BBC Newsround – doing its bit for capitalism

While looking for material to use in an EFL classroom I found myself looking at the YouTube channel of the state-funded BBC’s news programme aimed at young viewers.

There are 48 videos on the home page of the channel. Here are the stats:

Videos about black lives matter, ‘black inequality in the UK’ and other ethnic issues: 9 *

Videos about mental health/illness: 2

Videos about the environment: 5

*These are videos with an explicit topic such as ‘What inequalities do black people face in the UK’. Of course; the message is ubiquitous. For example, in a video about starting a new school, there are 11 young people featured. Of these 6 are from an ethnic minority background, 4 from a white British background (2 of these were shown briefly together in a long-view) and one young woman who appeared to be a Muslim from perhaps Albania. That is a representation of ethnic minorities approximately 4 times greater than the figure for the country as a whole.

I’m guessing that the environment is seen as a safe outlet for young people’s political interests and this is why environmental topics are so enthusiastically promoted to young people by the authorities.

The number of videos specifically about ‘ethnic issues’ is about 18% – a little higher than the percentage of ethnic minority people in the UK. However; if the idea is that black and Asian people are integrated into British society, and that ‘race’ has no bearing on anything in particular, (which is how I understood Equal Opportunities), we can question why there are quite so many videos on this question. This constant promotion of questions of blackness and ethnicity seems to some extent to be contrary to the idea that race doesn’t matter very much and shouldn’t be a factor in anything. What is behind this continual banging of the drum of race?

One of the videos about environmental issues features a disabled presenter. The opening shot of the video shows a beefy looking man – in close-up. We just see his face. Then, once his beefiness is established the camera pulls out and we see that he is in a wheelchair – and that his legs are emaciated. The piece is ostensibly about rising sea levels in the Pacific but the caption should read “Disabled men are beefy too”.

The video about “how to tie your school-tie” is of course led by “tie-girl”.

That is – there is constant propagandizing of the values of the moment. It is perhaps surprising that none of these 48 videos promotes transgenderism.

It seems likely that this promotion of minorities and “inclusivity” is a deliberate strategy by power of fragmenting working class resistance. Multiple groups from the masses are selected, made ‘special’ in some way, and promoted out of proportion to reality and often contrary to established social norms. This produces a kaleidoscope of worthy causes which obscure and distract attention from the fundamental questions of economic social justice. A strategy in effect, of divide and rule. Power can appear to be progressive while all the time working, as always, to oppress and exploit.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer