As a British Pakistani, the BBC’s obsession with identity politics is making me feel alienated



On a usual Sunday, I scrolled mindlessly on Twitter, only to be astounded to find a post by the BBC initiating that the British countryside is racist. “While @DwayneFields found solace in the landscapes of the UK and beyond, many in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups see the countryside as being a white environment,” read the bizarre post by BBC Countryfile.

As expected, the tweet garnered a justified backlash from the public. How on Earth could it be possible that the countryside – a quiet and green rural space – is a symbol of racism and oppression for “BAME” individuals such as myself? 

The BBC’s activity is highly questionable. Why is this taxpayer-funded organisation choosing to encourage provocative “woke” concepts that will simply fuel racial tensions? The assumption, by the BBC, that nature is in some way a threat for ethnic minorities such as myself is also deeply offensive and patronising.

This appears to be just the latest manifestation of the BBC’s ethos and “values” – “values” which are increasingly dominated by radical, left-wing identity politics. The institution has in recent times become a hub for “progressive” identitarianism, a crude, divisive ideology that masks itself under the guise of social justice. 

I have experienced the BBC’s attitude first hand. Between late 2018 and 2019, I had the opportunity to take part in work experience at both BBC Manchester and BBC London. It was a valuable time I’m grateful for – not only did it provide me with valuable industry insight, but it was crucial in awakening me to the dangers of identitarianism.

Perhaps naively, I expected the BBC to help nurture my perspective of the world and British society – how wrong I was. By the end, I felt totally suffocated; virtually every interaction I had at the organisation seemed to be channeled through the lens of race and inter-sectionalism.

The BBC, a once respectable and leading news organisation, had clearly succumbed to the enormously divisive plague of identity politics. The same organisation, which had delivered historic interviews and astonishing journalism in the past, was now engaging in fierce political correctness and group think. 

As someone aspiring to cultivate new experiences at the organisation, I was left feeling alienated and isolated. I do not view the world around me through socially progressive biases, but through meaningful discussions and observations; something the institution seriously lacks.

Whilst I was there, the fixation, across almost every news story and topic of discussion, was with a person’s race, sexuality and gender. Tribal identity politics at the organisation and perceived stereotypes of the “BAME” community combined to make me feel like a victim due to the colour of my skin, rather than a free individual with an independent mind. 

My experience at the organisation was a breaking point. It decoupled me from “woke” identity politics, and led me to understand the social stigmas encouraged by such powerful institutions. 

No, BBC, the countryside isn’t racist. If the organisation continues to tread this divisive path, it will lead itself down a slippery slope that is making me feel like all they really care about is my – and my friends’ (of all backgrounds) – skin colour. We are, all of us, individuals with individual thoughts, not racial or sexual tick-boxes. Whatever the BBC thinks it’s doing at the moment, let me make it clear: it certainly isn’t doing it for me. 

Ramsha Khan is a writer and journalist. Follow her on twitter: @Ramshaaleeze