/ Baa baa white sheep

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aln - on 17 Oct 2013
I started singing Baa Baa Black Sheep this morning for my 4 yr old. Missus pointed out that nursery sings Baa Baa White Sheep.
I'm not a guy who moans about yet another PC European directive etc. I'm glad the Golliwog's gone and eeny meeny miny moan catch the nigger by the toe is a rhyme I remember with some disbelief, and relief now it's gone.
Seems to me the nursery, and educational establishments across Falkirk district and maybe further, have decided to make this innocent rhyme into something racist.
Now it's only white sheep who are allowed to produce wool for the farmer, the dame, and the little boy who lives down the lane.
Ben Sharp - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: I hope they're not singing "the little boy who lived down the lane", sexist pigs, it's "little person".

Seriously though, it would be nice to live in a country where children are taught that social discrimination isn't about words, it's about beliefs and intentions. To tackle racism by just not saying the word black and sweeping any mention of racism under the carpet is absurd, apparently society hasn't moved on in the last 50 years.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Words reflect and amplify discrimination, it's not possible to say that 'nigger in the woodpile' is just an expression, or use the word 'bitch' without expressing and reinforcing certain attitudes. Words matter.

That said, the example of the rhyme seems a little extreme, not least because I suspect the word 'black' in the rhyme is more to do with the alliteration and ease of singing than any negative connotations. It's not as good a rhyme with the word white!
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: I understand and agree with what you say about the power of words. It's not relevant here though. 1 the rhyme isn't historically racist 2 it has nothing to do with anyones race or colour 3 it's positive about the black sheep.
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, my mum worked for Ealing Borough Council Social Services. Every morning they had a black canvass mail bag handed round the office for express internal mail to other council departments (probably redundant now due to email). The internal mail was called "the black bag" by everyone in the office as it was a bag that was black. The bag was withdrawn from service and replaced with a green one so people would stop using the phrase "black bag" so as not to cause offence to anyone. One of my mum's workmates, a black girl called Marie, was as dumbfounded by the move as everyone else in the office. The council went through a phase of replacing blackboards with greenboards in schools and a host of other moves to remove "black" as being a description for anything. Personally, I think these sorts of practices de-value anti racism by giving fuel to "PC gone mad" brigade and outlawing use of the word "black" creates division for black people. I'm glad to see the back of racist terms for people of different ethnic backgrounds but the denial of the word black as a description for something that is black is beyond me.
Bob Hughes - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: maybe the nursery is run by White Supremacists?
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> the denial of the word black as a description for something that is black is beyond me.

Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) I understand and agree with what you say about the power of words. It's not relevant here though. 1 the rhyme isn't historically racist 2 it has nothing to do with anyones race or colour 3 it's positive about the black sheep.

(And Teflonpete). Exactly. The Falkirk authorities are simply displaying fantastic ignorance and neurosis.

aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> the denial of the word black as a description for something that is black is beyond me.

Exactly my point.
MikeSP - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: I'm sure they have got rid of black/white coffee in the staff room, and espresso that could be offensive to runners.
Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to aln)
>
>Personally, I think these sorts of practices de-value anti racism by giving fuel to "PC gone mad" brigade and outlawing use of the word "black" creates division for black people.

Exactly. I remember bollocks like this making the news years ago. You'd think they would have realised this by now.

E
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> (And Teflonpete). Exactly. The Falkirk authorities are simply displaying fantastic ignorance and neurosis.

Not something they're new to. It's just so ridiculous. And I think changing the rhyme is in itself racist.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
> Exactly. I remember bollocks like this making the news years ago. You'd think they would have realised this by now.
>
> E

Apparently not.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to dapoy:
> (In reply to aln) I'm sure they have got rid of black/white coffee in the staff room, and espresso that could be offensive to runners.

Think of the runners!
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: IIRC blackboards were replaced by greenboards because they were considered less visually stressful.

That led to a spate of equally idiotic prayers: 'So Lord, we have discovered that green boards are more comforting than blackboards. Now we know why you made grass green' etc. Really.
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to teflonpete) IIRC blackboards were replaced by greenboards because they were considered less visually stressful.
>
> That led to a spate of equally idiotic prayers: 'So Lord, we have discovered that green boards are more comforting than blackboards. Now we know why you made grass green' etc. Really.

