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Why don’t we talk about it?
The way you talk about these things: I had to say it was the plot … it
was just a bad narrative, a poor narrative, it didn’t really deal with
characterisation very well.
Q. So you did it in terms of the technical and professional aspects
rather than portrayal?
You can’t go round saying that it’s racist. That just doesn’t work with
these people. - Producer
If you are a White person getting into these waters you have to be
prepared to be really hated, to really take a lot of flak and that is
another reason why a lot of White people don’t go there, because
you set yourself up to be told you are taking people’s voices or
whatever. I think a lot of White producers are scared of that as well.
I think you have to understand where the anger comes from and you
just have to be secure enough in your own politics. I don’t take it to
heart, these kinds of rows, any more because I think I can stand by
my track record but it is no fun to be a White person at those
meetings sometimes. In fact, it is bloody horrible. - Producer
Managers charged with implementing top-down diversity strategies also
described feeling gagged.
I don’t think as managers we are trusted and so therefore if you
want to test or challenge policy or strategy, dissent is discouraged,
you are looked upon as a heretic. In fact I am incredibly
enthusiastic, I admire the BBC as an organisation, I love what I do,
but that is not the same as saying that I shouldn’t challenge or test
people’s arguments. If you can’t test and challenge you can’t
improve things and diversity is one of those areas in which dissent is
not really acceptable. - BBC Manager
What these comments show is that the National Conversation isn’t happening
effectively on the airwaves because it isn’t happening effectively in broadcasting
organisations or production offices. We lack the language and the vocabulary to
talk freely about difference and diversity. This poses a serious handicap to a
creative industry which is supposed to reflect the nation and help to shape a
shared cultural identity.