I’ve thought about writing something about this for some time, but I didn’t think I had enough exposure on the topic until now. This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, there’s the fact that at work just now our e-learning development Suppliers are writing their first Learning Programmes to the new Standards I’ve just written. This includes the e-learning interpretation of the stance our company has taken on the DDA guidelines for web sites. This is hitting them hard, throwing up a lot of issues, and causing our e-learning to step back in time.
Secondly, there’s been quite a harsh response to some of the posts on the MovieBlog regarding the discussion around the Chris Rock posts. Some of which has become a push against me personally on the verge of accusing me of being a racist.
So, let me tackle the less sensitive, and easier, topic to being with. That of the e-learning development.
Our e-learning has never been cutting edge, it’s been well designed and engaging, but never out at the forefront. Still, we include user interactions in many forms, and we’ve been doing system simulations for quite some time and these have proved very effective.
What we can do is quite limited in terms of the kind of content you would expect to see on the Internet. We are limited by a standard hardware and software specification throughout the company, and to be quite honest these specifications are really low. Windows NT 4, Internet Explorer 4 and Flash 4 for some examples. So if our developers are creating for a large audience they have to build to that low level.
However, they’ve still managed to produce Flash content, some excellent simulations and indeed emulations, and the results have been quite engaging to date.
Now, we have DDA to consider. Within our organisation there was a move towards accepting the full WAI and RNIB See It Right guidelines for all our sites, and a lot of this has been achieved. The required standards are very high for our web sites. What this does mean is that you can visibly see that the pages have a retro quality to them, the are simple and with less interactions and animation. Not such a big deal for corporate web sites.
However, we were informed that we would also have to meet these requirements for our e-learning, and here’s where the difficulties start to arise.
Flash 4 isn’t compliant to these guidelines, so this is where our first concession comes. Any Flash content has to be provided also in script form, i.e. a Word Document. This is also the case for any video, audio or animation. This is not too bad as it’s not affecting the majority of learners and effectiveness of the learning.
The technical teams have chosen JAWS screen reader as the standard for the organisation, and this is quite an old version too. Our developers are finding many a quirk in these, so much so that they are coding specifically to work with this version of the software. Now although that makes it DDA compliant, we’re now tied to a specific version of software, if that changes, we have to change all our e-learning, far too costly. So again, we’re looking at providing script versions of all our content for screen readers.
Here’s an interesting story. Talking with a Fire Officer I learnt of an interesting scenario concerning the learning for tackling fires. They produced some e-learning that showed people how to find fires, identify the correct Fire Extinguishers, and use them on the source of the fire. They have been told that they must make this learning fully DDA compliant along with the Fire Extinguishers themselves. Now I’m not being discriminating when I say that a blind person should not be trying to tackle a fire themselves, what they should be doing, as with everyone else really, is getting the hell out of the building and getting to safety.
However, according to their DDA rules, they must make this compliant because a blind person may need to identify the source of a fire, identify what type of fire it is, find the correct Extinguisher for that fire and then find the source of the fire once more and put it out.
They are being forced into making everything DDA complaint by their organisation and, in turn, the Government. In all of these situations what we are doing is making all e-learning accessible, not educationally effective nor specifically concentrating on the individuals needs, just a blanket approach to the whole issue.
Surely offering a disabled learner a one to one session to go through the learning in an engaging manner is more effective and less condescending than being given a Word document that describes a twenty page, visually engaging piece of learning?
Okay, I’m not going to go on, but you are getting the idea. Two main things are happening here with these guidelines. One, the engagement of the majority of Learners and the educational effectiveness of the e-learning are being heavily affected. Two, we are being forced to offer hugely inferior learning to those users who have a disability that prevents them from using the fuller version of the learning. That is, we are providing these users with text based scripts of what is happening on screen, this is far from engaging learning, nor is it even lifting the scale on learning effectiveness.
I personally feel a third is happening. Now I don’t know anyone who has a disability, and I haven’t managed to talk with anyone in the organisation who needs to utilise this learning or the assistive technology that our technology teams provide as standard, so feel free to comment and correct me if you are one of these people or have a disability yourself.
