Sunday, June 06, 2010

BBC racism

Disproportionate number of recruits to BBC's trainee scheme are from ethnic minorities. Disproportionate numbers are routinely held by Leftists to be proof of racism, so the BBC can hardly back away from this one. The Beeb could only be shown to be non-racist if it could show that its minority candidates were more highly qualified or more able than mainstream candidates -- and there is no evidence of that

Almost half of the places on a coveted BBC journalism trainee scheme have gone to candidates from ethnic minorities, a Freedom of Information Act request has shown. One white applicant who was turned down said he had been asked in his interview what experience he had in writing stories that would appeal to people from different racial backgrounds.

It comes despite the fact that non-white people make up about a tenth of the population, and deliberately favouring one race over another for jobs is illegal.

The official figures are disclosed just a day after it emerged that a council banned white people from applying for an £18,000-a-year traineeship in order to increase staff diversity. Bristol City Council said its policy did not break race relations laws against “positive discrimination” because the two-year placement does not guarantee a job.

In the latest case, figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that 51 places have been made available under the BBC’s Journalism Trainee Scheme since 2007. Of these 24 have gone to candidates from ethnic minorities – 47 per cent. The latest estimate by the Office for National Statistics is that 6m of the 54m population of England and Wales is non-white – 11 per cent.

The BBC also disclosed that 33 of the successful entrants to the scheme were female – 64 per cent – and that of these, 16 were non-white.

Over the first three years of the scheme, which offers up to a year of on-the-job training as well as tuition and assessment – 5,816 people had applied for a place. Those who finish the course are not guaranteed a full-time contract but rather considered good enough to “compete for jobs”.

The BBC was memorably described as “hideously white” by Greg Dyke, the former director-general, and has a target of recruiting at least 12.5 per cent of its 23,000 staff from ethnic minorities. Its own figures show that by January 2009 it had almost reached the goal, with 12 per cent of employees at the publicly-funded broadcaster non-white.

Trevor Phillips, the Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, claimed in a newspaper interview earlier this year that he believed the BBC was now deliberately trying to recruit non-white trainees. “One of my friends chaired the board for BBC trainees. Thousands apply. He went in and said, ‘I’m going to make sure this year it’s not all white boys from Oxbridge’. So they advertised in the right way, sifted the candidates in the right way and actually it worked.”

A white man who was interviewed for the BBC’s journalism traineeship scheme in 2007 said the process appeared to be geared towards selecting ethnic minority candidates. He said: “One of the questions the assessors from the BBC asked was to do with what experience I had in developing stories that would be of interest to ethnic minorities.

“I thought asking the same question to my ethnic minority would be very unfair as they will have a natural advantage, being from such a background, which then obviously would lead to a better answer, and overall interview. “I was shocked later to learn – from a friendly Muslim girl who was also at interview - that she was asked the question and freely admitted it was ‘easy to answer’ because of her community background.

“I did also think also think it strange that the BBC organisers took photos of all the candidates during the assessments. “They said it was to “remember our faces” - but now I think it was possibly to confirm what race candidates were when considering who take onto the scheme.”

Under the Race Relations Act 1976, organisations can offer training to specific groups that are under-represented in their workforce, but it remains illegal to offer a job to one person over someone equally qualified on the basis of their skin colour.

A BBC spokesman said: "Whilst the BBC Journalism Trainee scheme is not a positive action scheme, a core objective of the scheme has been to encourage a greater diversity amongst potential BBC journalists. "We work hard to actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and there is a very intensive short listing and selection process which assesses a whole range of competencies and the potential of each individual to become a successful BBC journalist. "The allocation of places is based solely on the candidates' performance during the assessment.”


Statue of Joseph Stalin to be Unveiled in Virginia

This Sunday, people around the world will honor the 66th anniversary of D-Day, when over 160,000 troops from the United States, Britain, France and Canada bravely stormed the beaches of Normandy, marking a turning point in World War II. In Bedford, Virginia, a memorial to the invasion will be unveiled with statues of western Allied leaders, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman. The memorial will also include a bust of dictator Joseph Stalin.

