Is it any wonder, with our news media, that Paris Brown has opinions like this?

Ah, the Daily Mail. One of Britain's most popular and well read newspapers which in the past has seen fit to victimise those on benefits, transsexuals, homosexuals, asylum seekers, migrants and many more, now finds itself spitting venom at someone who isn't even legally an adult.

Joe Jones is a writer and blogger from Nottingham

Ah, the Daily Mail. One of Britain’s most popular newspapers, which in the past has seen fit to victimise those on benefits, transsexuals, homosexuals, asylum seekers, migrants and many more, now finds itself spitting venom at someone who isn’t even legally an adult.

Paris Brown is a typical British seventeen-year old girl from Kent.

I don’t know her personally, but if you really have to come to a conclusion about someone’s personality from social networking, such as Facebook or Twitter, then I would say she is a bit brash, immature, gobby, outspoken, and doesn’t think before she speaks; or at least not before she took up the post of Youth Police Commissioner in her region, where media savviness will be crucial.

So, a normal teenager then.

The Daily Mail has latched on to the fact that her tweets, now deleted, contained material of a sexual nature, of a violent nature, of a homophobic nature, and of a racist nature. The article, published online on the 7 April 2013, asked whether this “foul-mouthed, self-obsessed Twitter teen” was fit to become Britain’s first youth police commissioner.

At this point I suspect the majority of readers would agree.

However I would ask you to consider a few things.

Consider how when you were a teenager, you were careless, care-free, and did or said a lot of stupid things which you regretted, and possibly still regret, as you matured.

Consider the informal gossip you were subjected to and possibly contributed to when in the office or out with friends, where politically incorrect things sometimes slipped out and may even have been the subject of a few laughs; but because of the verbal nature of the exchanges, the exact words were lost in the ether.

And consider the nature of the media and peers that teenagers are subjected to on a daily basis, which will influence their still-forming opinions.

Much as it would be good to live in a society where any racist, homophobic, sexual and violent conversations, actions, slurs and thought have been completely expunged, the reality is that they permeate throughout society.

A prime example is football, a topic close to my heart. Homophobia is still rampant in the sport, and I’m not talking just about the fans, I’m talking about the establishment, which is pushing through reforms at a snail’s pace.

Now I dislike Paris’ use of the words “fag” and “faggot” – they’re horrible words – but I doubt she is the only one in her peer group, or her college, who has used that word in a derogatory context. It’s a word she would have heard on television, in movies and in class, and if she follows football and listens to the radio, she would likely have heard it when a famous footballer said it on a popular morning radio programme.

The Daily Mail’s sole example of Paris’s ‘violent’ tweet was one where her brother hit someone in retribution for giving his friend a black eye. Funny that, as any violent crime reported on the Mail’s pages results in a torrent of comments calling for capital punishment to be reintroduced. If anything, the Mail should praise her for her “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” approach.

Now onto racism. Britain has made great efforts to try and eradicate racism from our society. Overt displays of racism or support of racist individuals or organisations are in decline, and you only need to look at the declining influence of the likes of the British National Party/National Front, who 30 years ago were a serious threat to British society, as well as the widespread scorn over Sunderland’s decision to hire Paolo Di Canio, who has previously publicly identified as a fascist.

However, xenophobia still surfaces, and a common thread is the view that immigrants are benefit scroungers and only come here to take British jobs and benefits.

Take a moment, however, to think about which media outlets are mostly responsible for this kind of view.

Interestingly, typing “Daily Mail Gypsies” into a search engine brings up this story on the first page: “How to crush a gypsy camp French-style: It took us 10 years to clear Dale Farm but France’s ruling have smashed six Roma camps in as many weeks. Guess where the gypsies want to come next”.

So, here’s a thought. After reading the above, can you guess who it is that helps perpetuate these ignorant views and sentiments? If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll tell you who: it’s the right-wing media.

The media that blamed the welfare state for Mick Philpott’s manslaughter of six of his children, tarring all benefit claimants with the same brush.

The media that pushed a transsexual teacher over the edge and to suicide.

The media that just couldn’t accept that Stephen Gately’s sudden death was not caused by anything sordid.

The media that regularly demonises immigrants, referring to them as scroungers, criminals, and unwilling to integrate.

Is it any wonder that, with a media like this, your typical teenage girl has the opinions that she has?

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11 Responses to “Is it any wonder, with our news media, that Paris Brown has opinions like this?”

  1. TM

    I’m sorry I usually agree with your articles but a typical teenager? And you know this because? My teenage nephew wouldn’t even dream of spouting the rubbish that she did, and maligning other teenagers by saying that they are the same as her is a disgrace.