I’ve always had the impression that people with disabilities want to be seen as people, not as their disability. It’s something that is very prevalent on the adverts you see in Scotland about discrimination against those who have mental health problems. It’s also something that I hope I would reflect in my attitude. However, what DDA seems to do is place a label on people who have disabilities and treat them unfairly. A Word document of learning is not fair, a face to face with someone who can talk them through the learning and engage them directly is much better, but that’s not making our learning DDA compliant.
We’re being forced to focus on a set of standards and guidelines and act on a blanket approach to disabilities and not just engage individuals. In the over political correctness of DDA we are lowering the level of educational effectiveness for all learners in order to reach a level for a minority of people who are not even going to learn from the materials. The approach should be to make accessible what is, in the context of the learning and the organisation, appropriate, and any other learning should be offered to the disabled user in an educationally effective way, not merely making everything accessible so an organisation can put a tick in a box and say “We’re DDA compliant”.
So, to the next one, and if that wasn’t controversial enough, this sure as hell will be.
I posted a comment about Chris Rock’s outburst against the Oscars, and let me quote what I wrote.
I have to say I wasn’t really feeling for or against the whole Chris Rock debate that was going on, and the discussion…and more of discussion and debate…and then sheer resignation. So, let’s get back to that debate part with a rant from someone who previously didn’t give a hoot.
What the hell is the host of the Oscars doing slamming them in public and insinuating all manner of things? Why hasn’t the Academy (Oscar producer Gil Cates in particular) gotten off their asses and sacked this guy to pull in someone who is a) funny and b) doesn’t obtain what little comic value they have by openly belittling such serious and well respected award ceremonies as well as their current employers and the people paying them money?
Why the sudden change and outburst? Well, check out his latest rant from Virgin, and likewise half the Internet:
“I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it’s a fashion show,” Rock recently declared.
“What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one! Awards for art are f***ing idiotic.” When asked what he will be wearing to the show he continued his rant. “Nothing against people who aren’t straight, but what straight guy that you know cares? Who gives a f***?” said Rock.
That’s not all of it either, some reports have him talking about a hell of a lot more. This guy is a prize twat. These are your employers you are talking about, and the most respected Film Awards ceremony in the world. Hopefully your film chances are now down the tubes, oh, forgive me, I’ve just seen your film record, they already are.
“Simply put, this is a disgrace,” one veteran Hollywood mogul, who asked not to be identified, said from Los Angeles. “This guy is out there saying ‘awards for art are f***ing idiotic’ and he is hosting the show produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? I guess the joke is on us!”
Straight up it is (this is difficult, I’m thinking one word then instantly changing to much more acceptable language while typing!). I wouldn’t dare start talking to the press and stating that all the customers of the company I work for are idiots who are also gay (please note that was a similar example of what Chris Rock has said, and in no way do I think the customers of one of the largest financial institutions in Europe are idiots or any other derogatory statement, neither do I believe being gay is negative term or choice of life). What would happen to me? Well I would be sacked immediately and I would no doubt see law suits galore heading my way.
So what does the Producer of the Oscars think? Immediate action perchance? The Oscars reputation and ethics have been brought into question, as well as their panel of voters and their entire audience. Oh yes, here’s what we do, courtesy of the Guardian:
“The Academy is excited about Chris Rock hosting this year’s Oscar telecast and looking forward to a very funny evening with him,” Cates told Reuters. “Chris’s comments over the past few weeks are meant to be humorous digs at the show that some people, obviously including Chris himself, think maybe a bit too stuffy.”
Pause for reflection. Deep breath. What the…? Oh, so I can say all those things in a humorous way now can I? Fantastic. I’m going on record about my employers tomorrow. Give me strength.
They need to change the host. I don’t care how late it is, replace him. Get Stephen Fry in, he’s very funny. What can we expect from the show? A continuous stream of slagging of the Academy, the nominees, the winners, past winners, etc, etc, etc. Not big, not clever, note respectful, not good marketing, and not very intelligent. I’ll wait for the write up’s now thanks.
I think that was pretty clear, I was angry that the upcoming host for the next Oscars had stood by and slagged off the Oscars themselves, the panel of judges, the stars who take part and even the audience themselves. I don’t think I went further than that.
