Author Topic: Learning about prejudices...  (Read 914 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Learning about prejudices...
« on: May 30, 2012, 09:09:13 AM »
Pupils asked 'why do some people hate Jews?' in GCSE exam

 Ministers have criticised Britain’s biggest exam board after pupils were asked to explain “why some people are prejudiced against Jews” as part of a GCSE.

More than 1,000 teenagers are believed to have sat the religious studies test paper which challenged pupils to assess the reasons behind anti-Semitism.

 The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, which set the exam, said the question acknowledged that “some people hold prejudices” – and did not attempt to justify them.

 But the move has prompted criticism from the Government and religious leaders.

 Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, branded the move “insensitive”.

 He told The Jewish Chronicle: “To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre. AQA needs to explain how and why this question was included in an exam paper.”

Mr Gove added that it was “the duty of politicians to fight prejudice, and with anti-Semitism on the rise we need to be especially vigilant”.

 Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “Clearly this is unacceptable and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jews or Judaism.”

 Pupils across Britain sat the GCSE exam in religious studies last week. It contained the question: “Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews.”

 A spokeswoman for AQA told The Jewish Chronicle that the question “acknowledges that some people hold prejudices; it does not imply in any way that prejudice is justified”.

 The exam board insisted that the question was part of a paper focusing on Judaism and the “relevant part of the syllabus covers prejudice and discrimination with reference to race, religion and the Jewish experience of persecution”.

 “We would expect [students to refer] to the Holocaust to illustrate prejudice based on irrational fear, ignorance and scapegoating,” she said.

 She added: “The board is obviously concerned that this question may have caused offence, as this was absolutely not our intention”.

 Ofqual, the official exams regular, said that it was in discussion with AQA, adding: “We will take appropriate follow-up action if necessary.”

 Rabbi David Meyer, the executive head of Hasmonean High School, whose pupils did not sit the AQA test, told the paper that the question had “no place” in an exam.

 “The role of education is to remove prejudices and not to justify them,” he said.

 But Clive Lawton, formerly an A-level chief examiner for religious studies, said: “I do understand why people might react negatively to the question, but it is a legitimate one.

 “Part of the syllabus is that children must study the causes and origins of prejudice against Jews.”

The Telegraph

They caused a storm in the waterglass! Of course, only when you know why somebody could be prejudiced, you can recognize his prejudice as such, help him to overcome that and solve a possible conflict.


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Re: Learning about prejudices...
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 10:18:40 AM »
The question was rather insensitive but, nevertheless, a reasonable one. Prejudice is inbred or learned and it's healthy for students to be encouraged to think about it. Perhaps a more general question about racial and religious prejudice would have been more acceptable.

When I was a nipper, we were shown at school a map of the world and told that all the red coloured countries were 'ours'. Then we were shown images of people from 'The Empire' in national costume and encouraged to laugh at them. Hardly a good preparation for the 'Winds of Change' speech. At home, I was taught about the evil Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses. Mother didn't have much to say about Jews, probably aware of her own ancestry. Later, I was told that the immigrant Jamaicans were immoral and ate cat food, Chinese ate cats and Indians were dirty. I've no doubt that some individuals deserved those descriptions but what a way to prepare children for the changing world! Everything that was told to me at school and at home was within the law at the time. I'm glad that things have changed, but sometimes they seem to have gone too far. I'm not happy about being forced to avoid the corns of others while they can cheerfully tread on any that I might have. When race laws were being introduced, there was a barber shop in my home town that made it clear whites weren't welcome. Sauce for the goose and and all that!

I don't like racism but laws and practice against it have to be applied equally and sensibly. If a black guy can take the piss out of me because of my age and hair colour, none of which I can help, why can't I take the piss out of him because of his skin colour? What I mostly object to is race and religious hatred. Too much trouble in the world is caused by hate. A little more humour and less dogma would go a long way.

Some of the best race and religious jokes I have ever heard were told by people in the target group. Irishmen know all the best Irish jokes. This true story is one of my favourites:

I once had a Jewish girlfriend who was almost a caricature of a TV comedy actress popular at the time. She told me about something that happened at a Saturday gathering of the whole local family. One of the children was  asked to sing a song she learned at school. She stood in the middle of the circle and sang, from beginning to end, 'Jesus Loves Me For A Sunbeam'. The room fell silent. Then uncle stood up and said, 'Well, he was a good Jewish boy!' End of tension and laughter. Perfect.

Online Taman Tun

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Re: Learning about prejudices...
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 06:09:28 PM »
“Part of the syllabus is that children must study the causes and origins of prejudice against Jews.”

This snippet on definition of predudice from Wikipedia:-

Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a "feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience."

I hope that the syllabus also included the question of the illegal settlements in the West Bank.  Are these illegal settlements real or "not based on actual experience"? Maybe the syllabus compilers should ask the Palestinians?
If the old only could, if the young only knew.