate went on to consider use of language. Daily Mail blogger, Abhijit Pandya felt that ethnic minorities tend to be far more sensitive to words than other people, which he said is a worrying state of affairs: Why should you always have to protect people from words? They're only words - grow up for God's sake.

John Amaechi on The Big Questions 25/03/2012
John Amaechi (above) said that research dating back to the 1950's had proved that words are important: Words can inform opinion. They can make it clear that certain types of people are less. And the moment people are less than human you can start doing things to them that you would never do to a person you decide is human.

Abhijit Pandya wanted to know why human beings should be so obsessed with what other people think of them. To which Amaechi suggested he put that argument to the young people in Britain who endure endemic bullying in schools, for example, for being gay and lesbian.

Former Premier League footballer, Michael Johnson talked about how language had affected his family.

...I have a seven year old son who recently came home from school after being racially abused, after just being called names, and I have to stand there and explain to him why he has to put up with that. Would you like your seven-year-old son or child ... to come home, crying their eyes out, saying "Dad why am I different, why are they picking on me?"

A little later on Michael Johnson was asked whether he supported the fight against homophobia. His response was was somewhat less forthright than he had been about racist abuse :-

Where else have we seen this kind of dichotomy?

I think this attitude mirrors BBC programmes for young people. Human diversity is celebrated, but not when that diversity is related to sexual orientation. The Corporation is doing little to help prevent homophobic prejudice and, furthermore, BBC programmes such as EastEnders, with its current Ben Mitchell storyline, are only making matters worse.

No comments: