England’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) takes the BBC to task for a recent episode of its radio show World Have Your Say where the host asked call-in show listeners, “Is there a problem with young black men?”
This follows a recent Newsnight television program where historian David Starkey claimed “whites have become blacks” when discussing England’s riots.
In an open letter, Gregory H. Lee, Jr, the NABJ President, writes:
Even more disturbing, the Newsnight presenter did not challenge that bizarre assertion - on a program that regularly holds people accountable for their views. By allowing the comment to go unchallenged, was the BBC agreeing with the inference that becoming black is monolithically synonymous with being violent?…
…Is this just a case of shocking incompetence or racism — as others have said? Why have black people in Britain not been afforded the same respect given to others? Why is the assumption that if something is negative pertaining to black people it is deemed acceptable by the BBC? What happened to the BBC’s duty to provide accurate and balanced reporting? This raises the question of whether the BBC’s senior editorial ranks need better racial and philosophical diversity to avoid being blind to such insensitive incidents.