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?

kim147 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:04:53

There was an interesting article about homophobic bullying in schools. A common comment was that "homosexuals are just not depicted in schools" - the default in stories is a married couple, probably white - although now that's changing to include a few more different families. But the norm is what's talked about and assumed.

It's called the hidden curriculum. Messages you pick up about what's "normal" - scientists, people in history tend to be white male or, if female, seen as victims in history and nothing positive is mentioned about them.

It's not a case of actively promoting such stuff - but not hiding it away so no one is aware of it. Schools etc do play a part in this hidden curriculum and it is good for children to see that their "group" is at least represented somewhere. And is not being seen in a negative way.

edam Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:11

I wondered that, MrsDV. grin And why marriedinwhite seems to assume that only married, middle class people actually plan their babies. Does she think working class people can't count? Better not mention that theory next time she has to call a plumber out...

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:06:18

It wasn't so much a subliminal message about the gays and single mums as one that excluded married, middle class white people. I just remember feeling it excluded us and shocked at the pc message. I don't mind that it included lots of different types of families but I didn't feel it was inclusive of mine and we aren't in that much of a minority.

kim147 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:06

Your statement about "planning babies" was offensive and made lots of assumptions.

Do working class families, unmarried couples and lesbian couples not plan their families?

Local Authorities get there direction from the Government, the statistics are there, as to who under achievies and why.

Some of the answers are better funding all around, that certainly won't happen now.

We have this government wanting to drop parts of the Human Rights Act and would then probably start to have a go at the Equality Act.

I don't think the inclusion of all possible EM's is part of a bigger plan, tbh.

They are totally seperate.

There was a lot of research around a lack of different faces across the media ate time when Adopter's tended to be white (70's).

All of research hows that it makes a huge difference to how everyone feels about inclusion and if they are a valued member of society when a cross represetation of all possible EM/disabilities are shown.

AmberLeaf Mon 28-Jan-13 23:12:32

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

Oh bollocks! you're putting your own spin on it

Hilarious suggestion that a lesbian couple didnt plan their baby! I think that would require way more planning than you and your husbands middle class baby.

AmberLeaf Mon 28-Jan-13 23:14:36

Why would a married middle class couple need to feel included though?

LizzieVereker Mon 28-Jan-13 23:14:47

How kind of you not to mind that the book included different types of families including "the gays"... Hopefully you were made to feel more included by the fact that every other form of media in 1996 did not include "the gays" in their depictions of families.

I expect the working class couple were only identifiable by the fact they were smoking. Or looking at a positive pregnancy test saying "cor blimey missus 'ow did that 'append?"

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:15:54

Somewhere in that book I remember something saying "and lots of women don't plan their babies and have to come to terms with lots of changes they weren't expecting". Don't recall it being aimed at the blonde woman with one earring in each ear and the man in a suit and collar and tie who both had wedding rings in the picture. That couple, ie, us, was absent - yet all the couples at ante-natal classes at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital were all like us.

AmberLeaf Mon 28-Jan-13 23:16:45

I remember that book too I think, I was pregnant in London 17 years ago, must have been the same one.

Lilithmoon Mon 28-Jan-13 23:17:10

marriedinwhite how could you tell the models represented an unmarried couple and a working class couple? How do they look different from a middle class couple?
IMO your intention is to derail and inflame this discussion.

whateveritakes Mon 28-Jan-13 23:18:39

marriedinwhite didn't assume that only married, middle class people actually plan their babies.
The leaflet was implying it by not representing a white middle class couple. I can only imagine they leave out the white middle class couple because of the assumptions about them. Therefore any "other" type of family having babies planned or unplanned, black or white, gay or straight will be "different" because the are represented.

"i don't mind that it included lots of different types of families but I didn't feel it was inclusive of mine and we aren't in that much of a minority."

I had to study this subject as part of my BA.

It isn't so much as your group is considered a minority, but that other groups are marginalised.

The effect of marginalisation on life chances became recognised properly in the 90's. One way of counteracting marginalisation is to make it visable amd mainstream.

Married, if you think back to the changes that were just about to happen 18 years ago, new Labour, CTC, Surestart, you can see how it is all linked.

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:22:20

Well it made me feel marginalised and I don't believe that can be right. I also don't think that is helping society to be truly inclusive at present and I fear it will back fire. I genuinely fear that because it really isn't what I want, what I would support and it terrifies me and yet the "system" seems intent on feeding the hand that might attack.

I am not trying to inflame I would like to ensure that things do not inflame and that we can be an inclusive society. I am genuinely fearful of where things might end up at present.

kim147 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:24:10

Don't worry, married, I can never see my family unit being featured positively on anykind of literature. At the moment, it's more likely to be late night Channel 4. And not always positively.

AmberLeaf Mon 28-Jan-13 23:25:27

Im sure it affected your life in an awful way? hmm

Sounds like you are making excuses for particular opinions.

nailak Mon 28-Jan-13 23:27:01

white british are the ethnic group which use our childrens centre the least, so on the cover of this terms calendar we have a white british father and child...

Lilithmoon Mon 28-Jan-13 23:27:16

Quite Amber.

LizzieVereker Mon 28-Jan-13 23:36:18

I appreciate that you genuinely felt marginalised married, but would it not be fair to say that most other representations of families then did depict your "normal"? And therefore your sense of marginalisation is not as profound as that of someone who never sees a child in an advert, a toy or a picture in a book that represents their ethnicity or family set up? And I'm really not sure that class distinctions were that evident in the 90s.

It just reminds me of the conversations I have every year when my very white (remarkably so in a diverse area of E London) marks Black History Month. There are always a few students and sometimes parents who ask "Why are you making a fuss about black achievement?" and, even more delightfully "When are we having White History Month then?". I want to mutter "because EVERY month is white flipping history month!" The positive promotion of minorities and the disenfranchised will not marginalise the majority any time soon.

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:39:09

Would you like to be more precise AmberLeaf I don't talk in riddles. FWIW, I felt so marginalised as a new mummy I developed severe pnd; that's because the system marginalised people like me because those working for it seemed to resent providing support.

I thought Married was going to start talking about 'rivers of blood' next - but seriously Married are you saying that it's not really the white, wealthy middle and upper classes who are worried about the over-representation/privileged treatment of black and ethnic minority groups but infact the white, uneducated working class.

Really - the working-class who are far more likely to live along-side these groups, go to school with, work with, marry and have children with - these people are the ones we need to watch because they've had enough? I don't think so - pretending to fret on the behalf of another group to cover your own prejudices I think - politicians do it all the time.

kim147 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:41:42

"And therefore your sense of marginalisation is not as profound as that of someone who never sees a child in an advert, a toy or a picture in a book that represents their ethnicity or family set up?"

Exactly - I work with a lot of children from a wide range of backgrounds (inner city Leeds). They only see negative images of themselves in the media - which is not good for them. It's great to see them actually see themselves in postive role models in the media and in adverts.

It is great for anyone to see themselves on TV - look at the positive reaction to women scientists on TV and being depicted in a positive light / being there for their knowledge, not their looks (slightly off topic but the same principle).

It's good for girls (and boys) to see women being feature in a positive light for things other than being celebrities.

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:45:30

Well the BNP isn't taking in hold in Putney, Wimbledon, Fulham, etc., *Emphaticmaybe*. it is in Barking, Dagenham, etc.. You work it out.

marriedinwhite Mon 28-Jan-13 23:47:31

My DH is working class stock from Inner City Leeds *Kim*. It's people like his mother's neighbours I worry most about.

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