What sort of 'Really' is that? As in it really happened?
Guy - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: they sing baa baa woolly sheep at my daughter's nursery. I sing baa baa black sheep. quadrupeds for courses, can't discriminate against the greyhounds.
Sarah G on 17 Oct 2013
It's right up there with teachers having to use green ink when correcting pupil's work, so as not to cuase offence by using red ink

Sx
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: Yep. I heard them.
Trangia - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

Oh dear!

Does that mean that physics is wrong and there are no "black holes?"

Maybe we should phase the word "black" out of the English language and replace it with "extra dark grey"?

Toby S - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:

You used 'dark' this is also no longer allowed. The word you are looking for is 'charcoal'.
Trangia - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

I was also dumbfounded to learn that in the re-make of the "Dambusters" (BTW when is that film due for release?) Wing Commander Guy Gibson's black labrador who was called Nigger is to be called Trigger to avoid causing offence.

This is PC gone mad, because it's an historical film and at the time 1940s the word "Nigger" was in common and accepted use. I agree that it would be unacceptable to call a dog "Nigger" now, but you can't and shouldn't try to re-write history.
Trangia - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Toby S:

This also creates problems for map makers when referring to the Black Cuillin and the Red Cuillin. I suppose White Cuillin would be ok in winter?
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Guy:
> (In reply to aln) quadrupeds for courses, can't discriminate against the greyhounds.

Dogs have four legs so your analogy is wrong.
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Sarah G:
> It's right up there with teachers having to use green ink when correcting pupil's work, so as not to cuase offence by using red ink


Makes no odds to me, I'm red / green colour blind! :0)


However, that does raise an interesting point re potential discrimination against colour blind people. The use of greenboards instead of blackboards makes it harder to see the writing on it as there's less contrast. It's always awkward when told to 'follow the green line to X ray' at a hospital. Reading the keys for coloured bar charts or graphs can be nigh on impossible. Do I think it's a deliberate policy of discrimination against colour blind people? No, of course it's not, just most people with normal colour perception don't think of it. However, in situations like that in the hospital, it can be as debilitating to the colour blind person as the lack of a ramp for a wheelchair user. Is anyone doing anything to stand up for this silent minority. Of course not, there's no political gain. ;0)

Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:

I wonder how long it'll be before someone wants to change the name of Nigeria?
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Why would anyone do that unless they pronounce it incorrectly?
FrankBooth - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
In the early nineties,whilst working as a junior designer, one of my company's clients was an independent cinema/performance centre. I remember asking the particularly right-on Marketing Manager if she'd like a coffee, "Yes please, without milk", "Err, so a black coffee then?", "that's right, a coffee without milk". She couldn't bring herself to physically ask for a black coffee.
deanr - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to FrankBooth: I've found that out side of the UK, people refer to it as a coffee with milk. A white coffee is an alien term
Ridge - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:
'Trigger' has been dubbed into pretty much every showing of the original Dambusters film for years. Fortunately we can still be outraged by the racist phrases in Morse code, which haven't been re dubbed.

I don't think we'll ever see a remake of Dambusters. It was very much a film of the time and won't appeal to modern audiences. Plus, given the civilian death toll, it'd provoke 'RAF War Criminals' articles in the media.
nniff - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Why would anyone do that unless they pronounce it incorrectly?

Because 'Niger' means 'black' in Latin, hence the name of the dog and the derivation of the derogatory term. Probably the derivation of the country's name and the river) but I'm not sure of that at all.

And anyway, since when did common sense have anything to do with this?
drmarten on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ridge:
The air traffic unit at RAF Scampton (home of the Dambusters) use the callsign/identifier "Black Dog".
The remake of the film is going ahead last I heard but had been delayed, I'm looking forward to watching it (the dog will be called Digger, no big deal).
ByEek - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> Missus pointed out that nursery sings Baa Baa White Sheep.

Bloomin do-gooders. That said, our nursery have added a verse for which I very much approve. It goes.

"Thank you said the master, thank you said the dame. Thank you said the little boy who lived down the lane"
JIB - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to ByEek: "Thank you said the master, now get off my land!