After some discussion, and we’re used to people not agreeing and strong and heated debate, but some guy suddenly pops up and starts discussing why us white folks are against black comedians. Eh?
I want someone to name another black person to host the oscars besides Bill Cosby? You guys don’t like whoopi Goldberg either? Hmmmm, what does that say. Let me break it down. you people don’t like Black comedy. Let me repeat it, You white people don’t like Black comedy. Plain and simple. There is a difference in comedy, one is in your face tell it like it is, and the other goody two shoes let’s have a gee wilikers good time.
This problem with Chris Rock hosting the oscars is only a screen for what the real problem is. If you are going to ask a black comedian to host the oscars then don’t ask him to act white, he is going to tell it like it is, hence this is how blacks interact with peers, some one is always getting cracked on. But it’s not a big deal.
Now If you look at Chris rock’s life outside of comedy. I guarantee you a million dollars, he is squeaky clean to the other actors and actresses. On stage he is a different person.
If you are one of those people who say chris rock is unintelligent then you are mistaken and are likely a fool. He is highly intelligent, and socially aware, this is why white people like him above all the other black comedians. He is smart, funny and edgy at the same time which makes him deadly, and no other black comedian has these attributes.
Listen to when Chris rock talk in interviews, there is substance when he speaks. He is in your face but not obtrusive. If you ever watched the Chris rock shows and his guest you will see just how much knowledge this guy has. Plus Chris rock doesn’t act overly black, look at the way he dresses, you really don’t see him in throw backs, he is very clean and casual. You might think what I’m saying is stupid. But why is Colin powell more liked than AL Sharpton. It’s simple. Colin Powell acts white, and is not too black.
Now lets sum up why the people from the oscars chose Chris Rock:
1. His tone of voice is not too black sounding
2. He is controversial but yet intelligent
3. He style of comedy is very smart and not the average black person’s style
4. He speaks with substance
5. He knows a lot about politcs
6. he is not a hip-hop type of comedian, he is very diversified in all subjects
7. He is almost like a new age philospher, Packaging different concepts that others might not grasp (Philosophy teachers do use Chris rock and his concepts when talking about plato and Socrates theories)
So there you have it. This is why steve harvey will never be chosen and Chris rock will.
Now that really did floor me. Let me just say that that is the first response to my post from this guy, there’s not been conversation in between that is about blacks and whites, and the comments before have mainly been defending Chris Rock. So seeing something like this was quite shocking.
I immediately checked my post to make sure I hadn’t said anything that could be construed as racist, and I hadn’t, so what was this all about when it was clear I was the only one who was having a go at the Oscar host? Although that’s not quite true, the Editor of the site has posted three or four such rants at his previous behaviour against the Oscars.
The only thing I could think, and I hate to make such assumptions, is that this person is overly sensitive to racial issues and immediately thinks that I was slamming Rock because he is black, which is absolute rubbish.
I pointed out what I had said in the post, something that would happen a few times throughout the conversation.
why are you saying it’s because “us white folks” don’t like “black comedians”? What?
There’s a phrase to describe that type of comment, and something I shall not say here or rise to.
This post has nothing to do race. I don’t like the presenter of the Oscars slamming the Oscars, the stars, or the viewers. Whatever colour, sex, religion, inside leg measurement or lowered IQ they have.
Before you even suggest that kind of thing perhaps you would even take a moment to consider if you know anything about the people of whom you are making that accusation?
…and why should we name another black comedian? Why do they have to be black? Perhaps just funny and respectful to their employers and the viewers would be good.
Let’s just keep going with the copy.
you said why do they have to black, that’s just like saying why does a black person need a television show. Well they need some diversity in the show. Just like colleges want diversity in Law schools. So if the oscars seek out a black comedian, why is that a problem? America doesn’t have just white people living in this country. The oscars would like to have a lot black people to watch the show. Is this a problem with you?
Let’s be really real. You know why Chris rock is hosting the show. Simply because jamie fox has a nomination and most likely to win. It is truth that blacks only watch it when blacks are in it. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong that’s just the way it is.
Let me clarify: This is what Chris rock does. he talks about people. Ok Rich, I guess you don’t like that type of humor. But that’s cool. I’m saying chances are If you don’t like him then you don’t like the other comedians, and you probably don’t like comic view on Bet.
