Casual Racism from the BBC

Yesterday I came across a bizarre interactive webpage on the BBC’s world service website which, I think, is there to help foreigners harangue Americans about their gun laws. It starts by allowing you to pick your character:

1. Charlene, a rootin’ tootin’ gun lovin’ redneck who doesn’t like other people very much.

2. Akinjide, a Nigerian on holiday from Lagos.

Why the BBC feels the need to help Nigerians deal with Americans they encounter on a bus to Phoenix using money taxed from the owners of televisions in Britain I don’t know, but here we are. Now I don’t know what bus this scenario is supposed to take place on, but from the description my guess would be it’s a Greyhound. Can you take guns on a Greyhound? No. So we’re already in fairyland, and it doesn’t get much better. I’ll post a few of the remarks each character is supposed to be saying:

I hardly think someone from Lagos is going to argue the prevalence of legally-held guns is a requirement for a country to suffer serious levels of violent crime. You’d also not likely find a Nigerian who doesn’t appreciate guns are useful when it comes to protecting yourself, your family, and your property – particularly in a place where violent criminals have easy access to them. Besides, private gun ownership is not prohibited in Nigeria.

It is highly likely that any Nigerian travelling on a bus to Phoenix will know someone back home who has had their home invaded by armed intruders, and probably know some who’ve been shot dead. Even moderately wealthy Nigerians are terrified of armed thugs murdering them during a robbery, hence they erect high, glass-topped walls around their houses with sturdy gates and often lived in secure compounds with armed guards. Nigerians might find American gun laws daft, but few would dismiss the danger home invasions represent.

Sorry, who is supposed to be speaking here? A Nigerian from Lagos or some woke British paleface who reads The Guardian? Did the person who wrote this actually know any Nigerians?

This is probably how the BBC thinks gun-carrying southerners speak to people, particularly black men who sit beside them on the bus. I suspect the author is basing the character on people he or she met in New York – where they do speak to each other like this – rather than anyone in Texas or Arizona where they’re unfailingly polite (in part because so many of them are carrying guns).

The BBC seems content to portray Africans as wholly ignorant on the subject of American gun laws. As Ali G would say, isn’t that a bit racist?

Of course, Nigerians are generally conservative, devoutly religious, and know all too well that armed government employees can be as much a source of death and mayhem as any run-of-the-mill criminal. But not the Nigerian featured here, oh no:

Somebody from Lagos wept as he watched news footage of people talking about a gun massacre in the US after the event? Are we sure this guy is from Lagos?

Naturally, this is presented as a scenario which is abhorrent to Akinjide, who has presumably forgotten there are armed guards everywhere in Nigeria.

Now this webpage isn’t completely useless, offering as it does a useful insight into how staff at the BBC view Americans and Nigerians, but as advice on how to approach the subject of gun control in the US it’s more likely to get you killed as enlighten you. I have travelled on an overnight bus to Phoenix and it was full of people who looked as though they were on their way to rob a bank. The two guys in front of me were both felons, and had a lively conversation over whether it’s better to be imprisoned in Virginia – where a man on horseback with a rifle guards you as you pick up trash from the side of the road – or Arkansas where it’s a man on foot with a shotgun. At the back was a US Marine who was half-insane and spent several hours hurling foul-mouthed abuse at his girlfriend down the phone. Anyone who started acting like this Akinjide in the story would probably be killed by someone’s bare hands. Thankfully most Nigerians, the ones the BBC doesn’t know about, are sensible enough to keep the topic of conversation to beer, women, and football.

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43 thoughts on “Casual Racism from the BBC

  1. My sister lived in Lagos for a few years. Well, a compound they rarely left, in practice.

    The senior executives didn’t have “armed bodyguards”, they had ex-Israeli special forces. I wouldn’t fancy myself against one of them if I had a gun and they didn’t. A local bodyguard would not inspire confidence.

    And it is the delta and south that are really dangerous, not Lagos.

