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Goddamit stop being so damn stupid

When the news presenter Lukwesa Burak first started working at the BBC, she was told that her afro-textured hair was “too ethnic”.

Ten years later, a photograph of the black British broadcaster wearing sweeping braids as she presented the news went viral on Twitter.

“Yes, I had braids while reading the news and yes, even on a national bulletin. Times have changed!” she tweeted last week.

The image of the 48-year-old presenter prompted an outpouring of support, particularly from parents and teachers who wanted to instil confidence in black children.

Huzzah and all that. But what does anyone damn well expect?

The norms of culture move with, well, the norms. Large scale immigration into the UK is still a pretty new thing, so, those norms are only catching up with that immigration. In 1945 the black population of the UK was some 10,000 people, max, concentrated in the old port cities. Now it’s some 3% of the population, about 1.5% Afro Caribbean, 1.5% African. That second group almost all having arrived in the last couple of decades.

No, leave aside whether you think the whole game is a good idea or not and just think for a goddam moment. Culture is indeed malleable but not instantly so. It takes time for change to happen – and?

16 thoughts on “Goddamit stop being so damn stupid”

  1. Sounds more like stuck-up bureaucrats than cultural change to me. There are always a few who complain about anything, but I think Britain of 2008, 2003, the 90s or earlier were more than ready for afros and braided hair. It’s not like she’s cut expletives into it or anything.

  2. There is no way anyone in the BBC told her, in 2010, that her hair was too ethnic.

    It didn’t happen.

  3. Don’t watch BBC so never heard of her.

    Last time I visited my parents I wondered why they were watching Nigerian TV channels.

  4. “Culture is indeed malleable but not instantly so. It takes time for change to happen – and?”

    …and we can look forward to laws protecting the Prophet (PBUH) from blasphemy, while gays are advised to keep away from tall buildings and pre-pubescent girls should avoid that weekend with Aunt Razorblade.

  5. If you look at photos at arrivals of the Windrush, the standard of hair is straight. Brylcreamed down for the men. So she’s obviously ashamed of what the Windrush represents. Race traitor!

  6. Incidentally, if you don’t understand this braids thing. Pal has her hair in braids. It’s about 150€ for the work & extensions are around 200 a set. Stripping out braids & rebraiding needs doing every couple of weeks & takes all day.
    So it’s not a case of natural being frowned on. Completely the opposite.

  7. I knew a girl who had braids. I thought she looked really nice, but she instantly regretted them. All she could hear was clack, clack, clack and had to tie them up at night because she couldn’t sleep with them. They were so expensive that she had to get her moneys worth out of them.

  8. It does sound as if the fashion’d be a bloody nuisance.

    I just clip my hair when it gets in the way. But then I’m not a girl.

  9. When my hair gets too long (I need to use a comb) then I just get a number 3. Lasts a good few months. Costs £8.

  10. Can’t remember which Roman general it was who wrote that the Celts had ‘hair like snakes’ which is generally accepted as meaning dreadlocks. Certainly there are depictions in art from the Minoan civilisation (1600BC) strongly indicating the same.

    Rather pre-dates 1970s Rastafarians.

  11. Indeed Andrew

    I have hanging on my wall reproductions of some of these frecoes. The Prince of the Lilies has luxuriously long hair in locks and a big feather on his crown.

    Bloody hippy.

  12. What JK277 and Agammamon said. Floella Benjamin wore braids on the BBC back in the ’70s. True, she wasn’t reading the news, but come on. I’m calling bullshit.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    Slightly OT.

    I recently found a Deutsche Welle German language podcast series from 2007 aimed at schools. The introducer’s and narrator’s accents of the English version are both straight out of BBC early 1960s children’s TV.

    If anyone wants a quick listen it’s called Deutsch, Warum Nicht and is quite interesting because it follows a reporter around former East German areas.

  14. When I read all this, it makes me think of the great golliwog fuss.

    Gollies have lovely frizzy hair and black, black faces. But they are now assiduously cancelled for precisely those characteristics that it’s claimed that the wicked whites so viciously cancelled.

    I suspect BiS’d say that it’s just our colonial lords and masters enjoying the untrammelled exercise of their power.

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