Viewers soon expressed outrage after the racist views between the kids from the different racial backgrounds emerged.
The show featured Tamworth Enterprise College, a secondary school in Tamworth, England comprised of a roughly 95% White British student population, swapping 12 year-eight and year-nine students with those from Saltley Academy, a secondary school in Birmingham with less than 1% White British students.
In an early scene from the show, the class revealed some racial stereotypes they had about each other.
Some of the opinions the white pupils held regarding their Asian classmates included being “horrible and nasty,” being feared by people for “whatever reason,” which the Asian students immediately replied “Islamophobia,” and believing Asian students thought differently due to their race.
One pupil from Tamworth Enterprise College referred to the group of Asian students as “burkas,” stating, “apparently the burkas are like trying to, like, ban bacon and get rid of bacon which if they did I wouldn’t be happy.”
It did not take long before the students from both sides shared even more alarming views about not only race, but gender as well.
Some students expressed their discomfort when they realized that they were suddenly in the minority.
“Now they’re staring at us over there,” a student named Dan noted. “You just feel like they can judge our ways really just because we’re a different skin color.”
“I’m really scared, you have no idea,” another child shared.
“Shall I say my honest opinion? I just don’t like gay people,” 13-year-old Kiran said in reference to Lucas, who identifies as bisexual and transgender. “I just, I don’t know. I feel weird around them.”
What’s more disappointing, however, was that the prejudiced views were also reflected in the students’ parents.
“I’ve not met many Asians in Tamworth because they’re all in Birmingham,” Dan’s mum, Kate, said.
“They’ve not come over yet. I’m waiting for them to come over here and try and take our jobs.”
Twitter erupted with reactions from unamused viewers using the hashtag #GreatBritishSchoolSwap:
‘Lets play Spot the White Man’
‘Prophet Muhammad Ali’
‘The burques are banning bacon’
‘I just don’t like gay people’
‘How can somebody be so white’
There are deeply rooted stereotypes that divide are nation. We need to do more to fight discrimination. #GreatBritishSchoolSwap
Before any of you get too judgemental whilst you watch this. Just remember these kids are 13 years old they aren’t grown up their opinions even at 13 are probably still largely influenced by their family #GreatBritishSchoolSwap
At the end of the day #GreatBritishSchoolSwap is about 13/14 year olds learning about a community that they have never experienced/interacted it. They will make mistakes. They may cause offence. But they will learn from them, which is the whole point of the show.
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