    I wonder what the BBC’s idea on dealing with Boko Haram is? Presumably it doesn’t involve guns.

  2. A local bodyguard would not inspire confidence.

    No, they’re good enough to keep the petty criminals and area boys at bay, but wouldn’t be much use against anyone serious.

    And it is the delta and south that are really dangerous, not Lagos.

    The north too, with Boko Haram. But while Lagos didn’t have the political violence there was an abundance of general criminality, much of which could turn nasty. I didn’t stick to the compound, but I bloody well stuck to the safe areas.

  3. I’ve got a mate in Nigeria now, importing salt. I check in on him on skype every couple of months or so to make sure he’s still alive. I’m worried he’s going to end up “disappeared” at some point.

  4. It is pretty ghastly stuff just nakedly political. I normally try and remain fairly middle ground but this kind of thing does make me learn towards and Ecksian solution…

  5. So the BBC website writers completely fail the ideological Turing test then…

    Quelle surprise…

  6. Once had a conversation with a customer, who was ex-Army, who had been on a business trip to Nigeria to inspect some plant for insurance purposes. His group were assigned local troops as a security detail, and those of the group who were ex-forces had a wee discussion about how many rounds they’d feel comfortable putting through the local guys’ weapons. The numbers were not high.

    Anyway; on the “guns protect us from a tyrannical government” thing; this always gets painted as the people versus the Feds, or a bunch of rednecks versus the US Army or Marines. Which is just silly.

    So that bit of artistic license is odd, since the Federal government isn’t the only one in the US; there’s State government, municipal government, and a whole slew of elected officials, whose actions are a lot closer to the people than the Feds.

    So that tyranny line seems to make a lot more sense if gun rights are intended to keep those buggers honest.

  7. Anyway; on the “guns protect us from a tyrannical government” thing; this always gets painted as the people versus the Feds, or a bunch of rednecks versus the US Army or Marines. Which is just silly.

    It is silly: it’s not that an armed populace could resist a hostile government which deployed the army, it’s that such a government would have to deploy the army to suppress the populace, instead of a gaggle of overweight, ill-disciplined, trigger-happy police.

  8. What a freaking bizarre effort. This is in the BBC’s scope of activities? And to do it that badly, too?

  9. This is in the BBC’s scope of activities?

    I sometimes think it would be easier to list those things which are not.

  10. The BBC, as they say, is not fit for purpose.

    If Al-Beeb didn’t get supported by a mandatory tax backed by the threat of jail then people would desert it in droves. Perhaps they already do, as most of its output is feeble-minded.

    (I do wonder incidentally if the Beeb toyed with the idea of the Nigerian being a moderate Muslim to argue the point of banning weapons. Perhaps in next year’s version… Also, Mr Tim, can you tell us which *was* better, Arkansas or Virginia? For future reference, you understand)

  11. “If Al-Beeb didn’t get supported by a mandatory tax backed by the threat of jail then people would desert it in droves. Perhaps they already do, as most of its output is feeble-minded.”

    The paying of the licence fee is more of a voluntary act these days, and entirely legally too. I haven’t paid it for nearly a decade now, I still watch just as much ‘TV’ as I used to, just in a different way – everything is done online via catchup websites (not iPlayer anymore, as that now requires a licence, but you can find all the BBCs programs on other sites anyway…….). People are just still in the ‘I must watch Coronation Street at 7:30pm on a Monday’ (or whenever its broadcast) mindset, when they could watch it whenever they liked, and not pay the BBC for the privilege. As the internet generation becomes the majority I’d say the BBC licence fee is a dead duck.

  12. I saw many tweets last week lamenting that Test Match Special had lost the rights to broadcast radio coverage of England’s future tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies. They followed the standard pattern – behemoth private station beats BBC which cannot compete with them; the BBC should be allowed to get rights for a fraction of the price, etc.

    Given that these rights are sold by the respective country cricket boards themselves it seemed a tiny bit colonialist to insist they sold at a discount to a foreign (white) broadcaster.

