Monday, March 03, 2014

The latest episode of The Dumping Ground, 'Sticks and Stones' was about the distress caused by racial abuse. Two of the show's stars were interviewed by Newsround on Friday morning at 7.40am, and the subject of racism in football also featured in the 8.20am bulletin.

Story outline

Although the central theme of this episode is 'racism' it is seen against a backdrop of career prospects and other aims in life. Bailey clearly wants to be a professional footballer, whilst Carmen aims to set herself up in the nail salon business. Johnny has no idea what he wants to do. And Rick's aim is to find himself a girlfriend.

Racism plot

Bailey is preparing for a football match which could help him start on the long road to becoming a professional footballer. May-Li is keen to take Bailey to the training match because she wants to get Viv Anderson's autograph. Viv, played by himself, is at the match to talent-scout.

At the start of the football match the coach, Mr Jenkins, tells the players they are there to be assessed. But Bailey just wants to get on with the game and asks Mr Jenkins why he's still talking. Viv Anderson then makes a short speech of his own, but Bailey walks away as if not interested. Viv tells Bailey that he needs to learn some manners, and also rebukes Mike for not teaching Bailey to respect others.

Bailey does quite well in the match but makes one slip-up allowing the opposing team to score a goal. Jenkins walks on to the pitch, determined to chide Bailey for the error.

Jenkins: What is your problem?

Bailey: I scored four goals, man

Jenkins: Yeah, and you let them score five in return

Bailey: It's not my fault the defenders are rubbish

Jenkins: Nothing's ever your fault, is it?!

Bailey: Why are you always on my case?

Jenkins: I'm on your case because you're wasting your talent. You've got bags of ability but you haven't got it up here (points to head)

Jenkins: I've seen it with your type before - a million times.

Jenkins moves over to Bailey and whispers something in his ear. Viv suspects, and asks Bailey if he's OK. Bailey replies, unconvincingly "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

Shortly afterwards one of the other boys taunts Bailey by suggesting that he's not a team player: "It's called a team game for a reason. Saying that, your type doesn't care about that."

Bailey angrily replies "What's 'my type' ?" and a brief altercation ensues and Jenkins tells Bailey to go.

Back home, Bailey is reluctant to talk about what happened, but Faith insists he tell her the truth - "It's what he called me ..." sobs Bailey

We then see a brief animation with Bailey on the football pitch as a huge foot comes from above. A giant Mr Jenkins stamps on him, crushing him into the ground.

Bailey is persuaded to explain what happened to Mike and May-li. He confirms the racist remark, but adds "I'm black, and this stuff happens." Bailey admits that he can wind people up sometimes. Mike and the others emphasise that does not in any way justify what Mr Jenkins said.

Mike confronts Mr Jenkins, who eventually fesses up.

Bailey is downhearted thinking he's blown his chance to become a professional footballer. But then Viv turns up with Mike. Viv says "Remember, Bailey, the moment you quit, the bigots and the racists win. I went through this many many years ago."

So Bailey is given another chance to prove himself.

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