Since Barack Obama became the first African American to become the President-elect, the BBC has been on a shameful mission to try and humiliate members of the black community. First, it started its insane antics, by inviting musician Dizee Rascal to air his views on the US election on last week’s Newsnight; and more recently, its decision to invite Lindi Mngaza onto Watchdog on Monday night in the hope of publicly humiliating her by describing her new business as a ‘pyramid selling scheme’ in their attempt to make her look like a criminal. The absurdity of this decision only served to make the BBC look bad and not the Black community. In a week of celebration and hope, the BBC hoped that by bringing Dizee Rascal onto Newsnight, it would prove how absurd the notion of having a Black Prime Minister would be. This was quite evident by their choice of interviewee and the fact that the presenter laughed when he asked ‘Mr Rascal’ why he hadn’t run for office.

On the other side of the pond, children all across America were galvanised by the possibility of unity and change, yet all the BBC did was prove that cynicism, and underlying racism still exists. Their intention was to prove the absurdity of the prospect of a Black Prime Minister and to make black boys appear dumb. If John McCain had won, would the BBC have invited Jade Goody or Pete Doherty to air their views on the matter? I think you’ll find the answer is no. I do not blame Dizee Rascal, after all he’s an MC not a politician. The BBC could have invited a whole host of educated Black people to speak on the matter but instead opted for a comical character to manipulate and exploit.

Although I do not agree with Dizee Rascal’s comment that Hip Hop helped Barack Obama win, I do agree with the phrase from Hip Hop artist, Nas: Read more, learn more, and change the globe. Perhaps the BBC should take inspiration from such lyrics and learn to be less ignorant.

Lordine Appiah

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3 Comments

  1. November 18, 2008 at 18:08 — Reply

    While it was an interesting (bizarre) decision of the BBC to invite Dizzee Rascal onto Newsnight, I assumed he was meant to represent the ‘youth culture’ from whom Obama has managed to inspire interest and motivation. Throughout the election campaigns the BBC came across as pro-Obama, and I see no reason as to why they would be against the concept of a black Prime Minister.

  2. Esther
    November 20, 2008 at 13:33 — Reply

    Surely it was Paxman who came across as comic with his ‘Mr Rascal’ comment, I don’t think it was derogatory, just a middle aged presenter showing his age. As for Watchdog – the point of the programme is to investigate the business practices of companies. This does not equate to public humiliation, and if it does, it’s not personal, it’s about uncovering unfair business practices. If the BBC suspected, or had information about, a possible pyramid scheme, but did not broadcast a feature on it because one of the people involved was black, surely this would be a much more worrying example of racism? You seem to be looking for things to get offended about.

  3. Vanessa Anne Esi Brown
    November 26, 2008 at 18:15 — Reply

    Interesting article; I can’t comment as I haven’t watched much BBC programmes since coming to Uni. However, it would be nice to have more academic black speakers or guests on TV in general instead of focusing on black sports or music personalities.

    Vanessa.

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