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This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

The Pot that Called the Kettle Black

Sep 19 2008 17:45
Kirsty Patterson
Chris Mullan has still not escaped the fury of the NUS Black Student's Officer despite being 'let off' by the NUS. Live! Editor, Kirsty Patterson, gives her tuppence worth.
Yes I was supposed to be writing a 'Snippets' but I just can't resist an argument.

King?s College President, Chris Mullan, is still facing more abuse and foul mouthing at the hands of NUS Black Student?s Officer, Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy. In a statement published following NUS? decision not to uphold any of the complaints against Mullan, Bell has condemned the decision and called into question the actions of NUS Vice President (Higher Education) Aaron Porter. Furthermore, no doubt through self-righteous whinging, Bell has succeeded in having Mullan banned from future NUS events until he has undergone ?Equal Opportunities Training?.

I have followed this whole charade with a sense of outrage and disgust.

I will admit, as this is an opinion piece, that I regard Chris as a good friend and have followed this whole charade with a sense of outrage and disgust. Perhaps as a ?white girl? many members of the NUS will not consider me fit to comment. However, as I see it, Bellavia is at best the boy who cried wolf and at worst the very thing she detests the most: blinded by her own racist prejudices.

Racism is not the sole vexation of students involved in the Black Students' campaign. I am sure at this very moment no one knows what it feels like to be unfairly discriminated against due to the colour of their skin more than Chris Mullan. Simply consider whether he would have been attacked in this way by the NUS, the KCLSU Trustees and the Media if he had been born with a darker complexion.

I doubt [Bellavia] is fit to deal with serious issues of racism where students are facing real every day dangers in their learning environments.

Student ?activists? such as Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy do themselves, and the students they are supposed to represent, no favours by screaming and balling at every misquoted opportunity. This is not a case of racial hatred and the lack of any police enquiry or succesful complaints proves that point clearly. I stand staunchly against racism and I agree that everything within our power should be done to stop people suffering verbal and physical abuse or discrimination due to their sex, background, skin colour, religion, sexuality or mental and physical disabilities. However, when people show little or no ability to accept that they are likely to have differing opinions from other people and cause as a result simple incidents like this to be blown out of proportion they lose all credibility. With the hysterical behaviour of Bellavia over this matter I doubt that she is fit to deal with serious issues of racism where students may be genuinely feeling vulnerable, threatened and facing real every day dangers in their learning environments. The type of situation Chris Mullan wanted to tackle!

I, and two of my colleagues, were accused of offending NUS Welfare Officer Ama Uzowuro by making 'racist comments'.

This is not the first time hysterical reactions have been prompted from NUS Senior Officers over the matter of racism. At the same NUS Officer Training event one year previously I, and two of my colleagues, were accused of offending NUS Welfare Officer Ama Uzowuru by making ?racist comments?. This was in relation to suggesting an actor in a training video looked like Samuel L. Jackson. The irony is that my two colleagues were not, as I am, white. I?m glad no one was spiteful enough during our training to make an example of me as they have chosen to do of Chris Mullan.

It is about time that Bellavia and her supporters were made aware that their bullying tactics will not be tolerated. The NUS is currently a ?safe space? only for those that can use their ?minority? influences to frighten and threaten other people into silent submission. If equality of opportunity is really to be realised then someone needs to stand up for the rights of the ?majority? and tell the NUS Black Students? Campaign that white people are people too!

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Discussion about “The Pot that Called the Kettle Black”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Sep 19 2008 23:27
 

" white people are people too!"

Classic mistake. Everyone knows that we're secret racists and slave traders. Probably paedophiles too.

Sep 20 2008 08:34
 

Surely its racist to even have a Black Student?s Officer, I mean seriously... is there a White Student's Officer?

Sep 20 2008 09:33
 

Same argument can be made for the 'Womens Officer'.

Surely in our equal opportunity driven world we should be encouraging women to stand for the other roles which are open to both sexes rather than shoe horning them into a 'minority' group. The very existance of the position is sexist and I regard it as derogatory towards women.

I'd rather fulfill a position where my eligibility is dictated by my skills and ability alone rather than my sex.

Sep 20 2008 10:59
 

At least Imperial aren't paying the salaries of these clowns anymore.

I hope Mullan takes legal action against Bellavia and that Unions have the courage to demand her sacking in light of her discriminatory conduct.

Sep 20 2008 11:48
 

Who thought putting that monstrosity as the image would be a good idea? Or did you just want an ego boost?

