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To think positive promotion of BME imagery in local authorities is misplaced

(111 Posts)
wantanewname Mon 28-Jan-13 12:24:56

Local authorities seem to have a policy whereby photos promoting e.g. a school, museum etc have to if possible have at least one BME (black and ethnic minority) person in the photo.

Now, I can totally understand this if for example the local authority is e.g. trying to increase literacy levels in children and finds that literacy levels amongst some BME groups is lower than amongst e.g white groups and therefore uses a photo of a black child in a library. This I can understand. What I find hard to understand is the idea that this applies across the board. For example, does it do any good when a local authority is photographing a school in a very white area to use the few black pupils in every photo? I think in that instance it is patronising to the public - implying that their knowledge of the school/area is wrong and creates a warped view that there isn't a lack of diversity that needs to be addressed in certain areas when there actually is.

Or is there something I'm missing? I notice this in local authority literature all the time and think that they are actually creating more problems with their attempts at diversity? It annoys me because it doesn't seem well thought out...just wondered what other people think about this?

Theresalwaysone Mon 28-Jan-13 22:33:48

BUT in an area like mine, which is where I got my example from, I can see the obstacles in trying to engage 'hard to reach' audiences.... Its one of those double edged swords, but in a wider context looking at society as a whole, your argument is definitely more relevant than mine...

Theresalwaysone Mon 28-Jan-13 22:35:52

Uh oh marriedinwhite just confirmed my fears!

AmberLeaf Mon 28-Jan-13 22:38:46

When I had my first baby in London 18 years ago I was shocked that the book the midwives gave me depicted a working class couple, a mixed race couple, a lesbian couple an unmarried couple but it didn't seem to include a married, middle class couple who had planned their baby and desperately wanted it

How could you tell? were they labelled?

I am mixed race, second generation from a few different continents if you go back to my GGP.

There was no BME when i was growing up, this does have an impact on how you feel about "belonging" as a child.

We looked different (me no so much), but i had bigger lips, arse and thighs, thank god for Sophia Loren, she was my idol.

"Love thy Neighbour" was a popular programme, i can remember the series of "Mandingo" being read by my friends parents.

It is important to be "seen" in the society which you live.

Our society is now all visual, it is important that everyone is represented in any pictures used, by statutory services, "society" pays for them, that includes people/children, who are disabled.

At one time, men and EM were underusing/interacting services, that is starting to change, helped by the "universal" advertising of these services.

I hope that the cheaper card shops eventually catch up.

MrsDeVere Mon 28-Jan-13 22:39:53

ah ok.
If you are objecting to pointless, library stock photographs being plastered about the place instead of actual inclusion, I agree.

When I had to sign on about 3 years ago I was a bit hmm that ALL the massive pictures in the jobcentre were of black and asian faces. I mean, WTF were they trying to be?
Massively inclusive or massively racist?

It was a bizarre. Like a horrible PC own goal.

Theresalwaysone Mon 28-Jan-13 22:40:08

marriedinwhite, can you give an example of the people in power 'continually ignoring the majority'? I re-read your post and I do see your point regarding ' The indigenous majority population is getting pissed off and the people in power need to be aware of this and need to take a measured course of action to ensure that the minorities retain their freedom and their safety and that the UK remains an inclusive and tolerant society. It doesn't seem to be doing the right things to deliver this at the moment' but I'm not sure that you can effectively target ignorance and people choosing to ignore 99% of communications to the general public made?

Do you think it would be a good idea NOT to include BME children in all material at the risk of offending people?

gordyslovesheep Mon 28-Jan-13 22:42:13

Oh Marriedinwhite can you provide a link that shows the 49% are exclusively white then!

gordyslovesheep Mon 28-Jan-13 22:43:19

Like a horrible PC own goal lol councils and Gov bodies are good at those grin

Theresalwaysone Mon 28-Jan-13 22:43:30

Birdsgottafly exactly!

MrsDeVere Mon 28-Jan-13 22:43:43

This indigenous person is not getting pissed off at all. I really wish others would stop including me in their agendas.

Blimey, as a white working class women on a low income with low educational attainment I have never felt so needed.