    Anyway, my main point of contention with them all was that the BBC, with a £5 billion turnover, simply chooses to spend the money on other things. It wastes it, ten thousand different ways, on utter political internationalist garbage like this.

  13. Charlene – I sure am happy and feel a lot safer that you ain’t packin

    Akinjide – Why dat so?

    Charlene – As FBI statistics show, blacks murder at about six times the rate that whites do. Plus 20% of black killers, kill 80% of the whites.

  14. As the inhabitant of a country that went from easy legal access to guns to exceedingly difficult, I no longer read about the deaths and maimings of burglars, rapists and hijackers, just of the increase in burglary, rape, hijacking and murder. I think I could work up a nice head of steam on a long bus journey, graying the hair of a BBC journalist with anecdotes.

  15. Also, Mr Tim, can you tell us which *was* better, Arkansas or Virginia?

    Alas, I don’t remember, but I do remember what they looked like. One was a short mixed-race guy (who was jailed in Arkansas) and the other a big black guy (Virginia). The latter was called Darrell and we struck up a conversation at some point. He’d been a US Marine in the Gulf War and reckoned he could become a millionaire within a year if only dog fighting was legalised in the USA.

  16. As the internet generation becomes the majority I’d say the BBC licence fee is a dead duck.

    Which is why internet taxes are frequently mooted.

  17. I strongly suspect the point of the piece is to program *us* into the ‘right’ way to think about the issues involved.

  18. I strongly suspect the point of the piece is to program *us* into the ‘right’ way to think about the issues involved.

    Yes, and having just about enough self-awareness to understand how bad it would look to have a middle-class Brit doing the lecturing, they invented a woke African instead.

  19. “Yes, and having just about enough self-awareness to understand how bad it would look to have a middle-class Brit doing the lecturing, they invented a woke African instead.”

    Quite – those letters from Grauniad readers to voters in the US didn’t work in the 2004 election – it’s thought they tipped the balance towards Bush in Ohio, I believe. I guess they’ve (lefty types) learned – in their cack-handed way – from that! Foreign peoples trying to influence votes in another country’s electorate… whodathunkit?!

  20. The drawings are great, the Nigerian guy has that simpering white liberal frown that shows how much he cares.

  21. Canada is experiencing minor crisis due to thousands of illegal immigrants in America crossing over border into Quebec and claiming asylum. Latest wave of people were mainly Nigerians living in America after their tourist visas expired and they take taxi to border and then just walk across to Quebec. Now, Quebecoise are probably most xenophobic group in all North America and they are very strict about who they let in to their province. Asylum seekers will eventually be deported but the process takes a year or two and costs Canadian govt quite a lot of money.

  22. Quebecoise are probably most xenophobic group in all North America and they are very strict about who they let in to their province.

    Funnily enough, I had a Quebecoise calling me an imperialist swine on Twitter the other day and blaming me for eradicating the native Americans.

  23. He might have a point; how many native Americans are there in Annecy?

    It’s whiter than a Dulux advert, but right now I’m in Paris. Which is, erm, duskier.

  24. This piece of BBC ordure isn’t “interactive” enough to have anywhere to comment.

    The BBC needs an advice website to help all its staff to be thrown out of work in a 24 hour’s-to-oblivion permanent shutdown. The techs/tea ladies get their payoffs. The womiccumalobus boss class, managers, luvvies etc go on standard Ecks terms–zero compensation and pensions confiscated. The “advice” screen would consist only of one of a number of possible pithy epithets.

    That should give the twats more to worry about than other countries laws which are fuck all to do with the BBC in the first place.

    Tim Newman–the “military” would have to use chemical weapons on a mass scale to have a chance against America’s gun owners.

  25. “Funnily enough, I had a Quebecoise calling me an imperialist swine on Twitter the other day …”

    Sounds like good example for why I refuse to join twitter. And most francophones do seem to have chip on shoulder when topic is anglos.

