Cancelled: Biff, Chip and Kipper book pulped by Oxford publishers in racism row

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For racism, read Islamophobia. Which is a made up word. From the Telegraph

A popular children’s book from the Biff, Chip and Kipper series has been withdrawn following complaints that its portrayal of Muslim people was racist. The Biff, Chip and Kipper collection has been used in primary schools for over 30 years and was recently made into a show on the children’s channel CBeebies.

Oxford University Press (OUP) has pulped copies of The Blue Eye, in which the young characters are transported to a foreign land with the help of a magic key.

The children find themselves in a busy street market, which appears to be somewhere in the Middle East, where the men wear white turbans and a woman is dressed in a niqab.

“Let’s stay together,” says Biff. “The people don’t seem very friendly.” Another character, Wilf, says: “I don’t like this place. It’s scary.”

In The Blue Eye, the first men that the children see are aggressively kicking a door down as they chase a woman, who escapes through a window. The woman turns out to be a princess and the children join her, pursued by the thugs as the story becomes an action adventure.

They make it safely to her kingdom, where the people also wear turbans and the women wear hijabs, and where everyone is friendly and welcoming.

While some readers said critics should see the dialogue and plot in the context of “baddies” pursuing the princess, and suggested that the children were simply scared by being in unfamiliar surroundings, others said it was Islamophobic.

“What makes this so bad is that this book is used in school to teach kids to read. So they also get to learn how to be Islamophobic at the same time,” said one Twitter user.

Ash Ahmad, a diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing consultant, posted on LinkedIn: “I’m sure, like myself, many of you have read Biff and Chipper books when you were younger and most people loved them, but because we were so young we couldn’t see what was wrong with them. So inappropriate. People were brainwashed from a young age to stay away from Muslims [who were] labelled as scary people.”

The publisher said: “The book was taken out of print completely in March this year following an independent review, and is no longer available to purchase. OUP destroyed its own remaining stock of the book, although a small number of copies may still remain in the supply chain. Some older titles may still be available in libraries, or as second-hand copies.”

The Telegraph comments are good. So good I expect them to be deleted by bedtime.

  • How can they be in a foreign land? One of the blokes has a Tesco bag?
    REPLY
    it’s Tower hamlets!!!
  • I’ve never got past the fact that one of the characters is called “kipper”. Does he mind? Is he self-identifying as a fish or a breakfast?
  • “So inappropriate. People were brainwashed from a young age to stay away from Muslims [who were] labelled as scary people.” They should stay away if they are they are wearing rucksacks. Or carrying liquids on planes. Or taking an interest in local girls. Or walking to the front of the plane. Or standing near the finish line at the marathon.
  • They are not very friendly, they behead white aid workers that they capture.
  • Let’s tell children there is nothing to be frightened about. Don’t fear a man with a backpack at your next concert. Dont fear a man inviting you to be his girlfriend in Oldham when he’s twenty years older than you. Don’t fear anyone, the world is a lovely place full of hope and love. Unless you’re a white heterosexual man of course.
  • A children’s book is pulped because a Muslim somewhere MAY be offended – but it is OK to have hate sermons in mosques calling for the eradication of Israel.
  • Also OK to have children killed while going to a concert.
    REPLY
    Or fiddled with
  • Looks like some kids that are on a day out in London to me

You get the idea.

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