Black producer Colin Grant says BBC shouldn’t edit racism

A senior black BBC producer has urged the Corporation not to erase racist language from its past and criticised its “lamentable timidity” on the subject.

Colin Grant, who has been at the BBC for more than two decades, issued his plea after a DJ lost his job for unwittingly playing an offensive version of The Sun Has Got His Hat On. He argued that the 1932 song, which contains the N-word, should not be removed from the BBC’s playlist.

“Such a decision would be an act of cultural vandalism and would close off a portal to an uncomfortable and disgraceful chapter of our past,” he said.

In a blog on Ariel, the BBC’s in-house news site, he said: “By all means, let us police and contextualise the use of the N-word. But let us not erase the past and with it a word that is an example of a historical specificity that is absolute.”

Mr Grant, who is of Jamaican heritage, said the BBC’s treatment of Radio Devon DJ David Lowe “seems to demonstrate both a failure of duty of care and also a myopia and lamentable timidity when it comes to the subject of race”.

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