Sep 20 2008 11:51
 

To the above comments 2&3:

By that logic, would it not be apt to call the campaigns 'Gender Equality' and 'Race Equality'? Many students are put off by the term 'Black Students' because they don't consider themselves black (Asian students and students from the Middle-East, for example).

The best way to campaign against inequality is to get those 'favoured' by that inequality to fight with us!

Get men involved in supporting the fight for pay equalisation between the genders and white people campaigning against racism.

Only in unity can we create equality.

Don't get me started on Caucasian sabbs (elected to represent ALL their students) not being allowed to attend Black Students events.

Over the past 2 years, I've been represented by Caucasian welfare officers who haven't been allowed to represent me and thousands of other students properly because they haven't been allowed to the Black Students campaign events.

7. umm   
Sep 20 2008 12:29
 

can we have the news before we have comment pieces on the news.

"King?s College President, Chris Mullan, is still facing more abuse and foul mouthing at the hands of NUS Black Student?s Officer, Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy. In a statement published following NUS? decision not to uphold any of the complaints against Mullan, Bell has condemned the decision and called into question the actions of NUS Vice President (Higher Education) Aaron Porter. Furthermore, no doubt through self-righteous whinging, Bell has succeeded in having Mullan banned from future NUS events until he has undergone ?Equal Opportunities Training?."

what foul-mouthing etc, give us the facts!

Sep 20 2008 18:20
 

The statment from Bellavia is here but did not in itself demand a news article.

In answer to "what the", Opinion pieces are usually accompanied by a picture of the person who is giving their opinion. If I had wanted an ego boost I would have chosen a more flattering photo. This one was at least vaguely comical.

9. hmmm   
Sep 21 2008 01:10
 

it did not demand a news article but it did demand a comment piece with a title that many consider to be, if not racist, then at least inconsiderate

Sep 21 2008 10:29
 

@9

1) Not everything with the word 'black' in it is racist. Perhaps we should ban the word?

2) It's a well know phrase dealing with people who accuse others of doing things they do themselves (which is what is being suggested about the black students officer).

It's a clever title, and an opinion piece which gets to the very heart of the main problems in the NUS - where the 'liberation' campaigns operate as baying cliques whose purpose is not to educate people about why their minority group is discriminated against, but to call for blood whenever someone says something they consider to be offensive (or when it suits the politics of the person running the campaign). And forget about inclusiveness - it's only for people with the right skin colour/gender etc.

It's a crazy way of running things, but no-one within the NUS will stand up and say it because they'll get accused of being racist/disabledist/a chauvinist pig.

If you think the title is racist or inconsiderate, then you need to turn your sensitivity meter down. You should also go and find some real racists - people who'll spit on you or shout at you in the street (or, as I heard last month from some particularly undesirable undesirables, 'send you back to the jungle').

Sep 21 2008 10:55
 

Oh and before people start throwing the race card at me, I grew up in a predominantly ethnic minority area (of all sorts - next to an airport meant every new global crisis brought a new ethnicity into my school and the surrounding area).

"So what, that doesn't mean you know what racism is".

I've had racist abuse thrown at me, for being white, in the street. I've had people keep me at a distance because their parents wouldn't approve of them being good friends with a 'white person'. I've seen relationships of friends forced apart by parents because the two people weren't the right shade of brown, or the same religion. I've seen this sort of thing happen down the road: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19970504/ai_n14108600. And I've also seen the 'classic' racism of white youths abusing or assaulting people of various different races.

If the biggest problem people can find is a title using the word 'black', I'm glad race relations have come on so quickly in so little time.

Sep 21 2008 19:53
 

"If the biggest problem people can find is a title using the word 'black', I'm glad race relations have come on so quickly in so little time."

It is the way of the NUS to sit around calling each other fascists while junketing on the subscription money, instead of actually achieving any of their stated goals. Ideal training for the Parliamentary Labour Party now I think about it...

13. unseen   
Sep 28 2008 01:27
 

If you're editing a website you might want to learn how to use an apostrophe.

<I>"Racism is not the sole vexation of student?s involved in the Black Student?s campaign."</i>

14. ant   
Oct 02 2008 12:14
 

Have you all seen that episode of South Park where Stan's dad becomes "the N*gger guy"?