Let me reiterate again. Now let’s keep it real. Blacks and the Oscars have always had tension. It’s like a white organization, so this is a way of the oscars reaching out. This is no different then when blacks couldn’t go to the white colleges. I understand your fear. “If you let one classeless guy come in then the whole thing will fall apart.” I just want to let you know that I feel you concerns and fears, but everything will be alright.
I understood about the diversity, but Halle Berry, Denzil Washington, these guys are huge stars and have been honoured. Samuel L. Jackson has been nominated before, won a BAFTA and a New Tork Film Critics Circle Award, both award ceremonies for all, he’s also the biggest earning movie star ever, I think I’m right in saying. So why is Chris Rock now associated because of Jamie Foxx?
Instead of arguing the semantics here, let’s take a step back. This guy started making it into a debate and blacks not being in the Oscars and that I was against black comedians, etc, etc. Looking at his language though he’s being quite racist. If I were to swap all his white and black statements around and post that somewhere I would be hounded for it.
There was no way I was going to mention the Black Awards and how they celebrate the achievements of African-Americans in movies, but never even consider white actors. Isn’t that more segregating than the Oscars? See, already that is skating on thin ice for me, because I’m white and saying it.
Sure the Oscars aren’t perfect, but they aren’t ignoring the black talent, and if there was more black actors out there making really good movies then they would get awards. Washington, Berry, Jackson are examples, and to be honest I would agree that Jackson has lost out many a time, even for nominations. However, that’s the same for white actors, asian actors, any bloody type of actor, there are reams of them that have been missed out and should have been nominated and\or winners.
My response tried to be as reasonable as I could without looking like I was arguing on a race issue, and by now I was very concerned that I was doing that very thing. Yet I love a good argument and I really felt this guy was just being overly politically correct and also a bit antagonistic.
If they need diversity, why does that automatically equate to being black? Surely they could have a comedian who is Eastern, Asian, Mexican, etc, or female.
Nobody buy you is making this about colour.
Now, let’s really be real. Chris Rock is there because, as others have picked up on, he’s controversial and liked by an audience that the Oscars doesn’t tend to attract. A younger audience. They feel it’s time to move on, and this is the way they think they should do it. Plus it’s getting them bags of publicity.
This is not about Jamie Foxx getting nominated either, that’s not the reason they’ve pulled him onboard, otherwise we would have seen him for Denzel or Halle’s Oscars.
What I don’t like, and I will say it once again, is the way he is slagging off his employers, the viewers and the Oscars in general.
Oh, and I have no idea what you’re talking about in your last paragraph. I am neither concerned nor scared. I hardly think that the Oscars can be compared to a “white organisation”. I don’t really think these types of comments deserve any form of response.
Catch that paragraph where I said it again! Now this just did it for me.
You are my dawg and all, but you keep trying to parse words and are missing the point. Now name some asians or eastern indians that are capable of doing the show. Come on b. Look you know and I know that blacks are more represented in movies than those other races. I just want you to name one black comedian or person of some sort to host the oscars? If you don’t like Chris rock that’s cool. I’m all for mexicans and asian hosting the oscars but where are the mexican and asian movies and eastern movies. When most people mention diversity it the first race that comes to mind is black. That’s just the way it is. Why wouldn’t the first person when trying to have to diversity be black. I mean we are the most dominant minority(I know recent statistics have changed that hispanics are the largest minority). There are more blacks in the entertainment industry in America combined than those other races you mentioned.
It just puzzles me of why you keep saying why do they have to be black? would you not like a black host? is this a problem. Again please just name one who you feel would do a good job and I will leave it alone. It wouldn’t bother me at all if a person of another race hosts the show, but you keep alluding to other races so it seems like you would not want a black host. I would love to see George lopez or the hispanic comedian John…. something, host the show. so if the oscars execs are trying to reach out for diversity who would you like to see host?
Ok, I will agree with you on that the oscars want controversy. but it still has a lot to do with Jamie Foxx getting nominated. People are really just starting to recognize Chris rock he wasn’t truly a household name when halle and Denzel won.
These people are smarter than you think, this is a double incentive for blacks to watch it. Chris rock hosts and Jamie foxx wins. This is no surprise. I talked to a number of blacks about this subject and this is how they view it also. You might see it different, but again we are culturally different so we don’t always see eye to eye, which is ok.
