Widening Ethnic Diversity in the News Media WorkforceWidening Ethnic Diversity in the News Media Workforce

January 17th, 2011

This is the title of a day at City University, London. Which is free!!

Still places, so sign up now. Here is the link.


I shall be there, because that was one of my major objectives, when I went to City U in 1979, to join a journalism training course predominantly for white Brits, who wanted to learn at the altar of very provincial regional journalism.

At that time, the BBC had a few blacks, amongst thousands. The Guardian, Britain’s only serious left of centre broadsheet, had two non-white employees, one an upper middle class Indian.

That was only 31 years ago, and non-whites are still disadvantaged in our society. But hundreds can now make it.

Today’s event should recognise that.

While at the same time addressing the fact, that the Government and the media is dominated by a majority who were educated at Oxford or Cambridge, not many of whom are non-white.

I was passionately in favour of diversity as soon as I got to university, not because of some moral imperatives, but from preference.

The Wolverhampton in which I grew up had no non-whites, apart from Leon, who was the Chinese laundry.

White was not sexy in the school playground. What was sexy was the b brown get by a healthy tan.

Whereas most folks from Wolverhampton were pasty, unhealthy white. It was called the Black Country, because of all the unhealthy industrial smoke. And the brown members of my class, were those very small rich minority, who were able to get their tans on holidays most could not afford.

The first blacks I met were when I went to Birmingham University in 1951. They were mostly the sons of chiefs, and far better educated than me. And used to being rulers, not slaves.

Later Enoch Powell, who had spent time in Australia, then operating the White Australia policy, made his name, by turning Wolverhampton, against the West Indian immigrants.

With a lot of help from the media of the time. (Not Murdoch, but operating on the same news priorities.)

We should remember this today.

Because, although it is still true that non-whites in Britain are at a disadvantage, we should not ignore the plain fact, that there are powerful forces in Britain and the US, which want to exploit the fears of the white working class.

Just as Enoch Powell did.

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