While I can't claim to know all the facts intimately I must say I'm ashamed about this entire fiasco, and the behaviour of whatever group has been supporting the Black Students Officer (Black Students Officer??? wtf!!) in this ridiculous charade. It's extremely sad that this group of black students now think its alright to go around bullying people based on what could probably only be described as their own skewed view of society. (don't worry guys, i'm black too, so apparently i'm licensed to use the 'b' word)

As an African-born black I find it increasingly difficult to relate to british-born blacks, simply because there seems to be so little appreciation for the vast opportunity their country seems willing to offer them. While racism does still exist (i know because i've been called names) its just this sort of widespread negativity and unfounded paranoia that "keeps the black man down", and not a whole lot else.

This is a grat article Kirsty, and Chris, in as far as my understanding of the facts is correct, you have my full support.

15. ant   
Oct 02 2008 12:15
 

oops, the word is *great*. my keyboard skills arent too hot

16. Anon   
Oct 03 2008 10:48
 

Regarding comments 2 & 3, it may have escaped you but black people and women have been systematically discriminated against and oppressed for the last few centuries on the basis of their race and gender, and therefore require representation in society.

Also, it may have escaped you both that men and white people have been disproptionately advantaged the last few centuries.

17. Anon   
Oct 03 2008 10:50
 

To comment about the article:

"Simply consider whether he would have been attacked in this way by the NUS, the KCLSU Trustees and the Media if he had been born with a darker complexion." -

Maybe so, but this is the fault of the media. It is still racist. Being black does not exempt you from being racist or holding racist views. Similarily, being gay does not stop you from being homophobic.

Oct 13 2008 23:46
 

17.

It certainly does exempt you from being a racist, infact, that view is endorsed by our national union!

I'll retract the above comment when a white Sabbatical Officer is allowed into the Black Students' Conference as an elected representative of their black electorate.

19. ABoy   
Oct 21 2008 14:09
 

'I am sure at this very moment no one knows what it feels like to be unfairly discriminated against due to the colour of their skin more than Chris Mullan. '

  • Get over yourself. You've obviously lived a very sheltered life if you think that.

'Simply consider whether he would have been attacked in this way by the NUS, the KCLSU Trustees and the Media if he had been born with a darker complexion.'

I think we have a winner for dumbest statement of the year. How many black people will come to a public event and declare that the increase in number of black students attending an institution will cause an increase in knife and gun crime? Or will make and display a banner asking slavery to be brought back?

You're so biased it is incredible. And for those of you who wonder why a Black Student's Officer is needed: The President of Kings was obviously not looking out for the black students at the uni.

This board = cyberspace where Imperial bigots hang out all day and spurt trash they wouldn't say in public for fear of being revealed as being racist.

Oct 21 2008 15:51
 

Because of course publishing something under you own name on a widely read website isn't 'in public'.

And once again you start from an incorrect assumption of what Chris has said. As has been revealed previously, the person who made the original complaint has embellished it 'in public' to make it sound worse than it actually was at the time. That is a matter of record.

21. ABoy   
Oct 21 2008 16:04
 

See that's the thing with you people. You focus on a useless detail completely ignoring the main point of a post.

Allow me to put it in a way in which the least relevant bits don't distarct you from the key point because I can only assume you this is a case of short attention span or maybe just questionable comprehension skills.

The fool said something racist and was punished for it. He is not the victim of racism.

Hopefully that didn't go over anyone's head. You all have a nice day now.

Oct 21 2008 17:01
 

Let me put Ashley's point in a way in which the least relevant bits don't distract you from the key point.

*Someone else* claimed that Chris said something racist. They then admitted that they'd lied in order to make what Chris *actually* said sound worse.

This is not a useless detail. Noone should be labelled in such a damaging way on the basis of a claim that, by the admission of the claimant, WAS NOT TRUE.

23. ABoy   
Oct 21 2008 17:21
 

Why do you feel the need to rephrase Brown's point? Is he not able to do this himself? Or are you just looking to get in on the action, Attention Span? Nothing better to do? I'm dying to know.

Anyway, your unneeded addition aside, this all started with a comment I made which was directed at the author of this comment piece. She made statements (her prerogative, after all this is the comment section, they'll let anyone write in these days. Desperate times, desperate measures) that I didn't agree with and decided to challenge (which I also have a right to do). How this turned into an issue which concerns Attention Span is still one of the world's greatest mysteries, right up there with how you got a place at Imperial.

Oct 21 2008 18:27
 

I'll rephrase it so you don't miss it. This is what I consider to be a correct summary of the situation - don't worry, I'll support my argument with some evidence.

"He said something which someone thought was racist. It was later twisted to definitely sound racist. He was punished for it".

