Thursday, 14 August 2008


Stuff that is banned becomes unbanned on YouTube. Am researching for the writing of a chapter about YoTube for the book Guy and I are putting together on 'Web 2.0 for Schools' - (for this series.)

have used the search term 'banned cartoons' and fascinated to discover this Betty Boop cartoon:

Obviously banned for its racist content. Interesting also is the discussion that follows in the comments section.

More disturbing was the discussion which followed a news report about a banned diversity training video... this is a more recent film which was supposed to be used as a staff development/ awareness raising piece. However people complained about the assumptions that white, 'blue collar workers' are more likely to be racist than black or hispanics. The discussion that ensues on YouTube is quickly taken over by white supremists. Following links from their discussions quickly took me down avenues too dark to paste into my blog. Gut wrenching stuff. Anyhow this is the original news report:

Certainly all sorts of issues here to consider in terms of using YouTube in schools - I would not feel confident that I could deal with the possible outpourings that some of the videos and comments that YouTube might incite from my students. There are important issues to consider about how to introduce YouTube and how to guide students' use of the site so that they come to a critical reading of some of the hateful material there.

And I have to admit, this kind of stuff forces one to take a moral position - something I find a real challenge. I like to think that as a teacher I don't dictate to kids what to think but give them the resources to think about and to think with and then let them go. But actually when push comes to shove, I would have to take a clear ant racist and anti sexist stance - and I am not sure what this looks like without either allowing some of these views to be voiced in my classroom (and all that implies) or without banning this stuff. Hmmm.

And finally ... maybe Ihave a lot to learn from sites like this which Rosa told me about.