Thank you said the little boy on his way to the foodbank"
Guy - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: the saying is horses for courses but you can't discriminate against greyhounds so changed it to quadrupeds. Get it now?
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Guy:
> (In reply to aln) the saying is horses for courses but you can't discriminate against greyhounds so changed it to quadrupeds. Get it now?

Wow! I do now. You're too clever for me.
pog100 - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

Alternatively we could just take the lead of this farmer in Glen Lyon and sing Baa Baa Red Sheep

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=174738
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to pog100: Superb
tony on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to Trangia)
> 'Trigger' has been dubbed into pretty much every showing of the original Dambusters film for years. Fortunately we can still be outraged by the racist phrases in Morse code, which haven't been re dubbed.

The last time I watched the Dambusters, sometime last year on Channel 5, the dog was still definitely called Nigger.
johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

Surely in this day and age ‘white sheep’ is even more unacceptable? The sheep in the rhyme is hard at work in British industry. Substituting the word ‘white’ is clearly just an attempt to peddle the tired old myth that black people are all workshy slackers and subvert the prescient attempts of early folk singers to redress the balance.

What we should really be tackling is the dreadful racist slur that is the expression ‘Black Death’. Presumably the more forward-thinking schools have already replaced this phrase with ‘colourless illness’, or some more acceptable phrase?

jcm
Bob Hughes - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> I was also dumbfounded to learn that in the re-make of the "Dambusters" (BTW when is that film due for release?) Wing Commander Guy Gibson's black labrador who was called Nigger is to be called Trigger to avoid causing offence.
>
> This is PC gone mad, because it's an historical film and at the time 1940s the word "Nigger" was in common and accepted use. I agree that it would be unacceptable to call a dog "Nigger" now, but you can't and shouldn't try to re-write history.

I don't know why people get so worked up about this. There are already other historical inaccuracies in the original and it's hardly like the name of the dog is core to the central plot. On the other hand, if they kept the dog's name "nigger" it cause such a hoo-ha that would probably over-shadow anything else about the film.
Owen W-G - on 17 Oct 2013
The ryhme is a farmers' grumble about taxation

Master = King
Dame = Church
Little Boy = Farmer who only keeps a 1/3 of us produce
johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:

The other historical inaccuracies were mistakes, though, weren't they? That's a bit different from rewriting history to blandify it.

jcm
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Owen W-G:
> The ryhme is a farmers' grumble about taxation
>
> Master = King
> Dame = Church
> Little Boy = Farmer who only keeps a 1/3 of us produce

Yes I know.
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:
> Exactly. I remember bollocks like this making the news years ago.

Back in the late '80s? I think a lot of what the Sun (among other papers) reported in its campaign against the so-called "loony left" borough councils was misreported, exaggerated or simply fabricated wasn't it?
Sarah G on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> The other historical inaccuracies were mistakes, though, weren't they? That's a bit different from rewriting history to blandify it.
>
> jcm

And becuause, at the time the film was made, much of the info was still top secret. That's why the film shows the bombs as spherical objects, not drum-shaped.

Incidentally, the code word for success on the raids was indeed Nigger.

Sx
Owen W-G - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

I wasn't addressing you, only the less well informed visitors to the site.
Sarah G on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to Sarah G)
> [...]
>
>
> Makes no odds to me, I'm red / green colour blind! :0)
>
>
> However, that does raise an interesting point re potential discrimination against colour blind people. The use of greenboards instead of blackboards makes it harder to see the writing on it as there's less contrast. It's always awkward when told to 'follow the green line to X ray' at a hospital. Reading the keys for coloured bar charts or graphs can be nigh on impossible. Do I think it's a deliberate policy of discrimination against colour blind people? No, of course it's not, just most people with normal colour perception don't think of it. However, in situations like that in the hospital, it can be as debilitating to the colour blind person as the lack of a ramp for a wheelchair user. Is anyone doing anything to stand up for this silent minority. Of course not, there's no political gain. ;0)

Now, that's interesting, and I'll bear that in mind. I sometimes put together ppt presentations etc- the favoured high-contrast combo is dark blue background, white or yellow lettering.

