Monday, July 7th, 2008


The National Children’s Bureau, an agency sponsored by the British government, demonstrates anew that what Fats Waller said about jazz (If you don’t know what it is, don’t mess with it”) applies to many different areas of life. According to the London Telegraph:

The National Children’s Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

This could include a child of as young as three who says “yuk” in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.

This is no doubt a reference to steak-and-kidney pie.

The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.

It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the drive to root out prejudice as they can “recognise different people in their lives”.

The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: “Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships.”

It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: “blackie”, “Pakis”, “those people” or “they smell”.

The guide goes on to warn that children might also “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuk'”.

And if they react to their own “culinary tradition” by saying “yuk,” that’s a sign of good taste.

Staff are told: “No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.”

A “clear racist incident” being when a child who is used to eating bland food turns his nose up at curry. It has nothing to do with his taste buds, of course, but his racial attitudes. Anyone this side of Paul Prudhomme can see that.

I remember once seeing an episode of the weird Japanese cooking show “Iron Chef” (if you’ve never seen it, check it out on the Food Network–it’s what you get when you cross Julia Child with professional wrestling). One of the ingredients used by one of the chefs was–I kid you not–tuna eyeballs. My wife, my daughter, and I all simultaneously came out with the same expression: “ewwww!” Apparently, in the eyes of the British National Children’s Bureau, that makes us anti-Japanese racists.

The point of this post is this: the only people who could come up with something this idiotic are people who don’t have children, are never around children, have probably never known any children, and for all I know may never have been children themselves. That is to say, they are the last people who should be telling anyone what lies behind a child’s instinctive reaction to unfamiliar foods. They should, instead, be required to sit in as judges on “Iron Chef,” and to scarf down a delicious plate of tuna eyeballs marinated in Blair’s 16 Million. If they can choke that down, then they can talk about racism and food choices–if, that is, they can still talk.

(Via Little Green Footballs.)

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A pat on the back goes to the PCUSA’s Presbytery of Philadelphia, which has taken what I think is just the right tack in dealing with a congregation that wanted to leave (and which will likely move to the EPC). The Philadelphia Bulletin reports:

The Rev. Jim Farrell said he was “grateful” for the Presbytery of Philadelphia. On May 20, the regional court authorized his church’s dismissal from the denomination – church property and all.

“We are incredibly thankful that the presbytery chose the high road. It wasn’t easy by any means,” said Rev. Farrell.

Rev. Farrell is a 14-year pastor of Oreland Presbyterian Church, located just minutes outside the Stenton and East Germantown neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Fully 97 percent of voting church members supported dismissal.

Officers of the Presbytery of Philadelphia visited Oreland and conducted careful fact-finding. They eventually determined to honor the church’s request for dismissal with their property.

“There ought to be some way to get this out there so that the larger body of Christ, particularly Christians who are Presbyterian and in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., could see that there is a way to do this without beating each other up and without shaming either the church of Jesus Christ or our God,” Rev. Farrell said.

This will probably not thrill the leadership in Louisville, which seems to want presbyteries to fight for every smidgenof property. But I expect it will benefit the ministries of both the presbytery and Oreland. Congratulations to them for working out an agreement that satisfies both sides and avoids going to court.

(Via the Layman Online.)