Residents of Bedford are rightfully outraged. Annie Pollard, a Bedford County supervisor, and a volunteer at the memorial told the Lynchburg News and Advance: “I just don’t think it belongs on the hill with them…To me, he (Stalin) is just a murderer. I just can’t see how he fits in with the memorial. They are people we want to remember. He’s someone I’d rather forget.”

James Morrison and fellow veterans from the Bedford Post 54 of the American Legion are equally outraged and have been fighting the effort since the plan was announced in 2007. Morrison, author of the book “Bedford Goes to War: The Heroic Story of a Small Virginia Community in World War II” said: “It’s a disgrace and a dishonor to the veterans.”

So why do it? William McIntosh, the president of the Memorial Foundation said: “He certainly was a fact of life and a major ally during the second World War … There’s nothing about the presentation that’s going to be flattering of Stalin.”

Dr. Lee Edwards, a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, disagrees. Edwards released a statement saying:

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, statues of Joseph Stalin have been torn down all over Europe and even in the former Soviet Union itself. The world is closer than ever before to a consensus on the evils of communism and Stalin’s primary role in the worst crimes of the last century. And yet a statue of Stalin is included in the National D-Day Memorial, to be dedicated in Bedford, Virginia, this Sunday, June 6.

Near the statue of Stalin, a plaque catalogues Stalin’s crimes against millions of people both in Russia and throughout Europe. But no mere plaque can justify the inclusion of the statue which dishonors the heroic individuals who sacrificed so much on D-Day and in the Cold War.

A bust of Joseph Stalin has no place in a memorial whose purpose is to salute the brave soldiers who made D-Day a vital victory in the crusade for freedom.

It’s time for Mr. McIntosh and those responsible for the memorial in Bedford to do the right thing. Follow the lead of those who were oppressed under Joseph Stalin and tear down this statue. You can learn more about the victims of communism at


Being Catholic Means Not Feeling Sorry About Being Catholic

Publications such as Time magazine, The New York Times and the Boston Globe want to see the moral voice of the Catholic Church scaled back, if not completely silenced, on key social issues. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in the current debate over homosexuality -- an issue that has become increasingly difficult to talk about in the public square.

Just ask Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who stands almost alone within the media in discussing even the existence of homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood as an ingredient in some of the sex-abuse cases of recent decades, and in the seminary and clerical culture where abuse of teenagers all too often went unpunished in the past.

The issue is, of course, broader than sex-abuse scandals. In both the Denver and the Boston archdioceses, schools have recently been faced with decisions about whether to accept in private Catholic schools the children of openly same-sex couples. It strikes me as quite apparent that a school run by a Catholic parish should be free to choose to not take on such a challenge.

I acknowledge that not every Catholic school lives up to its mission of evangelizing. It is also true that some parents send their children to Catholic schools for the scholastic quality or for the mere safety Catholic schools provide as compared to what public schools offer. But a Catholic school that is being truly Catholic and fulfilling the religious portion of its mission is going to have an obvious problem with an openly gay couple being partners. The same-sex couple at the Christmas show, for example, is a lot more scandalous to what the school is trying to teach about morality than the divorced couple -- simply because the scandal is much harder to avoid. There will be hurt feelings all around; the most charitable thing for the school to do may simply be to not accept the child of, say, two lesbians into the school in the first place.

You can certainly disagree with me on this -- or with the forthright shepherd Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, or with the next Catholic school principal or pastor who has to make a call on the application of a so-called alternative family. But the school should nonetheless be free to make that decision about the identity of the school and how best they can serve all of the children in it, as a matter of religious liberty.

The outcry about these decisions to say "no" underscores the broader problem strong cultural forces -- notably, the media -- have with the moral voice of the Church. It's not just Pope Benedict that they wish would pipe down; it's also the local parish school. They are encouraging an environment in which even Catholics feel awkward about letting a Catholic school be Catholic. And they are using victims of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests -- priests who were themselves being unfaithful to the Church in an especially shocking way -- as cover for their own moral agenda.

