A black supply teacher was stabbed by a 14 year old pupil.
It was a racially-motivated attack. The boy boasted of this on social media.
The BBC reported the incident, politely describing the perpetrator merely as a 14 year old boy; they described the victim as black.
Sky was more forthcoming. We now knew that this was not just a story about any old racist pupil, but a ‘Bangladeshi background’ pupil of Pakistani heritage.
The BBC decided to tackle the story on the Today programme. ( 0:2:10) They addressed it as a ‘racism in the classroom’ story, not as a ‘racism within the Pakistani community story’ and interviewed a supply teacher who had suffered racist abuse in the classroom, Sagheer Afzal, author-come-supply teacher, described by The Asian Writer as “The reluctant author”
“After a difficult day at work, where he says, he was routinely called names and found himself struggling to regain control of school children, Afzal found the writing process intense and addictive. “I would come home totally exhausted, unwind and then start writing.”
Well, supply teachers do have a notoriously tough time, and the toughness is not necessarily racially motivated.
However the BBC decided to ignore the sensitive issue (racism specifically within ‘Bangladeshi background’ society) and focus on racism in general. They brought in Laura Pidcock, education manager at Show Racism the Red Card to explain why racism needs to be explored and discussed rather than banned. (She appeared to be talking about bigotry rather than racism, unless immigrants are now officially a race)
By choosing Sagheer Afzal, who sounded extremely excitable and resentful, (and suffering from a massive chip on the shoulder) the BBC could emote that the issue was racism against the Muslims rather than racism emanating from the Muslim community.
The contrast between the reluctant author and the generous, philosophical, dare I say ‘Christian’ attitude from the victim, Vincent Uzomah, was striking
For some reason the Today Programme’s angle reminded me of that well-known enigmatic composition:
Algy met a bear. The bear was bulgy. The bulge was Algy.