This is a piece from Nuzhat Uthmani.
So watching BBC News last night (Monday 1st June), and BBC Sport had 2
interviews, one with an Indian guy about cricket and subtitled,
another with a Finnish footballer, no subtitles. The Indian guy’s English was far more clearly than the Finnish dude, but he was
subtitled! What message does that send??
If you don’t understand what SUBCONSCIOUS BIAS is, this is a perfect
example. This is the type of low-level prejudice that BAME people
complain about. Kids see these images beaming into their homes and
start to assume, brown people can’t speak English properly. The more
and more they see this, the more subconscious biases form. Teach your
children to question everything! It is not sufficient to have these
lessons in school when conversations do not continue at home. Is this
why our anti-racist education has been failing so far I wonder?
I then showed both clips to my 9yr old daughter, (doesn’t care for
cricket or football). She said she didn’t understand the Finnish dude
either. She never noticed the subtitles on the Indian guy because she
could understand what he said!
So we talked about why I was upset by this and what unconscious bias
means & how prejudices are formed at a young age. I told her about the
nurse in the hospital after her brother was born, who told me ‘Wow,
your English is very good’. I said “I know, I’m a scouser!”
As teachers, we have a huge responsibility to not only recognise such
incidents of prejudice in our own society but to teach children to
critically analyse them – otherwise, we are failing future generations,
who will protest about the same things again and again.
If you haven’t heard the term, decolonise the curriculum, look it up.
If you think about it, the topics we teach with regards to racism are
all about people in other countries: the black struggle in America,
the German Nazis, the South African apartheid. We never focus on the
The UK, which is maybe why even some educators can’t recognise it and are
unwilling to engage. We have to engage and start to challenge the
unfairness at home first.
Anyway, in fairness both speakers who were non-native English
speakers should have had subtitles, only choosing to subtitle
the brown guy is racism – simple.