Monday, October 02, 2006


Very interesting - 61 people complained to the BBC after Jonathon Ross suggested council estate residents should be chemically restricted from having children. To me this brings up three issues:

1) No-one makes a fuss about the idea that there should be restrictions on who can adopt a child, and very stringent ones too. They check everything from your criminal record, to your income, your sexual orientation, marital status and even how clean your house is and stuff. If he had said people living on council estates shouldn't be allowed to adopt children I'm sure no complaints would have been raised. Now I think that volunteering to adopt a child in and of itself makes you a more suitable candidate to raise a child than being able to get a shag. I'm not opposed to running a check on people to see if they have obvious reasons for being unsuitable but I don't think nonsense like marital status and sexuality, for instance, should be taken into account. This would help reduce the number of children in the care system and make it possible to offer more foster care to parents who are struggling.

2) We're back to the "wrong kind of babies" argument. While (white) university educated women with good jobs and so on are consistently on the receiving end of criticism for not having enough babies, teenage mothers and anyone from a lower class (or minority ethnic*) background is moaned at for having too many babies. What we need is of course (a) a bit less racism and (b) an education and welfare system that allows children from under-privileged backgrounds to grow up into the "right kind of adults". And we have a long way to go on that right now.

3) 61 people is not an awful lot, but it got a news story onto the BBC website. As a group, the people who share my views on things like secularism and feminism reading this blog and and so on number quite a lot more than that. It's amazing how small a group is needed to agitate on an issue. We should use this as a means to get our voices heard.

1 comment:

Cruella said...

Oh and by the way the * on minority ethnic was to highlight that it is a totally stupid term. globally most people are indian and chinese. european and african are the minority ethnicities. and actually if we're really honest about it then in the west 100% "pure" anything is the minority, most white for instance people are a mix of things - roman, viking, celtic, pict, gaul, saxon, cornish, welsh, etc. But it's the best-understood term I have so please excuse it.