I hate to go down this road again. This is what black comedians do. He is going to talk about anyone and everything at the oscars. He might even make fun of the people who pay him. This is what he does. I know you don’t care for that kind of humor, but I kind of expected him to say something like that. he is very satirical. he’s a no holds barred comedian. But wouldn’t you expect him to make fun of the people at the oscars since that’s what he has been doing all his comedic life?
This was just getting infuriating at this point. The guy wasn’t listening to anything I had to say and was overly fixated on the black and white issue. I tried again.
“that blacks are more represented in movies than those other races.” are they? What about Bollywood and Asian cinema?
Look, this has nothing to do with race, you were the one that started down that route. The post is nothing to do with that, and I’m not going down an over politically correct route. If you want some discussion on that then feel free to mail me, but I’m not going down that route here.
The host could be anyone else, as I’ve said, with humour and respect for his employers, viewers and stars. That’s it I’m afraid, that’s all the post is about.
From the response it was clear that he wasn’t understanding what I was talking about, but at least he tried to get back on track.
Ok I understand. this is a public post, and you prefer to stick to the script. I’m cool with that
Lol. did you bollywood or hollywood. Frankly, who cares about asian Cinema? I don’t know, but are their movies regularly incorporated into oscar criteria. The only one I know is crouching tiger.
Don’t get me wrong I love asian movies as much as the next person, but i thought the oscars only represented U.S movies. I could be wrong.
Richard All I ask is that you name one or a few people who are black that could host the oscars besides Wayne Brady and Bill Cosby
Just answer this one question: Please name another person who is black that you would think that would do a good job of hosting the oscars. that’s all I ask. It’s just one simple question.
Chris rock does have respect for his employees. Maybe your respect is different from others.The people who hired him knew he was going to make racial comments about so little of blacks being in the oscar world or watching the oscars. You can have respect for your employers and still make fun of them. again this is what he does. You know it and i know it.
I just want to know how is Chris rock being disrespectful to his employers? please elaborate.
I had. Repeatedly. So I left it there and started another post asking people to suggest another host, should Rock have been sacked, to try and answer the question he raised here. Then he just hijacks it again and starts pulling it back to those issues.
The whole conversation made me very uncomfortable, not because I wasn’t happy about talking through the whole thing, not at all, it’s just not the right forum. He never did email me to discuss it.
Amongst all that nonsense it was very clear to me that I was really careful about what I said, and that was down to being taken into a racism discussion and worrying what people would start perceiving of me should anything be said.
Let me point out, I am not a racist. I have a colour to my skin, and it is a very light skin tone, I also Scottish and a man. So what? What does annoy me about all this is that I had to be extremely careful about what I said, or at least felt the pressure to do so, and the other guy didn’t. Why? Well, because he is an African-American, I of course presume he’s American.
To me this is reverse racism. I’m the one feeling worried about what I should say, and what could cause me serious recrimination. Indeed it made me feel slightly harassed and I went on to worry about it all weekend. Replaying what I had said, checking to make sure I hadn’t really offended anyone, concerned that it might reflect on my work on the MovieBlog. Is that fair?
Both these examples show political correctness which has gone too far, and is turning the dial ion favour of the other parties in the situation. Not, as it should, equalising the level and making it fair for everyone, no matter their colour, sex, ability, height, shoe size, birthplace, etc.
So these examples are a bit more complex and extreme than most, but over political correctness has been building up for ages, and it’s just starting to go too far. My father once told me a story about his previous job when the local Government changed parties. The new party walked in and commissioned an extremely expensive report on what words were now ruled out of use by officials and what words to use in their place. These were words like blackmail and blackboard, which were deemed offensive to people with dark skin.
It’s that kind of story that makes me shake my head in disbelief, and that kind of action that makes me wonder what the people in power are playing at, wasting public funds on such things. Sure, stamp out racism and help individuals have proper and meaningful access to public information, but do it properly and do it on a level playing field for everyone.
Political Correctness should be thrown out the window and common sense, manners and respect should be brought back in. These are the things that solve such issues and therefore have no need for this PC rubbish!