'Microaggressions' | BBC staff to receive diversity lessons

BBC staff to receive diversity lessons

Staff based at the BBC are set to be given diversity lessons in order to stamp out inadvertent instances of racism, also known as ‘microaggressions’.

According to the Daily Mail, the BBC’s Drama Commissioning Controller, Piers Wenger, has been in discussions about how the organisation can remove unconscious bias in order to help improve the representation of ethnic minorities.

Speaking to Edinburgh TV, Wenger said that it was now ‘ground zero’ and ‘the moment where we have to get it right’.

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A 'microaggression' is defined as a statement or action which can be regarded as indirect or unintentional discrimination against an ethnic minority group.

Following the announcement of this initiative, Wenger added that ‘little has really changed’ despite ongoing conversations to champion diversity and equality in workplaces.

“It’s also the role of commissioners to really get it right because we know that we are at the very beginning of the process,” he explained.

“If talent isn’t being protected and nurtured and empowered, if ethnic minority stories aren’t making their way on to screens then we have a big part to play in that. Over the last few months as a department we’ve been in deep discussion around how to eradicate unconscious bias and microaggressions. We just can’t deny that those things exist.”

The BBC’s Head of Content Charlotte Moore previously stated that ‘diversity on screen and off screen has never been more important to the BBC' adding that she hoped shows such as Noughts And Crosses and I May Destroy You have demonstrated 'real commitment' to the issue.

Speaking about the recent move, Wenger shared that he wants to eradicate unconscious bias, a problem he identifies as ‘major’.

“Something has gone wrong, and we are really really engaged with putting that right. We have to eliminate unconscious bias, I think that’s been one of the major problems,” he explained.

“We spent a lot of time in lockdown talking about exactly how you identify it, and how you get rid of it and that is about having greater diversity at a decision making level and within commissioning teams.

“We need to make sure that everyone’s history and everyone’s point of view is represented in order to make the offering truly rich.”

This isn’t the first time the BBC has worked to improve diversity in the organisation. Earlier this year HR Grapevine reported on the news that staff at the broadcasting firm had been asked to disclose their preferred pronouns such as ‘she/her’, ‘he/him’ or ‘they/them’.

This move came after internal surveys revealed that two per cent of the 22,000-strong workforce identified as transgender.

This is something that has also been championed by other businesses, such as Virgin Management, who gave staff the option of including pronouns on email signatures in order to boost diversity.

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