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I S T H I S R A C I S T ????

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by justteaching, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Hi fellow professionals
    I was talking to a teacher friend of mine and she was not feeling all that well. Apparently, during a staff meeting a member of staff mimicked a chinese accent in a racist manner and in front of the DH and other teachers - i think there was 9 other teachers there. She, being the only chinese person in the room, found this extremely offensive.
    She filed a grievance to the Head and in a meeting with the Head and Deputy Head they concluded since it was <u>bellowed out without intent then that was not racist</u>. The Deputy Head even denied hearing it and he was sitting directly opposite the offending teacher during the incident.
    I find this astonishing. It's like a cover up. I find the racist ululation to be completely unprofessional and racist. It is racist whether my chinese teaching colleague was there or not and the compelte lack of action by the deputy head and the other teachers just astounds me. No one said anything, in fact she said they joined in the laughter.
    So was the remark racist or are the SLT correct and thus reinforcing and condoning her actions and effectively gave this "racist teacher" a get out of jail card and in my opinion she can mimick all the racist languages she wants and not suffer any consequences.
    Apart from going down the NUT route, anyone suggest other possible resolutions. I mean the SLT have basically deemed the issue closed.

    I would like to hear your views and thoughts regarding this.
     
  2. Hi fellow professionals
    I was talking to a teacher friend of mine and she was not feeling all that well. Apparently, during a staff meeting a member of staff mimicked a chinese accent in a racist manner and in front of the DH and other teachers - i think there was 9 other teachers there. She, being the only chinese person in the room, found this extremely offensive.
    She filed a grievance to the Head and in a meeting with the Head and Deputy Head they concluded since it was <u>bellowed out without intent then that was not racist</u>. The Deputy Head even denied hearing it and he was sitting directly opposite the offending teacher during the incident.
    I find this astonishing. It's like a cover up. I find the racist ululation to be completely unprofessional and racist. It is racist whether my chinese teaching colleague was there or not and the compelte lack of action by the deputy head and the other teachers just astounds me. No one said anything, in fact she said they joined in the laughter.
    So was the remark racist or are the SLT correct and thus reinforcing and condoning her actions and effectively gave this "racist teacher" a get out of jail card and in my opinion she can mimick all the racist languages she wants and not suffer any consequences.
    Apart from going down the NUT route, anyone suggest other possible resolutions. I mean the SLT have basically deemed the issue closed.

    I would like to hear your views and thoughts regarding this.
     
  3. MacPhearson Report said that anything that someone percieves as racist is racist. It;s a difficult definition to work with in practice, but that's the guidance to supplement the law. Intent has nothing to do with it. So, yes it is.
    I believe , in this case,it is anyway and your friend is owed an apology.
     
  4. Yes it's racist.
    But only the people involved can say if was intended to humiliate your friend personally, or was the random unpleasantness masked as humour that often passes for banter. Being foreign has always provided the masses in this country with something to poke fun at along with religion, sexuality and intelligence.
    BUT - shoot me down - I think one has to develop a thicker skin and work with the issue rather than relying immediately on authority to deal with it. The school has decided it wasn't meant to hurt. Your friend needs a talk with the perpetrator and maybe ask him how much he would like to be called a smelly long-nose / round-eyed ghost so others could laugh at him. But having gone the official route, he will have an excuse to avoid constructive dialogue.
    My standard response to the Irish 'jokes' that seem to have been regarded as compulsory by staffroom colleagues over the years: 'what's black and blue and floats down the Liffey? - An englishman who tells too many Irish jokes'. And smile. And watch the penny drop. Because if the penny doesn't drop at a personal level, the issue never goes away, and using the disciplinary system as a first step might only serve to alienate colleagues who might be misguided but not malicious.

     
    missec likes this.
  5. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    I think it is racist, but probably not aimed directly at your friend therefore not something to get in touch with unions about. If I were the Head, I'd expect the teacher in question to apologise to the Chinese teacher about (or even to all of the staff that were in the meeting) but then leave it as that.
    I don't think anyone would do themselves any favours by pushing something like this down the disciplinary route unless it was repeated.
     
  6. It is absolutely racist. I can't believe that it was dismissed as not racist. I feel very angry about this being allowed to happen in a school as a Chinese person myself. Completely unacceptable.[​IMG]
     
  7. My standard response to the Irish 'jokes' that seem to have been regarded as compulsory by staffroom colleagues over the years: 'what's black and blue and floats down the Liffey? - An englishman who tells too many Irish jokes'.
    oldgreywolf- Love your comeback! Fab!
     