This is what Time magazine recently did, when it announced on its cover that "Being Pope Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry." That headline simply doesn't pass the laugh test. Christianity itself is a redemption story. Christ Himself, the faithful believe, came precisely because we sin -- and believers are implored to say "sorry," in a sacramental way, in the Catholic Church. The Pope himself -- on the matter of what he has called the "filth" of the crimes committed by abusing priests -- has been forthright in asking forgiveness, and talking about the need for redemption and renewal in ways that even Time had to begrudgingly acknowledge. When Time magazine and The New York Times and the others work to try to depict the current pope as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution, they display their agenda -- an agenda that may be fought out in a local Catholic parish school near you, sooner rather than later.


Fight bigotry without government

By John Stossel

"Backwards and hateful ideas ... oust John Stossel," said In a newspaper, the organization went on: "It's time that FOX drop Stossel ... we'll go directly after the network with a public campaign unlike anything we've pursued to date.". Media Matters joined: "By airing Stossel's repugnant comments, Fox legitimizes his indefensible position."

What "indefensible" position did I take? I said this: "Private businesses ought to get to discriminate. I won't ever go to a place that's racist, and I will tell everybody else not to, and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."

Read that carefully: I condemned racism. I said I'd speak out against and boycott a racist's business. But to some people, I committed heresy. I failed to accept the entire catechism. I didn't say that we need government to fight racism and prohibit racist policies in private establishments. For this, they demand that I be fired.

This controversy started when Rand Paul, who had just won a senatorial primary, told TV talker Rachel Maddow that the part of the Civil Rights Act that bans discrimination by private business is improper interference with property owners' rights. He, too, condemned racism.

But the chattering class's reaction to Paul's statements must have made him uncomfortable. The next day, he issued a statement saying that he would have voted for the entire act because federal intervention was needed.

Maybe. At the time, racism was so pervasive that such an intrusive law may have been a good thing. But, as a libertarian, I say: Individuals should be surrounded by a sphere of privacy where government does not intrude. Part of the Civil Rights Act violates freedom of association. That's why I told Fox's Megyn Kelly, "It's time now to repeal that part of the law."

You can't say that in America? America's fundamental political philosophy has deteriorated quite a bit if we can't distinguish between government and private conduct. I enthusiastically support the parts of the civil rights act that struck down Jim Crow laws, which required segregation in government facilities, mass transit, and sometimes in private restaurants and hotels. Jim Crow was evil. It had no place in America.

Racist policies in private restaurants are also evil, but they do not involve force. Government is force, so it should not be used to combat nonviolent racism on private property, even property open to the public.

I just don't trust government to decide what discrimination is acceptable. Its clumsy fist cannot deter private nonviolent racism without stomping on the rights of individuals. Today, because of government antidiscrimination policy, all-women gyms are sued and forced to admit men, a gay softball team is told it may not reject bisexuals and a Christian wedding photographer is fined thousands of dollars for refusing to take photos of a homosexual wedding.

I'll say it again: Racial discrimination is bad. But we have ways besides government to end it. The free market often punishes racists. Today, a business that doesn't hire blacks loses customers and good employees. It will atrophy, while its more inclusive competitors thrive.

In the pre-1964 South, things were different. But even then, private forces worked against bigotry. White owners of railroads and streetcars objected to mandated segregation. Historian Jennifer Roback writes that in 1902 the Mobile Light and Railroad Company "flat out refused to enforce" Mobile, Alabama's segregation law.

In cities throughout the South, beginning in 1960, student-led sit-ins and boycotts peacefully shamed businesses into desegregating whites-only lunch counters. Those voluntary actions were the first steps in changing a rancid culture. If anything, Washington jumped on a bandwagon that was already rolling.

It wasn't free markets in the South that perpetuated racism. It was government colluding with private individuals (some in the KKK) to intimidate those who would have integrated. It was private action that started challenging the racists, and it was succeeding -- four years before the Civil Rights Act passed.

Government is a blunt instrument of violence that one day might do something you like but the next day will do something you abhor. Better to leave things to us -- people -- acting together privately.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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