More Support for Rosy Racism from the BBC – and their reply…

New Steiner SchoolThe sad news that Exeter Steiner School will be receiving the green light to occupy one of Exeter University’s old halls of residence is a kick in the teeth to all non-white and Semitic or indeed any non-white-Aryan resident of Exeter.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-23197793

But the BBC reports this controversial move as if it is all absolutely fine. I have before in these pages made my position clear concerning the BBC’s racist support for Anthroposophy and have complained yet again to them in the hope that they might at least acknowledge the issues and how they intend to address them as a matter of policy.

I reproduce my complaint below.

to BBC on-line complaints department.

Rudolph Steiner’s ‘philosophy’ called Anthroposophy, on which Steiner pedagogy and Steiner education is based is thoroughly racist and anti-scientific. Many anti-racist campaigners and pro-science campaigners have been exposing these issues for many years in print and, over the last 10 years, on line.
Any reporter with any knowledge of education would know about the controversy and it can only be assumed that a): the reporter has no knowledge of education and should not have been given the assignment to report on Exeter Steiner School or, b): the reporter does know about the controversy but is in favour of racism and mysticism.
Either way, like so much of the BBC’s output on Steiner Schools and other Anthroposophical organizations such as Biodynamic Farms, the BBC shows Steiner’s doctrine in the most rosy of lights. If the BNP, the EDL or the National Front were proposing to run a school, I’m sure the ethical and philosophical background of their organisations would be an issue. Steiner’s world view was explicitly and intrinsically racist and no amount of pressure seems to move modern adherents to explain why they continue to follow him.
If the BBC continues to promote Steinerism positively, all we can assume is that the BBC is as institutionally racist as Anthroposophy – an offence to all non-white people and to non-racists. This issue is known to the BBC and it is about time your policy towards reporting Steiner organizations became less accepting of their racism.

I’ll let you all know if I get a reply.

update

Here is an e-mail I received today.

Dear Mr Nakorn,

Many thanks for your email.This was not a story about the arguments for or against Steiner education but rather a report on an individual school which is opening in Exeter.

The school is clear when questioned that it employs no elements in its teaching which could be described as racist, though it accepts that “Steiner’s works do contain a number of statements on race that are inappropriate in a modern context. They do not inform the education in any way: they influence neither content nor methodology.”http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/downloads/Statement-on-Racism.pdf

We take no view on the system ourselves as journalists, impartiality being at the heart of our editorial process.Best wishes, and thanks for your feedback which is much appreciated.

Laura Ellis, BBC English Regions

 

 

 

 

 

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About Nick Nakorn

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5 Responses to More Support for Rosy Racism from the BBC – and their reply…

  1. Sune says:

    The racism issue is a propaganda myth originating, not in any practical with experience, but with this guy:
    http://thebee.se/comments/PS/Staudenmaier.html

    It is based on non-clarification by the publishers of Steiner’s works of the concepts he used at different times in speeches to different audiences, where the context mostly makes clear what he was talking about, but where you in some cases need to do some digging to find out what he was talking about.

    For some clarification of this, see
    http://waldorfanswers.org/ThreeConcepts.htm and
    http://thebee.se/comments/PS/OnPS2004Paper.html
    http://thebee.se/comments/postings/BadResearchByBBC.htm

    It still needs to be clarified by the publishers, but they’ve so far been fully busy publishing the full works before the expiration of the original copyright.

    Though this clarification has not yet been widely published, empirical research shows that Waldorf schools well have understood that the essence of it, contributing to making Steiner Waldorf pupils least racist of all pupils in Germany, for example.

    • Nick Nakorn says:

      Sune, as you well know, Steiner’s racism is explicit. Your denial, and that of other Anthroposophists is not only disingenuous it is utterly unethical. Having read most of your output over the past few years, my advice to you and Steiner/Waldorf organisations is to admit fully to the racism in Steiner’s writing and his world view and develop policies and positions that deal with the ways in which those views inform the actions of staff and stakeholders; without such detailed and frank analysis, critics will continue to assume you prefer that your own racist orthodoxy prevails.

  2. re the reply from the BBC — if ‘impartiality is at the heart of [their] editorial process’, one must question their uncritical adoption and dissemmination of waldorf PR. The second paragraph in their reply is particularly shameful. And I happily say that without having seen the program. The fact that they simply copy-paste what they recieve from the waldorf school is shameful. Don’t they understand that’s the standard answer — and what else were they expecting to be fed but something like that?

    And I notice Sune is busy making the anthroposophical movement looking unnecessarily silly once again.

  3. I can’t comment on institutional racism with Steiner, only from my own experience.

    My sister has a profound mental and physical disability, is now 51 years old, and has since the age of 15 lived in a Steiner community house. In that time she has both maintained here emotional equilibrium (which believe me is NOT easy for an intellectually disabled person), and been creatively encouraged to the point where she recently had her first art exhibition – a serious one, not just a token gesture.

    Personally, I’ve never encountered any hint of racism or discrimination in the staff who care for my sister so well. So I can only conclude that when it comes down to it, the person is far more important than the philosophy. And that by attacking the entire philosophy, which in Steiner’s case is so centered on the unique needs and potential of the individual (the opposite of discrimination, surely), seems to overlook the heartfelt and genuine good that Steiner’s approach often achieves.

    Respectfully.

  4. Nick Nakorn says:

    Andrew, did you or your parents find out about Steiner’s racist ideology before your sister’s residency or during it? What interests me is your (or your parents’) choice of a Steiner environment for your sister as opposed to choosing an environment not based on a racist ideology.

    The institutional racism that Steiner organisations display most prominently is a refusal to deal with the adverse effects of their ideology on their pedagogy, political positioning, cultural influences and the wider community and in denying that their philosophy is racist; thereby making life very uncomfortable for anyone wishing to challenge their position.

    That the (in the UK) predominantly white/male patriarchal society, in which Steiner organisations operate, so readily backs and accepts the Anthroposophical explanation (they simply claim they are not racist) confirms to non-white people that Steiner’s racial hierarchies are also acceptable to that wider society as well as to followers and supporters of Anthroposophy. In that way, institutional and structural racism spreads.

    I’m gratified to note that you have not witnessed any hint of racism in the 36 years you have been associated with them but I also find that almost unbelievable – everyone, including me, has a hint of racism within them simply because of the way we have been brought up – some of our most ordinary expressions and valued institutions are based upon racist or racial assumptions.

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