I think the whiteboards are terrible, though. The classrooms are too brightly lit to be able to see what is being written/projected onto them- the contrast is so poor! Before ppt or whiteboards however, I remember doing an HND where all the tutors used overhead projectors and wrote onto the acetates. Not bad. It also gave the facility for the acetates to be pre-printed and annotated as we went along simply by lying a blank one over the top.

Sx

Sx
Jackwd - on 17 Oct 2013
Bob Hughes - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Bob Hughes)
>
> The other historical inaccuracies were mistakes, though, weren't they? That's a bit different from rewriting history to blandify it.
>
> jcm

Some of them were mistakes, some of them were because the reality was classified and some of them were added to make a better story.

e.g. (from Wikipedia)
- targetting the dams was not Wallis's idea - they had already been identified before the war started.
- Instead of all of Gibson's tour-expired crew at 106 Squadron volunteering to follow him to his new command, only his wireless operator, Hutchinson, went with him to 617 Squadron.
- Gibson did not devise the "spotlights altimeter" after visiting a theatre; it was suggested by Benjamin Lockspeiser of the Ministry of Aircraft Production after Gibson requested they solve the problem. It was a proven method used by RAF Coastal Command aircraft for some time.

If we were talking about a documentary I'd agree with you but the film is not intended as a historical record - it's intended as entertainment as the list of storyline tweaks shows.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Jackwd: That's half my point. It's not a nigger sheep or a poof sheep. It's a black sheep and it's portrayed in a positive way.
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Bob Hughes:
> If we were talking about a documentary I'd agree with you but the film is not intended as a historical record - it's intended as entertainment as the list of storyline tweaks shows.

We should probably be grateful if 617 squadron are still part of the RAF in the remake, rather than it turning out they were actually American. ;o)
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]
>
> Back in the late '80s? I think a lot of what the Sun (among other papers) reported in its campaign against the so-called "loony left" borough councils was misreported, exaggerated or simply fabricated wasn't it?

My anecdote about my mum's workplace and the black bag - green bag was from first hand experience, not a tabloid report. Maybe the "loony left" want you to think it was a fabricated right wing tabloid plot to discredit them but there are certainly pockets of evidence for it happening outside of the press.
ripper - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: Mrs R works in the public sector and was told off some while ago for using the word 'Afro-Caribbean' - she was told 'you can't call a person Afro, that's a word for a hairstyle. it's racist'. I told her she should go back and ask whether, by that measure, it's also racist to refer to Anglo-Saxons, the Franco-Prussian war, the Sino-Soviet split, the Autro-Hungarian empire, etc etc. (she didn't)
drolex - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Jackwd) That's half my point. It's not a nigger sheep or a poof sheep. It's a black sheep and it's portrayed in a positive way.

To quote the Office (US):
-Oh, you are such a racist.
-Wait, why am I a racist?
-Because you think he's black.
MJ - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

Why not replace any reference to a colour, with its relevant RGB Colour Number?
For example, Black would become 'R=0; G=0; B=0'.

Totally non offensive and extremely accurate/unambiguous in its description of a particular colour.
ripper - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> Why not replace any reference to a colour, with its relevant RGB Colour Number?
> For example, Black would become 'R=0; G=0; B=0'.
>
> Totally non offensive and extremely accurate/unambiguous in its description of a particular colour.

So you're ascribing zero value to someone just because they're black? racist!
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> Why not replace any reference to a colour, with its relevant RGB Colour Number?
> For example, Black would become 'R=0; G=0; B=0'.
>
> Totally non offensive and extremely accurate/unambiguous in its description of a particular colour.


Baa baa R=0; G=0; B=0 sheep, have you any natural insulating fibre?

Think it might be a bit tricky to remember for 2 year olds!
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to aln) Mrs R works in the public sector and was told off some while ago for using the word 'Afro-Caribbean' - she was told 'you can't call a person Afro, that's a word for a hairstyle. it's racist'.