  26. Sounds like good example for why I refuse to join twitter. And most francophones do seem to have chip on shoulder when topic is anglos.

    And it massively discombobulates them when said anglos address them in French 😉

  27. And most francophones do seem to have chip on shoulder when topic is anglos.

    I find the French generally okay. The Irish, on the other hand…shit, I didn’t realise how many of them are fully-fledged tankies advancing every 6th form Marxist woke cause there is.

  28. I should have been more specific, I meant francos in Quebec. They ran the anglos out of their province during the 1960s 1970s and are now dependent on billions of dollars transferred annually from rest of country via federal government.

  29. Now this webpage isn’t completely useless

    Disagree. I already knew the BBC was a bunch of cunts.

  30. Suppose Poland were to start lecturing the UK on why Muslim immigration is a stupid idea, the BBC would go crazy.

  31. ” I’m in Paris. Which is, erm, duskier.”

    So, how long do you think it will take you to sort it out?

  32. Gun Owner: “I don’t want my government to have that kind of expansive power.”

    Woke African: “Hmm, an interesting point that deserves addressing.”

    …(thinks for several minutes)…

    Woke African: “After carefully considering your concerns I’ve come to the reasoned conclusion that WAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! WAAAAAAAA!!! WAAAAAAAAA!!!”

    Gun Owner: “Sir, are you OK? Are you having a seizure?”

    Woke African: (through sobs) “I saw a news story about Parkland and tears are flooding my frontal cortex!!”

    Gun Owner: “Eh. Makes more sense than the BBC’s answer at least.”

  33. Wildly O/T, whilst I remember, and you probably know this already;

    This post http://www.desertsun.co.uk/blog/7232/ has an inbound link from the boy Dillow.

    I thought that was interesting, at least.

    Tho’ it’s probably easily explained by Marxist power relations or summat.

  34. (H)e could become a millionaire within a year if only dog fighting was legalised in the USA.

    That was a laugh out loud moment. Who says entrepreneurship isn’t dead?

  35. The senior executives didn’t have “armed bodyguards”, they had ex-Israeli special forces. I wouldn’t fancy myself against one of them…

    Very, wise, Chester.

  36. “It is silly: it’s not that an armed populace could resist a hostile government which deployed the army,…”
    The Taliban have been holding off the US Army for about sixteen years now, and they don’t have many heavy weapons, just AK-47, AR-15 types.

  37. “The Taliban have been holding off the US Army for about sixteen years now”

    True, but – and I am open to be contradicted on this – I suspect that the US Army is still thinking about human rights, proportionality etc; it still cares, to some limited degree, about hearts’n’minds. By the time any layer of Government turns its army against its own people, it will long since have stopped worrying about any of that.

  38. True, but – and I am open to be contradicted on this – I suspect that the US Army is still thinking about human rights, proportionality etc; it still cares, to some limited degree, about hearts’n’minds. By the time any layer of Government turns its army against its own people, it will long since have stopped worrying about any of that.

    FWIW, I’ve heard from US military people (or at least people who claimed to be in the US military) that the American army rules of engagement are actually more restrictive than those American SWAT teams are expected to follow.

  39. “I’ve heard from US military people (or at least people who claimed to be in the US military) that the American army rules of engagement are actually more restrictive than those American SWAT teams are expected to follow.”

    Given the US police seem to shoot civilians if they so much as look at them funny, I would be surprised if it was anything other than as you describe.

    Which incidentally shows exactly how much care the US has for its own citizens vs those of foreign countries – foreigners have governments of their own who may cut up rough if the US State kills them, US citizens have no-one else to protect them from their own government…….

  40. This post http://www.desertsun.co.uk/blog/7232/ has an inbound link from the boy Dillow.

    Yeah, I saw that. We do agree on some things, e.g. our deep skepticism of large corporations and the notion that private companies must be run better than government departments because, in theory, they face commercial pressures. We also both like bluegrass.

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