  8. I think it is probably racist, but if it really was not meant to cause offense, then it's what another poster said: the Chinese person in question needs to grow a thicker skin. There are also other ways to "get back". Once I was ridiculed in a staffroom (I'm an immigrant). It wasn't in a meeting, just lunchtime, which allowed me to get out my mobile phone, call a family member and relate the story in my native language, while casting meaningful glances to the person who ridiculed me. I kept smiling and occasionally laughing, seemingly having a great time discussing the occurrance in a language no one understood. The person who offended me got redder and redder in the face, finally she up and left. [​IMG]
    Also if anyone has seen "Fly with me" by Little Britain lately: how do you think they have got away with "Precious" or "Mr. Baba" or the bearded Asian guy? Obviously because it's not intended to offend anyone, even though it's quite strong.
     
  9. Don't be silly Little Britain is racist full stop fully backed by the BBC. When was the last time you see an Oriental front the newsdesk or be part of their programming. They go out of their way in terms of human and financial resources to find all these coloured people for their programs EXCEPT Orientals. Not to mention BBC being funded by tax payers the government is also compicit in this.
    I'm sure I read the "NEW" wasfrom now producing programs that did not offend any race,sex etc etc. DO YOU REMEMBER reading that in The Guardian? or whatever paper you read.

    As always the case what's printed and what's done are two separate entities.
    All you need to do is type in BBC and Racist in a search engine (or try the search on their website) and you'll get your evidence.

    I hope she takes the NUT route and go all the way. It is clear that SLT are in denial of what is racist and what is not. Maybe they should google key words into google to find the right legal definition as stipulated in Actos Parliament.
     
  10. ...of course its racist. I mean what else can it be? And, moreover, if SMT have whitewashed the matter as something and nothing then they are complicit in the act by not taking correct action agianst the perpetrator.
     
  11. This to me seems to be based on a personal judgement of what constitutes racism. In this case, SLT have said it's not racist. I agree with a previous poster that if it causes offence (even if it wasn't intended to) then it is an act of racism.
    To cite an example of an "-ism" in the popular media recently - the whole Andy Gray / Richard Keys "sexism in football" comments towards assistant ref Sian Massey - what they said was not intended to be a personal comment towards Sian, but echoed the voice of many who may be thinking the same thing. By saying it out loud they opened themselves up to public scrutiny and have been disciplined as a result. Both realise the comments were not fair and have apologised. We know sexism exists. But that doesn't mean we should condone it.
    In the case of the OP, the colleague who mimicked the Chinese person must also be made to realise that what they did was unacceptable. Some may think it was funny. Some may have laughed to be polite. Others may have buried their heads in the sand. But it should not be condoned. By taking no action, SLT are conding this behaviour. If it were a child that did this, would they have let them "get away with it"?
     
  12. This is such a stupid comment. If it was intentional or unintentional - it is still racist. It is wrong and completely out of order. The person who made this racist comment should apologise to the Chinese person. It is never acceptable to be racist.
     
  13. Is this going down a route similar to playground squabbles and taunts being reported to racial equality officers?
    I can't judge whether this person deliberately intended to upset a colleague. But I still think an equally robust 'oi baldy, fink yer funny?' might have got him on side more effectively than an official complaint.
     
  14. I'm not saying it should be complained about officially - not my place to make that decision - but that by doing nothing, it condones the behaviour.
    To be honest, if I were on the receiving end, I'd probably have made a comment (maybe sarcastically) at the time to show the mimicker that I didn't feel it's appropriate.
    Now it's passed... I don't know. Me personally, I'd probably leave it so as not to rock the boat further; but I'd be wary for a repeat performance at which time I'd admonish the small-minded colleague.
     
  15. It is disgusting behaviour and I find some of the 'grow thicker skin' comments even worse. How about suggesting that the prepretrators 'grow some common sense, self awareness and compassion'.
    Why would a member of staff need to mimic an accent, in front of other staff, in school?Why would a member of staff need to talk about much they like big breasts, in front of other staff, in school?
    Intention (to cause offence) is irrelevant.
     
  16. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    Orwell's thoughtcrimes are becoming a reality. Also, did the offended person pull up said comment at the time? No - they snuck about behind their back and went told another teacher. I have children in my class like this. Funny? No. Rude? Yes. About a race? Yes. Racist? No.
     

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