Needed by people trying to make a point about immigrants unfortunately hmm

wantanewname Mon 28-Jan-13 22:45:52

I think this is a very interesting discussion and I am glad that it has moved beyond me being accused of racism. The points I have taken from it are:
That people need to see their groups being represented across literature,
That sometimes people need to see how they could aspire to being in a certain group and feel less excluded when they see their groups included,
But also that local authorities are trying to look inclusive but are ignoring the real issues and possibly contributing to them in doing so.

CaptainNancy Mon 28-Jan-13 22:48:52

1 in 8 people living in the UK today was born abroad- I think it's great that people of many heritages are represented in official literature, going into every home in an authority, even more so if that includes people with visible disabilities because I find that many people wander around in their own little bubbles, even in m y own authority, there are young people who have never been to certain areas of the authority, and I don't mean areas they think are 'ghettoes' I mean the town centre!

By portraying people of all types as usual, they become usual, and how can that really be a bad thing? (cf. mrsDV's pampers example)

wantanewname Mon 28-Jan-13 22:49:08

it's not just library stock photos though, it's photos that are being taken now.

gordyslovesheep Mon 28-Jan-13 22:49:43

what Mrs DeVere said

orlakielylover Mon 28-Jan-13 22:50:08

marriedinwhite I was shocked that the book the midwives gave me depicted a working class couple, a mixed race couple, a lesbian couple, an unmarried couple but it didn't seem to include a married, middle class couple who had planned their baby and desperately wanted it.

So lesbians, working class, unmarried or mixed race couples didn't plan their babies?? or desperately want them??? really???? you could tell all this from a brochure? hmm

wantanewname Mon 28-Jan-13 22:51:15

orlakielylover you are twisting what marriedinwhite said.

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 22:51:31

I think the last census did that Gordy for London at least where less than half the population identified as white British.

All I'm saying is that I think it would be helpful if Local Authority/Health Service publications depicted the situation as it is; rather than as exclusively representing minority groups.

And no Amber the pictures didn't have actual labels but they didn't need to have them. The subliminal messages were there. I don't have the book anymore but I recollect the feeling of looking at it and the realisation that it certainly hadn't been written for me.

edam Mon 28-Jan-13 22:53:02

grin MrsDV, it'd be nice if they wanted you for a good reason, though...

I understand people being annoyed by tokenism. But the people selecting the images for local authority publications are not the ones making the decisions about which services should be cut, or which schemes should receive funding. The people choosing the images are just trying to be inclusive - so we don't end up with small children never seeing anyone like them represented, as Birds describes.

gordyslovesheep Mon 28-Jan-13 22:55:25

which means they could be black British or Asian British - and still pay TAX

Theresalwaysone Mon 28-Jan-13 22:57:07

marriedinwhite, so in a society where you STATISTICALLY represent the highest majority, you are concerned about the subliminal messages shown to you versus the children of BME MINORITIES?

badguider Mon 28-Jan-13 22:57:13

In the past I have worked for organisations providing cultural activities that are dominated by white middle class people... but we don't want to just have white middle class people, we want to welcome everybody... so we tried to work with communities of people from BME backgrounds and from areas of lower socio-economic level in order to 1. let them see what the place was like and hopefully enjoy it. 2. hopefully go back to their communities and tell their friends and family that it was a welcoming experience and 3. so we can show them enjoying the activity in our literature and publicity and therefore hope to attract others.

white middle class mothers did not need this extra investment in time and energy because they already felt welcome and were not at risk of feeling excluded from the activity involved.

MrsDeVere Mon 28-Jan-13 22:57:37

My DS1 is 19. So the book you got marriedinwhite must be the same one I got.

I don't remember any subliminal messages about the Gays and the Single Mums.

MrsDeVere Mon 28-Jan-13 22:59:25

sorry to go on.
I am properly intrigued. How on earth would you tell if the couple was working class? Where they holding a ferret?

grin

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:02:39

No, I'm not worried about the pictures shown to me - I am worried about the interpretation by the parts of the majority who are far less educated than me and who are far more bigoted than me and I worry that the present situation is stoking something rather nasty. I have colleagues who went to Barking and Dagenham in the last General Election. They abandoned their labour members in other parts of London to go and fight the BNP I do not share their mainstream politics but next time I will go and stand shoulder to shoulder with them - I was proud of them and pleased they did it.

orlakielylover Mon 28-Jan-13 23:03:08

no. they were holding a big sign saying WORKING CLASS. obviously.

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