Three Little Pigs 'too offensive'
Added: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Linda Ward Selbie for the link.
A story based on the Three Little Pigs has been turned down from a government agency's annual awards because the subject matter could offend Muslims.
The digital book, re-telling the classic fairy tale, was rejected by judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".
Becta, the government's educational technology agency, is a leading partner in the annual schools award.
The judges also attacked Three Little Cowboy Builders for offending builders.
The book's creative director, Anne Curtis, said that the idea that including pigs in a story could be interpreted as racism was "like a slap in the face".
The CD-Rom digital version of the traditional story of the three little pigs, called Three Little Cowboy Builders, is aimed at primary school children.
But judges at this year's Bett Award said that they had "concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues".
The Three Little Cowboy Builders has already been a prize winner at the recent Education Resource Award - but its Newcastle-based publishers, Shoo-fly were turned down by the Bett Award panel, run the government's technology agency.
The feedback from the judges explaining why they had rejected the CD-Rom highlighted that they "could not recommend this product to the Muslim community".
They also warned that the story might "alienate parts of the workforce (building trade)".
The judges criticised the stereotyping in the story of the unfortunate pigs: "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?"
Ms Curtis said that rather than preventing the spread of racism, such an attitude was likely to inflame ill-feeling. As another example, she says would that mean that secondary schools could not teach Animal Farm because it features pigs?
Her company is committed to an ethical approach to business and its products promote a message of mutual respect, she says - and banning such traditional stories will "close minds rather than open them".
Becta, the government funded agency responsible for technology in schools and colleges, says that it is standing by the judges' verdict.
"Becta with its partners is responsible for the judging criteria against which the 70 independent judges, mostly practising teachers, comment. All the partners stick by the judging criteria," said a Becta spokesman.
The reason that this product was not shortlisted was because "it failed to reach the required standard across a number of criteria", said the spokesman.
Becta runs the awards with the Besa trade association and show organisers, Emap Education.
Merlin John, author of an educational technology website which highlighted the story, warns that such rulings can undermine the credibility of the awards.
"When benchmarks are undermined by pedestrian and pedantic tick lists, and by inflexible, unhelpful processes, it can tarnish the achievements of even the most worthy winners.
"It's time for a rethink, and for Becta to listen to the criticisms that have been ignored for a number of years," said Mr John.
- - Maryam Namazie Comments
Letter to Trevor Phillips, Chair of Equality and Human Rights Commission
- - We The People Comments
Enforce federal 501(c)(3) regulations by removing the tax-exempt status from churches that engage in political activity.
Brendan O'Neill - The Telegraph Comments
The rebranding of circumcision as 'child abuse' echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe
- - MedicalXpress Comments
German court rules religious circumcision on boys an assault
Katherine Stewart - The Guardian Comments
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops in session in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month. Photograph: Tami Chappell/Reuters
Jimmy Wales - Change.org & The... Comments
.@ukhomeoffice: Stop the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer to the USA #SaveRichard
MORE BY BBC
BBC - BBC News - Scotland 97 Comments
"Governments do not have the authority to say what marriage is or to change its nature or to decree that people of the same sex can marry."
BBC - BBC News Science & Environment 45 Comments
Physicists have confirmed the ultimate speed limit for the packets of light called photons - making time travel even less likely than thought.
BBC - BBC News website 54 Comments
"The fact that I have had thousands of messages from around the world speaks for itself about the impact and the way people feel," he said.
BBC - BBC News website 154 Comments
A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.