We went through a stage of having 'Afro-Caribbean' as one of the options on equal opportunities questionaires in correspondence with Ealing council. I never quite understood how asking people to segregate themselves into a particular ethnic group was supposed to equalise opportunity or enhance social cohesion.

johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

It's supposed to reveal whether (say) all managers are white and all cleaners are black, and thus expose racial discrimination if it exists, surely (speaking crudely, obviously)? Seems like a reasonable thing to do to me, though obviously potentially subject to various biases.

jcm
Bruce Hooker - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Owen W-G:
> The ryhme is a farmers' grumble about taxation
>
> Master = King
> Dame = Church
> Little Boy = Farmer who only keeps a 1/3 of us produce

I heard it was about smuggling wool, the little boy being the one who passed the goods and got his share?

As for the black sheep, these were fairly rare and treated as outcasts, nowadays I've seen whole flocks of black sheep, or black headed sheep, by selective breeding, I imagine, so the expression loses much of its sense.

MJ - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to ripper:

So you're ascribing zero value to someone just because they're black? racist!

Damn, you're right!
That sort of proves, how easy it is to twist anything to suit an agenda if someone so wishes.
Babika - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
Quentin Tarantino users the word nigger in many of his films (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained etc) usually spoken by Samuel L Jackson but also by whites on occasion.

Personally I applaud the fact that he has the guts to use the word in either historical context (Django) or as used by LA gangsters.

It doesn't get dubbed, it adds authenticity and I haven't heard of anyone being offended yet.

PS my next door neighbours cat was called Nigger in the 60's - the calls of Nig Nig Nig late at night don't seem to have damaged me irrepairably but would understandably set off riots if they happened today
MJ - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

Baa baa R=0; G=0; B=0 sheep, have you any natural insulating fibre?

Think it might be a bit tricky to remember for 2 year olds!


In all probability, the sheep wouldn't be pure black and would be more likely to be a very dark brown.
Therefore it would/could be: -

Baa baa R=35; G=18; R=17 sheep...

Obviously, this will change for each individual sheep.
lazzaw - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> I agree that it would be unacceptable to call a dog "Nigger" now, but you can't and shouldn't try to re-write history.

As a vet I'm surprised to still see dogs called 'Nigger' presented to me. Most belong to elderly people for whom, growing up in a much different world, it is understandable and probably not chosen with any malice.

I am surprised though to get the occasioanl 'Nigger' belonging to younger people. How anyone in their 30s or 40s could think that it is an appropriate name is beyond me.
Milesy - on 17 Oct 2013
Technically Black isn't a colour. It is the lack of colour.
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> My anecdote about my mum's workplace and the black bag - green bag was from first hand experience, not a tabloid report.

Second hand - it was your Mum's workplace, not yours. It was her first-hand experience that the black bags were replaced with green ones.

Was she herself involved with the decision to change the bags? In what sense is her knowledge of *why* they were changed (as opposed to merely the fact that they were) first hand? Was there a memo or something to the effect that they were no longer to be referred to as "black bags"?

Dark green blackboards are, I believe, generally considered to be easier on the eye than black ones. Green ones were certainly commonplace in the '60s (when "Nigger" was still considered a perfectly acceptable name for a black or chocolate labrador).

In order to demonstrate a loony-left PC-gone-mad agenda, it would not be sufficient merely to show that black blackboards were re-painted in dark green during routine maintenance. That could simply reflect the personal preference of a new member of staff.

> Maybe the "loony left" want you to think it was a fabricated right wing tabloid plot to discredit them but there are certainly pockets of evidence for it happening outside of the press.

Hm, maybe. We are talking about The Sun of the late '80s though.

There are more recent examples of the press misreporting such things. For example the Birmingham "Winterval" debacle (loony-left council wants to ban Christmas! Shock horror, etc.)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/08/winterval-modern-myth-christmas

Almost as an aside - the "goggles for conkers" story..
Interesting contrast between these links:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/3712764.stm
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/dec/09/conkers-goggles-myth-health-safety
http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/september.htm

MJ - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Technically Black isn't a colour. It is the lack of colour.

Isn't that only applicable to mixing light, but when you mix pigments/molecules then black is indeed a colour?
TheDrunkenBakers - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to Jackwd) That's half my point. It's not a nigger sheep or a poof sheep. It's a black sheep and it's portrayed in a positive way.

Not really. I would say its being portrayed in a neutral way, a factual way.




