Yeah, again, probably don't read this if you came to this site after seeing one of my kids shows...
This is about the most horrific thing I recall a teacher at my school ever saying. As grim as the content is, the offhand way in which it was said and accepted by us is almost more shocking.
More than anything it highlights how much things have changed since even the mid nineties,
So, Mr Turnbull (I'm almost certain it was him, Mr Ritson & Mr Wilson also taught the same subject but it wasn't them I don't think) taught technology. You know, wood work, metal work, shite like that. Sometimes, in the course of his lessons he'd teach us handy little 'Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain' mnemonics to help us remember stuff.
At one point, he wanted to teach us about the colour codes for resistors (I don't know what this means). So he taught us the following mnemonic:
Black Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Virgins Go Without
Read that again and know that, yes, that's what he said.
There is a lot wrong with that but first, one positive... I have definitely remembered it.
Now, he said it casually and we wrote it down casually too, in a matter of fact way. It was only later that I thought "That's a bit odd". One minor quibble is that the mnemonic uses the letter 'B' three times, which is blue? Which is brown? Don't worry about it.
So, here are a number of problems with what Mr Turnbull said, I wonder if you have spotted any?
1. 'Our' girls. We were a class without any black kids in it, already he's casually setting an us vs them agenda. Also, there is the the possessiveness us a group of mainly boys referring to girls as 'ours'.
2. Virgins go without. This suggests two things. Firstly, that the virgins would have felt that they'd missed out by not being raped and secondly that it bestows the rapists with some sense of morality. As though they wouldn't do that to a virgin.
3. It also, and take into account that I went to a Catholic school, suggests that it is better to remain pure. Certainly we were taught this in our sex education lesson which was taken, without any sense of self awareness, by a priest.
4. 'Young girls'. Do they mean underage? Presumably they do, it makes a horrific thing even worse.
5. I have googled this, another version end with 'But Violet Gives Willingly'. I don't know if that is a more or less depressing version...
What I could not find, was a reference to the version Mr Turnbull used. I did find one that said 'Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Virgins Go Without', which is slightly better because it at least confers some sort of moral judgement on them.
I feel like Mr Turnbull heard that version and went "Yeah but they'll have been black probably."
Around this time, a lad called Wasim came into our school, it was an almost all white school. The poor bugger was paraded around like some sort of rare bird, even the teachers would snigger at him, it was horrible.
I don't know Mr Turnbull as a person, I bet he didn't think of himself as a racist or a sexist but, in casually trotting this out he contributed to an environment that would have seemed retrogresive in the 1970s let alone the 1990s.
My son, Keir, has recently done his GCSEs, a number of people in his class are gay and have come out as such. Nobody in my year did, although a number have since. It would have been a dangerous thing to do, it was definitely a place where you would be told by some awful people that you would go to Hell if you did.
It was over twenty years ago now but, as recently as 8 years ago, Keir was racially abused at school (He's part Yemeni and the closest thing the school had to a black kid) but, when we complained, we were told that he wasn't, because the boy who did it was 'a lovely lad'. The witnesses counted for nothing.
All we could do was change schools (For this and other reasons) to the wonderful Bill Quay Primary, to whom we are massivelt grateful.
I think what I'm saying is, shame on you St Wilfrids of South Shields in the early-mid 90s, I'm sure you are different now and shame on you St Joseph's Primary of Jarrow in the first few years of this century, I'm glad you finally figured out why so many pupils moved to new schools.
Incidentally: Brazilian Boys Rush Over Yonder Goal Bellows Very Good Winger.
Took 20 seconds to think of that.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!