1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Wha's Like Us? (Poem) Is this 'offensive'?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by tamcdonald, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    I was approached by a colleague today and was asked to remove the poem from my classroom wall because it is offensive and racist. Thoughts please...
     
  2. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Did they state a reason for saying this?
    Without boring about the content of the poem, it is broadly viewed as ultra Nationalistic in many literary critiques.
    Why not post on the wall alongside it two third party commentaries on the meaning and impact of the poem. You could source something in accessible language to the children, one comment that it is overtly nationalistic and another comment about the social commentary or historical detail you can find in it. Then your own question "what do you think?"

    I don't think it's as much about evaluating the poem (as implied by your question) as it is about acknowledging that somebody feels uncomfortable by it. I mean, what are you going to do? Ignore them because a bunch of Tessers think that's twaddle? It's you who has to work with them, not us.
     
  3. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Ohh, it had never crossed my mind that that might be offensive or racist....?

    If I was obliged to take it down, I might just replace it with A man's a man.....
     
    tamcdonald likes this.
  4. george1963

    george1963 Occasional commenter

    Offensive is an opinion. I get offended by 'growth mindset' tips and hints around the school asI think we all have enough to do at work without 'growing.' (I probably will grow and change but believe it happens naturally, not because I've been told to enquire...). Mental health suggest we should lower our sights not heighten them.

    So offensive doesn't seem a reason to take something down.....unless its obvious someone intended to offend.

    Racist again, from the dictionary definition...is it prejudice? I guess it could be if you view shabby as a derogatory word but its stretching it. I'd be interested from a legal point of view?

    Who asked you to take it down? And do you need to is closer to the mark? ie SLT?
     
    tamcdonald likes this.
  5. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    Thank you. It was used as an introduction to Scottish Inventors as it lists the most famous inventions, from start to finish. The class enjoyed and said it was quite clever. It was used as a springboard to research inventors and write about their chosen one. The adult who complained said that it was the same as saying Jews were inferior to the Aryan race! Flabbergasted doesn't cover it. And, yes, I took it down.
     
  6. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    Thank you. SLT was as shocked as me. It was used as an introduction to Scottish Inventors as it lists the most famous inventions, from start to finish. The class enjoyed it and said it was quite clever. It was used as a springboard to research inventors and write about their chosen one. The adult who complained said that it was the same as saying Jews were inferior to the Aryan race! Flabbergasted doesn't cover it. And, yes, I took it down.
     
    george1963 likes this.
  7. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    To avoid having to repeat the context on each reply (thank you for those) :

    Thank you. It was used as an introduction to Scottish Inventors as it lists the most famous inventions, from start to finish. The class enjoyed and said it was quite clever. It was used as a springboard to research inventors and write about their chosen one. The adult who complained said that it was the same as saying Jews were inferior to the Aryan race! Flabbergasted doesn't cover it. And, yes, I took it down.
     
    george1963 likes this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I might have kept it up and added (in large print):

    This poem lauds the inventiveness of Scots through the ages. Some readers might infer that it casts people from other countries as inferior to Scots. That, to the best of my knowledge and belief, was not its remit. And, even were that the intention of the poet, nobody here would endorse such a view.

    Coz I can get on my high horse rather a lot and it would amuse me to do such a thing.
     
    Laphroig, Piranha, george1963 and 2 others like this.
  9. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I'm still a bit perplexed - are you saying someone thinks that lauding scottish inventors is racist and offensive?


    ETA - Do what GDW suggests.
     
    tamcdonald likes this.
  10. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter


    Love it! I have been in the classroom for over 20 years and have never experienced anything like it. I took it down because I would never want to cause offence and also...I have a life! Haha!
     
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  11. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter


    I am just as perplexed as you! He said, 'Some people might be offended by it and it could be seen as racist because if you replaced 'Englishman' with Jew and 'guid Scottish blood' with Aryan blood, it would be just as bad.'
     
    sparkleghirl likes this.
  12. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I'm scared to ask (in case of being thought offensive or racist) whether the person who asked it was scottish.
     
  13. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    Yes, he is Scottish and is not senior to me. WE have NEVER had any issues before.
     
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  14. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Dearie me. It actually worries me that we get a bit complacent about real racism - I mean that by tackling 'racism' of this kind we think that we're dealing with the problem. We're not, we're trivialising it while the really sinister stuff goes unnoticed.
     
    Flanks, Laphroig, Alice K and 2 others like this.
  15. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    I completely agree.
     
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'm assuming you are in Scotland, so a bit of national pride is to be applauded?

    I can see how looking at it from a different background would make one see it differently.
    An English person might be a bit miffed in a humorous way.
    If it was me I'd probably go home and pen one swapping the Scots and English parts and pop it up next to the one you have, with a large smiley face sticker!

    'Nowt as queer as folk' as they say!
     
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Remove the poem and put this up instead!

    Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 18.19.44.png
     
  18. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    Hahahaha!
     
    jarndyce likes this.
  19. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid Scottish blood which would entitle him to ask “Wha’s Like Us”.

    Hmmmmm
     
  20. tamcdonald

    tamcdonald New commenter

    I think the tone of the poem is tongue in cheek. Do you disagree? That reference was to mention the origin of transfusion (Scotland) and is closely linked to the previous lines.
     

Share This Page