The board says it will help protect children, as well as help their parents have a ‘learning moment’ (Photo: ./BBFC)
The way parents learn about racism and discrimination in film and television ratings will change as a result of new research.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which decides on the certification of films and relevant material and provides guidance on the topics covered, has worked with those directly affected by racism and discrimination.
After beginning research on racism and discrimination in movies and TV shows, the BBFC found that parents feared that children would imitate potentially discriminatory behavior or language and were looking for ratings to make informed viewing choices.
Similarly, some parents wanted to talk to their children about discrimination and were looking for information about BBFC ratings to help them do so, the research found.
In its report, the BBFC stated that it would take a strict stance on categorizing the ‘N-word’ into junior categories and emphasize the educational value of documentary references, which may result in lower grades, while being aware of its intention to be a Scenes when rating old movies and TV shows.
When assessing discrimination issues, the BBFC will use the phrase “a masked actor representing a different ethnic origin” to describe the presumed racial identity.
Disney has added content warnings to older movies like Dumbo on Disney Plus in 2020 to highlight and warn against racist stereotypes (Photo: Disney)
The Council will also continue to use the rating information to report when a film or television show contains discrimination and will continue to consider representations of discrimination, or the possibility that children will imitate in any way. Key factors of racism, which can increase age rating.
Lord Kamlesh Patel, Vice President, BBFC, said: “The movements dedicated to raising awareness and combating discrimination and racism have gained ground over the past two years.
“In response, we wanted to see how this affected public opinion in the UK and, in particular, to hear and be heard by those who have been directly affected by discrimination and racism because their voice is important.
“We believe that our role is not only to protect children from harmful content, it is to help parents who wish to use representations of discrimination and racism as a potential teaching moment.”
BBFC CEO David Austin said: “Violent and threatening behaviour, or particularly the use of offensive language, will always worsen the case for discriminatory or racist behaviour.
“However, an explicit condemnation, sympathy for the victims, or a documentary or historical setting can all help frame the footage and potentially give the material educational value to younger audiences.”
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