Go beyond the pale, male, and stale
by Sunny Singh
The BBC needs to go beyond using ‘diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ as buzzwords. A public broadcaster, paid for by licence fee, must reflect and represent the state, and demographic make-up of the country. There are still very few stories that go beyond clichés about those of us who do not fit the narrow definitions. Even more shocking is the BBC’s inability to include experts who are not predominantly middle class white men on its panels.
We know from studies that instead of being a burden, diversity is good for business. Companies with diverse stakeholders are more adaptable, effective and profitable. If the BBC were to look across the pond, it is very evident that this also applies to broadcasting organisations. Diverse stories means increased viewership.
More importantly, a diverse management of a broadcasting corporation would mean a wider range of stories not only for the entertainment side of the BBC. As a public broadcaster, it must also help the nation analyse current events, engage with our history, and even provide possibilities for the future. A non-diverse BBC can do none of these adequately in its current make-up.
Finally, please spare the nation more spin, announcements, committees and reports on diversity. To quote Shonda Rhimes, “Diversity isn’t an effort or initiative. Don’t have summits or meetings. Just start hiring people.” It’s about time the BBC started doing the same!
Sunny Singh (@) is London-based writer, author of three novels and a non-fiction book.
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