This week 30 years ago: Hackney Downs School cancels Beezer subscription because of ‘racist’ character True Brit

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

Hackney Downs School cancelled its subscription to The Beezer comic, because of its “racist” new character – True Brit.

The Gazette reported how teachers at the school in Downs Park Road thought the patriotic character who defended all things English and wore a Union Jack jumper could have a “sinister influence” on children.

The arch enemies in the strip are the Silly Party and when they attack anything British, Tommy Britain becomes True Brit, and uses super human powers to put the world to rights.

But teachers, who used the comic to teach kids with learning difficulties how to read, found the character offensive.

Teacher Kay Coussens said: “The school is multi-racial and many of our children noticed the comic strip was racist. There was one story where the Silly Party paint a rainbow on the white cliffs of Dover to “give the other colours a chance”. True Brit erupts in fury and uses his power to lob 100 gallons of whitewash over the cliffs – splattering the Sillies.

“Our worry is that comic characters do have great influence on children. The images used in True Brit are very powerful and promote white superiority and rubbish anything “fanny and foreign”.

Beezer editor Alan Digby said: “Our only intention is to entertain and I don’t see any substance in these complaints.”