Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The BBC recently published a video of white people discussing old stereotypes about their black peers. The reaction was… not great.
According to the American Red Cross, only a little over half of Americans — 56% — can perform the five core swimming skills. However, across the pond in the U.K., the BBC recently made a bold statement questioning why black people as a race can’t swim.
Their Twitter account released a video in which they asked young people to debate stereotypes like whether “African Americans can’t or won’t swim.” During this video some of the respondents brought up how they were amused at the fact that a few decades ago America had segregated beaches and pools that resulted in lost opportunities for many black Americans. Then there’s this 2010 BBC article with the headline, “Why Don’t Black Americans Swim?”
Not only that, but the BBC released a nationwide video asking respondents the same sort of question. This time, it was about fried chicken. Young people were asked whether “it was a myth or reality that black people like fried chicken more than others.”
According to the Independent, respondents were primarily white and they simply fed into the negative stereotype. A white man reportedly said, “Loads of black people I know love chicken… There’s a stereotype but it’s true.” A white girl explained that she knows a few black girls who eat fried chicken because “apparently it makes your bum bigger.”
People quickly turned to social media to call out the broadcaster for publishing racially insensitive content that is deeply offensive.
— Juno Dawson (@junodawson) November 1, 2016
One woman tweeted to the BBC “you ought to be ashamed.” Another, “This is repulsive.BBC Newsbeat exploiting racist and dehumanising anti-Black stereotypes to attract clicks.”
It also didn’t go unnoticed that the BBC apparently changed the title of their original post from “Is It True That All Black People Like Chicken” to “Black People and Fried Chicken- Is There Any Truth In It?”
One enraged viewer tweeted “Are you going to apologize for your previous headlines? Why treat a racist stereotype like some kind of reasonable discussion point?”
In response, BBC spokespeople defended the video saying that it is not offensive to discuss stereotypes, even if it is only white people doing the discussing.