There is No 'Muslim Ban'
Share This Article:
Consider the following scenario. A classroom full of children is kept late, missing the start of lunchtime, because of poor behaviour. This class has a record of such, and the headmaster – a boorish man with little regard for nuance – is all for giving every one of the 40 children a detention. Others in the staffroom object to this, believing that much of the trouble can be blamed on just seven students. Work was carried out, under the headmaster’s predecessor, to identify the difficult individuals and a policy has already been drawn up. The headmaster does not much care to argue the point, for there are many more pressing matters that occupy his time and, to the extent that he has one, his mind. So he accepts the limitation and tasks his deputies to deal with it quickly whilst he sits down to work on a new, school-wide ‘code of conduct’. The next day, the same class causes trouble. Their teacher, empowered by this temporary order, releases all but the seven perpetrators. She knows that several of those she has released are actually responsible for the trouble, but as their parents are on the school’s governing council she thinks it wise to overlook their misdeeds. She informs the seven that they are not to come to class tomorrow, and will sit their lessons in a separate room under the tutelage of the school’s loud and sadistic PE teacher. Additionally, they are each to receive detention for one week. Knowing that one of the seven has a troubled home-life, the teacher sits him aside and informs him that his parents are to be brought in so that they may discuss the best way to solve the problem. The teacher sends the boys away; the new measures will take effect immediately. The next day, one of the headmaster’s professional rivals – whom he has very recently beaten to promotion – calls her friend at the local newspaper. She informs them that, because of trouble in the school, the headmaster has placed every child in detention for a whole year! She tells the reporter that she believes he has done this because most of the school is of an ethnic minority, and previous statements made by the headmaster have given her cause to suspect him of racial prejudice. She states that those students who are white and British are getting preferential treatment, and that the ban itself is evidence that her suspicions were well-founded. The newspaper goes to print. Parents are outraged. They organise protests. The national newspapers cover the story, and each runs headlines containing the word “racist ban.” This becomes a popular refrain on social media. Now, one might find much to disagree with in the actions of the headmaster. One might, at the same time, deplore the brazen lies told by the headmaster’s rival and repeated unquestioningly by the local and national newspapers. The headmaster, though an oaf, has not done what the papers claim he has done. And one sees that, quite obviously, it is possible to hold the view that lies have been told to make the headmaster’s policy seem very much worse than it actually is.
- Article continues below...
- More stories you may like...
- With crime-solving at an all time low, who’s to blame?
- Multilingualism makes us British - despite what Boris Johnson might insist
- What it means to be proud in 2019