Black and forth: TV’s ‘flawed’ diversity plans

Just hours after Channel 4 revealed its ‘20% by 2020’ diversity plans, Channel 5‘s Celebrity Big Brother threw out Ex-Coronation Street actor Ken Morley for repeatedly using racist and sexist language.

What does this mean? We’ll probably be dancing two steps forward to equality, and one step back, all the way to 2020.

Hats off to the ‘Born Risky’ broadcaster for publishing its diversity guidelines. But, as I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking:

A) I’d be mortified if I was offered a job for simply being a BAME female – and I hope this has never happened
B) I’d be mortified if I walked into the job as a BAME female to realise I was the token ‘tick in the box’
C) This may be just semantics, but the guidelines would be so much sweeter if C4 aimed for ‘at least 20%’ – otherwise it suggests that 80% of white, male, straight men is the lowest possible percentage it’ll stretch to
D) Why does this approach need ‘hard cash’ (according to C4’s head of diversity Oona King) to succeed? I’d do a top job at half the price and would recruit fairly for free

But, throwing money at it is a quick fix. Until people stop seeing ‘colour’, and simply see individuals, these ideals will remain the same – targets.

After all, the PR industry’s own initiative failed and the BBC isn’t doing much better. It seems to think that relocating part of its programming to the Salford site will solve the issue by instantly giving it a ‘unique opportunity to diversify its workforce’.

I’ve never been one to push for positive discrimination, but the industry seems convinced it’s the only way.

It’s just a real shame that if I was in the US, I could tell my GS (godson to you) that he could be anything he wants to be when he grows up – including the President. In the UK, I can say that in a company of five people, you might be in with a chance – providing no one else from a diverse background works there. Not very inspirational, is it?

Looks like Prime Time has a lot of work to do – changing the world with equality pioneer Lenny Henry at our side – before the GS gets his first job!

What do you make of it all?

Ken Morley
Actor Ken Morley was booted off Celebrity Big Brother for racist language.

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