Three Little Pigs
If this story had appeared in the Mail or the Express it would have been easy to dismiss as bullshit. “Three Little Pigs deemed too offensive” tales crop up with monotonous regularity in places like that.
Unfortunately, this story looks true.
A CD-Rom version of the Three Little Pigs, titled Three Little Cowboy Builders, aimed at primary school children, was turned down by judges at this year’s Bett Awards because they had “concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.
They were also concerned that the story, which had already won a prize at the Education Resources Award, might “alienate parts of the workforce”.
Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?
Anne Curtis, of the Newcastle-based company Shoo-fly which produced the title, is gobsmacked. She regards the accusations of racism as “like a slap in the face”, and thinks that the attitude of the judges is more likely to inflame ill-feeling than to prevent the spread of prejudice.
Becta, the government funded agency behind the awards is standing behind its judges’ decision.
UPDATE: (24th Jan) The Telegraph reports the reaction of the Muslim Council of Britain – predictably, “We are not offended by that at all”.
This really does seem to be a case of culturally hypersensitive idiots trying to do the right thing but ultimately having the opposite effect to what they intended.
According to Merlin John online, comments on the judges’ feedback form included:
“Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?”
“The subject matter is questionable for certain groups within the UK.”
“The idea of taking a traditional tale and retelling a story is fine, but it should not alienate parts of the workforce (building trade).”
“Developers should make role models positive.”
“Although this may not be intended, it feels cynical and tongue in cheek.”
“Judges would not recommend this product to the Muslim community in particular.”