TheDrunkenBakers - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> Technically Black isn't a colour. It is the lack of colour.
>
> Isn't that only applicable to mixing light, but when you mix pigments/molecules then black is indeed a colour?

I think you are correct. Isn't black technically a tone?

This is quite an interesting article.

http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/are-black-and-white-colors



drolex - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> Not really. I would say its being portrayed in a neutral way, a factual way.

Mmmh. Nobody questions the fact that a sheep wanders around with bags of wool, ready to hand them to wool-addicts (including children). How did it get them? Are we sure he didn't steal them? I am not saying that all black sheep are dishonest (I have very close friends who are black sheep) but this one looks suspicious. I said suspicious? I meant criminal. And yes it happens to be black. How strange.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> Technically Black isn't a colour. It is the lack of colour.

Wow. Thanks for that. None of us here knew that.
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
> Second hand - it was your Mum's workplace, not yours. It was her first-hand experience that the black bags were replaced with green ones.

Yes, it was her first hand experience, not mine.

> Was she herself involved with the decision to change the bags? In what sense is her knowledge of *why* they were changed (as opposed to merely the fact that they were) first hand? Was there a memo or something to the effect that they were no longer to be referred to as "black bags"?

No, she wasn't involved in the decision to change the colour of the bags, yes there was a memo sent round her office at the time of the colour change telling staff that they were to refer to the bags as "Internal mail bags" not "black bags"

> Dark green blackboards are, I believe, generally considered to be easier on the eye than black ones. Green ones were certainly commonplace in the '60s (when "Nigger" was still considered a perfectly acceptable name for a black or chocolate labrador).

Funny that, I lived on the outskirts of West London and they were only being replaced by green ones in the early to mid '80s at my well performing state comprehensive, but obviously, I couldn't speak for other schools.

> In order to demonstrate a loony-left PC-gone-mad agenda, it would not be sufficient merely to show that black blackboards were re-painted in dark green during routine maintenance. That could simply reflect the personal preference of a new member of staff.

Never heard of classrooms being redecorated at the request of a new member of staff for no particular reason but I'm sure it's not impossible.

> Hm, maybe. We are talking about The Sun of the late '80s though.
>
> There are more recent examples of the press misreporting such things. For example the Birmingham "Winterval" debacle (loony-left council wants to ban Christmas! Shock horror, etc.)
> http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/08/winterval-modern-myth-christmas

Can't say I'm bothered, Yule is just a pagan festival nicked by Christians anyway.


Goggles for conkers isn't almost an aside, it's completely irrelevant!
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> Funny that, I lived on the outskirts of West London and they were only being replaced by green ones in the early to mid '80s at my well performing state comprehensive, but obviously, I couldn't speak for other schools.

I couldn't speak even for the schools I went to. Even if I did remember the colour of the blackboards, it'd be hard to be sure I was remembering accurately.

Nevertheless, as far as I can make out it is a simple fact that green blackboards were commonplace *well* before the 80's. You don't have to take my word for it, if you can be arsed have a bit of a google for old colour photos. I just did and struggled to find British ones, so here's an interesting collection of photos from the notoriously politically correct Mississippi of the 1950's.
http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/archives/exhibits/phay_color/slide2.html

> Never heard of classrooms being redecorated at the request of a new member of staff for no particular reason but I'm sure it's not impossible.

I wasn't suggesting they might have been redecorated at someone's request. Wooden blackboards need to be re-painted from time to time, that isn't redecoration, it's just routine maintenance. Like black bags being replaced by another colour, the reason for the change could be a PC-gone-mad dictat issued by some "loony left" council leader, a simple change of supplier, or any number of other reasons. Perhaps as trivial as the personal preference of an individual school caretaker.

> Can't say I'm bothered, Yule is just a pagan festival nicked by Christians anyway.

I'm not bothered much either, merely citing it as an example of a widely reported loony-left story in the press that was er.. less than entirely honestly and impartially reported.

> Goggles for conkers isn't almost an aside, it's completely irrelevant!

