Thursday, 4 June 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss

There's an article on Bashy in the Metro paper today, which is great exposure for him and for the UK 'urban' music scene. However, one of the questions asked clearly stands out as ignorant:

Is music a way out for young black people now, like boxing used to be?
There are so many more opportunities out there now for black people, we just need to take them. It’s not like 40 years ago when my mum and dad were growing up. In saying that, there are always going to be people who fall through the cracks.

Click here to read the full interview

I'm sorry to say but the journalist, James Day, seems very ignorant! In this day and age, how can you ask such a question!
Is James Day trying to say that black people are only good at music and boxing?
The question suggests that black people need to escape because they live a life of hardship, which is just a stereotype.

After a wave of complaints, the features editor Kieran Meeke, sent this email to an editor at The Voice newspaper, after a letter of complaint:

"Thank you for your email and my apologies if you found the question offensive.

It was asked as a short-hand way of raising exactly the questions you ask. The 60secs format is very tight and every word is at a premium. I think you read far too much into very few words.
Surely it is undeniable that employment opportunities for black teenagers have been - and are - limited? Watching Britain's Got Talent, it was great to see dance acts Diversity and Flawless doing so well. But seeing that, for example, you can't help but ask why we see so many black faces in music or sport but still so few in, for example, the law, politics, the City, or, indeed journalism.

Bashy certainly didn't find the question offensive - it fact, it was the one he was most enthusiastic about answering as that was part of the reason we were interviewing him - and took it to heart, providing a long answer - which we sadly didn't have room to include fully - detailing how his parent's generation struggled to find the opportunities that are only now opening up to his. It is part of the art of interviewing to give questions that provide the subject an opening to give an interesting answer and Bashy has been working hard to encourage all teenagers - not just black ones - to chase their dreams.

I find that this question is now the subject of a chain complaint - some from people who obviously have not read the entire interview. I find it sad that when Metro interviews someone such as Bashy, the reaction is so negative, with, frankly, the 'racism' card being waved so readily. The only possible outcome will be to make minority subject even less likely to be interviewed by our team wary of facing such accusations over seemingly innocent questions.
I considered this a positive interview with a positive role mode. So did Bashy's team - who have just called to thank me for it and ask me and James Day out to lunch. "

Are some of us reading into the question too much as Kieran has suggested?
Perhaps a re-wording of the question would've been better?


The Metro have now taken down the article from their website. This is in a way negative for Bashy, but at the same time positive that people views are being heard.

I wonder if they will print an apology note in tomorrow's edition??

1 comment:

  1. The real truth is that Kieran Meeke asked this question NOT James Day!

    And what's with "The only possible outcome will be to make minority subject even less likely to be interviewed by our team wary of facing such accusations over seemingly innocent questions." ??
    You're calling black people "minority subjects" and you're threatening not interview black people anymore as you don't want to be pulled up when you ask an ignorant question.

    Kieran you really should have thought out this defensive letter of 'apology' before you rushed it out.
    You've added insult to injury and have failed to admit it was you, not James Day, who asked this ridiculous question.


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