The original complaint contained the following quote:

"Vice Chancellor, you are aware of the implications in attracting more students from the local community, such as increased knife crime. Is this really desirable?"

The embellished quote, discussed in a public meeting was as follows:

"With reference to widening the participation of black students. Do you think this a good idea? Don't you think we should introduce metal detectors because of gun and knife crime. This is socially undesirable."

According to the complaint, at no point did he say that black students were undesirable, or imply that black students shouldn't be admitted to universities - just that people from areas of high crime might cause problems (whether that is fair, or a sensible thing to say, is another matter).

Someone also told the press that Chris was under investigation by the police (which is what eventually led him to be fired), which they have confirmed was not true.

I find it disappointing that you are so ready to attack anyone who disagrees with your point of view, but are unable to provide evidence to support it. By all means, please provide first-hand evidence that what Chris said was racist. I've given you the original quote from the complaint, and the embellished quote which led to the uproar.

  1. Words twisted to make them look worse
  2. Lies sent to the press about a police investigation
  3. Black Students Officer admits that she broke the procedure for the investigation

Are these small irrelevant points? I don't think so.

Oct 21 2008 18:48
 

ABoy: "you people..."

Whaddaya mean YOU PEOPLE?

lol

Oct 21 2008 20:24
 

@ ABoy

Your comments are welcome. The point of Live! is to spark debate and this is the reason for the discussion functionality.

Your tone is not welcome. Please do not tell people that their additions are 'unneeded'. Attention Span is just as free to post on this article as you are.

I don't know where you came from that makes you think that accusing people of being racist (by exposing liars and bullies) and telling people on a public discussion that their (relvant and valuable) comments are not welcome is going to make your argument any more appealing.

If you have anything more interesting to say then send me a comment piece at . Either under your real name or a pseudonym - up to you. I'll then prove to you that 'anything is published these days' as it is also my perogative as editor.

Many thanks,

Live! Editor

27. Anon   
Oct 22 2008 11:24
 

It certainly does exempt you from being a racist, infact, that view is endorsed by our national union!

  • --------

This is an unbelievable statement. You are suggesting that a homosexual man cannot be homophobic? Does his sexual orientation forbid him from making others feel intimidated?

I know personally, homosexual men have been homophobic to others. Whilst he may be homosexual, it does not forbode him from being homophobic towards others.

Just because you seem to belong to a underepresented group doesn't mean that;

a) You define yourselves as they do;

b) You agree with the beliefs and values they do;

c) You fight against the oppression they face.

28. Anon   
Oct 22 2008 11:29
 

To reiterate my response to the comments made at the beginning:

Regarding comments 2 & 3, it may have escaped you but black people and women have been systematically discriminated against and oppressed for the last few centuries on the basis of their race and gender, and therefore require representation in society. This is what liberation is fundamentally about: using officers to challenge the inequality in society.

Also, it may have escaped you both that men and white people have been disproptionately advantaged the last few centuries

29. Jack   
Oct 23 2009 13:44
 

'BLACK' students Ass'n. 'ISLAMIC' Council of Great Britain; BLACK police Ass'n. VOLUNTARY 'APARTHEID' Says it all really - NO further comment required!!!

30. Zen   
Feb 08 2010 00:33
 

Liberal racism alive and well in this post I see. It's so depressing that you can't see why people find this racist -- it's not 'trigger happy emotions'. So many unchecked assumptions go into statements about 'turning down the sensitivity' -- the level at which you find something offensive has a lot to do with your experiences in life so if you've had to deal with racial discrimination (which DOES exist all over the place here still, in varying forms*) as a matter of course, then it is really very difficult to find some of hese kinds of comments 'harmless', etc.

This is a pretty good link: http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf

It's like, 3 pages. What do you have to lose by reading it?

* Some things being better, even if a lot better, do not mean everything is now perfect, even if white people (or whoever the privileged group is in a given sitation) find it easier to wander around feeling less guilty as a result.

Feb 11 2010 09:05
 

all the comments here seem very interesting and debatable, but wouldn't it be more pertinent to avoid this discussion and focus on more important things?

many studies have shown (thomas sowell wrote a very good book summarising many of them) that affirmative action almost always has the opposite effects from its intentions, for a number of reasons. so rather than debate intentions, dreams, ideals, and the semantics of titles, it's probably time everyone face the facts and simply abolish a system that doesn't work. it's a shame much of this academic knowledge, that has existed for at least 20-30 years, has yet to reach the general public :(

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