I thought it was interesting, don't really care much about relevant - this is Ukc aftel all. ;O)

Here's another green blackboard, photographed back in a simpler time when academics could still be trusted to use a stepladder.
http://www.kulfoto.com/funny-pictures/42069/nasa-before-computers-1960
andrewmcleod - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

When I was a kid, it was explained that the black wool from black sheep (being rarer) was more valuable (the taxation thing was not explained). This made perfect sense to me at the time.

I very much doubt that anyone in significant charge of anything has 'declared' that the word black is no longer kosher; it is much more likely it is a local decision (and a local mistake). It is almost certainly not the EU's fault :P

Just like 'H&S gone mad' is nearly always 'H&S misinterpreted by people who are ignorant of the rules', like the conkers thing (which gets the H&S Executive cross since they get unfairly blamed)...
teflonpete - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

I'm off home now, but I think there was a bit of both of what we were suggesting going on. There was some silliness in the public sector about what constituted racism back in the mid 80s as some councils struggled a bit to be the the most 'right on' one, and the right wing media did blow things out of proportion and create some 'PC gone mad' myths. I think it mostly boils down to a system of checks and balances that we can look back on as the over-reaction they were, but that they've moved us on to a better place from where we were back then.

Some things, like changing the colour of a sheep in a nursery rhyme, are hangovers from that bygone time, but on the plus side we've largely got rid of casual racism.
johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to ByEek:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> Bloomin do-gooders. That said, our nursery have added a verse for which I very much approve. It goes.
>
> "Thank you said the master, thank you said the dame. Thank you said the little boy who lived down the lane"

I was taught that already in the 1960s.

jcm

deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
That seems like a very fair summary to me.
captain paranoia - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

> Almost as an aside - the "goggles for conkers" story..

Okay, not quite 'goggles for conkers', but certainly a ban on playing conkers on H&S grounds. Whilst QI might say that it's a myth, and that no school in the UK ever banned playing conkers, I know one primary school that most certainly did, on the alleged grounds of safety.

The H&S page seems to contradict itself, doesn't it. Maybe the 'myth' they're referring to is that the googles were required by some mad HSE edict...
earlsdonwhu - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> I was also dumbfounded to learn that in the re-make of the "Dambusters" (BTW when is that film due for release?) Wing Commander Guy Gibson's black labrador who was called Nigger is to be called Trigger to avoid causing offence.

The stupid thing is that the 'Nigger' in question was adored and doted upon so was not being abused at all.

highclimber - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

I call troll. its total bollox. there is nothing offensive about the word 'black'.
aln - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to aln)
>
> I call troll. its total bollox. there is nothing offensive about the word 'black'.

I'm calling you out on calling troll. There is nothing offensive about the word black. Hence my OP. No trolling.
johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln:

To be fair (I guess we all realise this, but anyway) there is of course nothing offensive about the word 'black', but some people perceive using expressions like 'black sheep' in a derogatory sense, to mean the badly-behaved member of a group or something similar, as offensive.

They then fail to observe that the black sheep in the rhyme is not being used in this sort of derogatory context, but literally, and we get 'Baa, baa, white sheep'. A bit like how you can call white children cheeky monkeys (at least I assume you still can) but can black children cheeky monkeys and there'll be trouble.

It's not edifying or helpful, but it's not *quite* as simple as there being nothing wrong with the word 'black'. I think even the most ardent anti-racist still allows one to speak of black paint, for instance.

jcm
crustypunkuk - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: when my daughter was at nursery, she was taught to sing baa baa rainbow sheep!
Now that's inclusive and non discriminatory.

I'm fairly sure I uttered an expletive when I was first told of this PC bull.
Dax H - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: Slightly off topic but years ago I spent a good hour sitting on to of almscliff crag watching the lambs in the field running around and having fun, except for the black lamb.
They were all gamboling around together but every time the black lamb came near the rest ran away.
Couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor little bugger.
highclimber - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to aln: This thread just confirms that some people take the daily mail quite literally.
aln - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to aln) This thread just confirms that some people take the daily mail quite literally.

I don't understand why every thread on UKC ends up with these Daily Mail/Guardian comments. Why are you obsessed with these newspapers, can't you think for yourself rather than just agreeing with a paper's advice column? My OP's about a real life situation, not something I read in a paper.

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