Saturday, November 25, 2006

Nipping prejudice in the bud

Anti-Bullying Week has finished, but that doesn't mean we can just forget about bullying for another year. And it's not just kids who get bullied. The National Union of Teachers believe that a fifth of primary and two thirds of secondary school teachers experience sexist bullying. Sexist jokes and put-downs make female pupils feel degraded too, the NUT said.

Look no further than TMi, the Saturday morning CBBC programme for kids. On 28 October 2006 we heard Caroline and Sam thinking out loud. Caroline wanted to please Sam and wondered how to impress him. "I know, I'll get my bongos out" she thought, before putting a pair of bongos on her lap. Sam looked round at her and thought "nice bongos." Yes, Caroline did get a real pair of bongos out, but the sexism involved was obvious and deliberate.

Last Wednesday I wrote about a teacher forced from his job because of prejudice. Tony Green believed that only visibility would help reduce the problems of homophobia. He can be seen in the video School Matters: Challenging Homophobia.

The government has launched plans to tackle prejudice-based bullying in schools, but CBBC isn't helping by allowing programmes to make sexist jokes, and by Newsround invisibilising lgbt people. Today on TMi a question from a young viewer asking Lil Chris if he was single was followed up by Caroline asking what kind of ladies Chris liked. Teachers are told not to make assumptions about a person's sexual orientation, and nor should CBBC.

CBBC and Newsround could do much more to nip prejudice in the bud.

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