“There is no standard course; it is tailored to each individual,” says England Football Association inclusion education advisor Chris Gibbons of the special diversity training he’s meant to provide to Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan (above, right), currently serving a 6-week ban for his comments regarding Jews and the Chinese. As Gibbons explains to The Guardian’s David Conn, “At the end, we encourage people to think about positive things they could say publicly.”
Gibbons,who was formerly responsible for the education campaigns at Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity. says “we absolutely don’t want it to be a lecture by somebody suited and booted from the FA; we structure courses with interactive exercises aimed at helping people to understand the impact their comments or behaviour can have. There are different ways of showing people, even if they didn’t mean something to be offensive, how others can be very, very offended and hurt. We show them some actual responses from the community referred to, discuss big episodes of history where such things were said, we encourage people to put themselves in the place of those who were the subject of the comments.”
Gibbons says that in Whelan’s case he is likely to show the offence which was taken by Jewish people and organisations to the comment that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else” and Chinese people to Whelan’s assertion that calling them “chink” is not offensive. Eight Chinese organisations headed by the British Chinese project reacted furiously to that.
Their spokesman, Michael Wilkes, told the Guardian that the Chinese community is not as well institutionally organised as the Jewish community, but there was great anger at Whelan’s revival of a derogatory term they thought had been largely consigned to history.