Black Staff Claim BBC ‘Institutionally Racist’, Like Working on ‘Plantation’

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Speaking to the left-liberal online news outlet The Huffington Post, dozens of current and former black employees of the BBC complained of a hostile work environment and “covert racism” within the organisation — which is seen as “woke” and disproportionately diverse and by most right-leaning Britons.

“Of course there is an issue with systemic racism in the BBC; look at how many black staff are in leadership roles, how many black producers there are, how many shows that have a BAME perspective yet don’t have BAME producers,” an anonymous source told HuffPost UK.

“Even when you’re in a senior role with the BBC, as a black person, you’re not trusted with your own judgement. You’re ‘helicopter checked’ by white managers more often than not, who have final say over how stories are told,” the source alleged.

Another source, identified only as “M”, claimed that BBC newsrooms are unwelcoming environments for black people, saying: “You see the system of racism as soon as you enter the newsroom.”

“I think the most horrendous form of racism is covert, because you can’t put a finger on it. You can’t say ‘she called me the N-word,’ he said ‘you don’t belong here,’ or ‘she said I’m not having the job because there’s no space for black people in the role.’ It’s the most hurtful kind of bigotry because you know you’re being overlooked, passed over, left out because of the colour of your skin,” the source claimed.

“Management equate the colour of your skin to having low intelligence,” M concluded.

The sources claimed that while so-called BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) employees make up some 15.2 per cent of all staff members — more than their share of Britain’s general population, according to the last census — institutional barriers such as nepotism and racism prevent them from climbing the ranks to upper management.

“If people go to work and apply for roles and don’t get it – one of us might not be very good, 10 of us might not be very good, but when you see scores of people applying for promotions and not getting through, you’ve got to ask questions. Why is that happening?” Source C questioned.

Black journalists for BBC Africa also accused the left-leaning broadcaster of “producing propaganda” when it comes to stories about Africa, while claiming that reporters for the bureau are treated like second-class journalists.

“What we’re doing at BBC Africa is producing propaganda – a colonial view of how white people see the continent. Working here is like being on a plantation,” Source L alleged.

“The BBC is institutionally racist. The institution was never built for us but we were allowed to come in. There’s only a small amount of space we’re allowed to manoeuvre through while saying ‘thank you’, not asking for much. We’re expected to be happy just having a job and being in that space,” the source added.

In response to the report, a spokesman for the BBC said: “The BBC goes further than any other broadcaster by publishing diversity data annually, including for leadership positions. We have already achieved our 2020 target on 15 per cent Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff across our workforce. We know there is more work to do on improving diversity at leadership levels across the BBC and we are fully committed to achieving this.”

The spokesman went on to say that the BBC has set a new quota of 20 per cent “diverse off-air talent” across all network commissions by April 2021. The BBC will also devote GBP100 million of its operating budget — which is funded by the British public — over the next three years towards producing “diverse and inclusive content”.

“The BBC is not impartial on racism and this is fully consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines. In recent weeks we have announced a four-point plan to improve our approach on the use of racially insulting language. We will continue to listen and learn,” the BBC pronounced.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka