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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?

Pendeen Tue 29-Jan-13 23:15:18

Oddly enough, although that was not my point and - in absolute terms you are wrong - there is a grain of truth in what you say if you look at the demographics of my county in a little more detail. You may begin to understand that the UK outside the large cities is a very different place from what you )may) have been led to believe.

It would be quite interesting to meet you and compare your and my experiences over the past 30 years.

gordyslovesheep Germany Tue 29-Jan-13 14:44:27

Oh I got your point ...there are no black people in Cornwall hmm

Pendeen Tue 29-Jan-13 14:27:09

gordy... if you read what I actually wrote you will see that, from my perspective yes the picture would quite obviously seem odd.

specialsubject Tue 29-Jan-13 09:34:39

I remember being annoyed as a kid that the families on the boxes for games where all blonde. (and of course all white). I am white, but not blonde. Just did a spot of research and this does appear to have changed - far fewer photographic boxes but where they are, couldn't find one blonde and there were some black faces too. So there is progress.

Just watch any news article about engineering and they will always interview a female engineer. She will be one of very few, if not the only one in the place. Thirty years of effort hasn't changed that which is a shame, and I think it IS patronising always to call on the 'token' if there is one. But if there isn't - just show the people who are in the place concerned. The mix is what it is!

one day we will hopefully not even notice.

gordyslovesheep Germany Tue 29-Jan-13 09:28:44

Oh good a future with less people like plodder? Bring it on!

SolomanDaisy Tue 29-Jan-13 07:55:27

Been reading BNP leaflets there plodder?

theplodder Tue 29-Jan-13 07:41:36

The local authorities are just trying to show you the future they have in store for you.

Valdeeves Tue 29-Jan-13 07:19:55

I haven't read all this sorry as little time but just wanted to add:
I'm white British but my children are not.
We live in a predominantly white British area.
They are the invisible ethics mentioned before!
I find all the publicity related to children completely white British. No problem with that but it doesn't include us in the way it could, I suppose it would seem like tokenism - but for me it would be inclusion.

AmberLeaf Tue 29-Jan-13 00:44:27

Marriedinwhite

Hang on? your husband is working class from leeds? yet in your previous posts he was one half of a middle class married couple?

So you as a couple were represented in that booklet full of working class folk then?

Yes but you have to look to see where the fuel is coming from Married - Tory backed papers spouting half-truths and mis-information about immigration. These papers may be bought by the working classes, but they aren't written or owned by them.

kim147 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:59:07

So you're saying you don't want "over representation" of diversity in an area where there is not much diversity - and you feel that the majority groups feel marginalised at the expense of diverse groups?

Look at normal TV output and newspaper coverage for a week and see what groups are represented and how they are represented.

I'll think you'll find white, middle class,married couples to be well represented in mainstream media.

It's important to get those diverse groups involved and to be seen "by all" as hidden groups not worthy of being included. It's a fine balance to be struck.

But you ask yourself what images are thrown up everyday, how many different groups are shown and what the common messages are. I think it would be interesting.

You might be interested in this - it's a BBC report showing how women are reported and shown in the media.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20554942

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Quite Amber.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

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