  2. Circuit Ben

    I see your point, but I never posted hateful shit on the internet, and I’ve had an internet connection since I was 13, (19 years ago). If these views go unchallenged, then how exactly is Ms Brown supposed to realise the error of her ways? She was posting equally offensive tripe on her new “Private” account, even after this story had broken, and only ceased doing so after being pulled up on it by other twitter users.

    It’s one thing to make it clear to Ms Brown that this kind of hatred is unacceptable in public, it’s quite another to change her viewpoint, and stop this kind of bigotry effecting her work.

    I’m not letting the Daily Mail off here. but they aren’t the only source of hatred in the country, it is, after all, a traditional Tory value.

  3. Bowiewhist

    sadly try producing a medium that doesn’t rabble rouse and too few people read it for it to be sustainable. I was a journalist for 12 years and when I realised that my attempts at balanced reporting were old fashioned because the majority of the readership crave sensationalism I quit. Meanwhile I do agree with other comments that in my experience this 17 year old isn’t typical of teenagers. But perhaps the idea of having a youth police commissioner is flawed any way. There are reasons why 18 is the year of coming of age/voting etc. Personally I think 21 is even better.

  4. SadButMadLad

    And the left don’t have a hatred bone in their body. I am surprised!

  5. ghost whistler

    She sounds ignorant and stupid.
    A lot like the Daily Mail.
    The position she holds is patently ridiculous – particularly, assuming any credibility to the story given it’s source, if she is ignorant and stupid.
    However the Daily Mail isn’t a 17 year old child. It’s a paper run by intelligent, calculating people with a desperate and disgusting agenda.
    I know which one i’d rather get rid of.

  6. Socrates11

    Typically young women are much less inclined to be involved in politics than young men. Whether this is related to the confrontational, bear-pit nature of politics, the aggressive and often inadequate UK media or a lack of role models or genuine political opportunities is not particularly clear.

    So I am glad this young women has the opportunity to be in a political place of influence even if I disagree with the divisive, stereotypical language she has used. It is with no small irony that serving officers in the police force can sometimes be seen to display far worse characteristics of racism and sexism yet are allowed to continue unchecked in their roles. I wonder why the outcry seems to be less?

    The influence of tabloid media on exposing, reinforcing and maintaining people’s prejudices is of great concern. A fragmented society where people dislike and mistrust each other is not a sustainable situation as the rise of fascism during the 1930s and 40s in Germany illustrated.

  7. Farah Damji

    Loving the moral high ground brigade perspective on this
    Of course none of you have ever done anything even vaguely embarrassing.
    Get some humility.

  8. FB

    There’s plenty to criticise in the views that Ms Brown expressed. There’s no need to stoop to making pathetic ad hominem attacks, that’s the mark of a simpleton. We should set an example to people like Ms Brown by attacking the words, not the person.

    However, her racial and homophobic pejoratives were also ad hominem attacks, so she’s certainly experienced how hurtful such attacks are. I confess that this somewhat dulls any sympathy I might have felt for Ms Brown.

    Finally, I’m frustrated by the constant referencing to her youth as an excuse. Yes, there are probably lots of similarly foul mouthed and ignorant teens (adults too) but not all of them. I’ve said plenty of cringeworthy things in my youth; puerile humour, lame jokes, ham-fisted attempts at relationships and so on…but never racial or homophobic abuse.

    Youth is not an excuse, nor is “lots of other teens do it” an excuse. That’s feeble apologism. There’s a clear difference between an embarrassing faux pas and hate speech.

  9. salamisausage

    Mr. Jones, Your description of her attributes and
    the nature of her comments on social media present a picture of a
    brash, ignorant and prejudiced teenager. She resembles more the
    school bully than she does the majority of her peers. One wonders
    what on earth she can contribute to her local Police Commission.

  10. Timx

    I wonder how many of the sanctimonious critics of Ms Brown can claim never to have done anything they are ashamed of as children? I am deeply sorry for Paris Brown and I’m sorry she can’t take up her post. She has learned a hard lesson, and I hope other teenagers will take the lesson on board. I despise the ethos of the Daily Mail and would really like the chance to scroll through the journalist’s dark childhood secrets: I’m sure they are there!

  11. marge

    “immigrant scroungers” is an awful term, but the afro-caribbean community has low employment rates and high benefit claimant rates. as does the bangladeshi and pakistani communities (and for all I know the ecuadorian, innuit and martian communities).

    so, poor wording but factually correct in some cases

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