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Monday 7th March 2005
'Proud of the word "Paki"?'
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On air: Was using this word a sensationalist move on the part of the programme-makers
Debate rages in West Yorkshire after the BBC aired a series of documentaries including one called 'British, Paki and Proud'. Bradford Musician Aki Nawaz says using the name is nothing but sensationalist.
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While the term 'Paki' has been adopted by some young Asians, for many others it is a derogatory term of abuse with overtones of racism.

The BBC programme followed the use of the term 'Paki' over the decades. Although it was deemed acceptable in mainstream television coverage in the seventies and early eighties, for many British Asians today it remains a totally unacceptable form of racist abuse.

However, some young British Pakistanis are
now trying to reclaim the word as a badge they are proud of. The move has been supported by entrepreneur Abdul Rahim who is making clothes with the logo 'Pak1' on them.

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"There was Paki bashing. They were insulting, there is no other way of looking at this word."

Bradford Musician Aki Nawaz who appeared in the programme 'British, Paki and Proud' says he didn't realise it would be called that when he agreed to be interviewed. In a discussion on BBC Radio Leeds he says: "I'm disappointed with the title. I was told last week. If I had known the title in advance I would have said, 'I will not do it under that title'. The term being endorsed I have a real problem with, it is absolutely unacceptable."

Aki Nawaz has experienced racism himself with people using the word 'Paki' offensively: "As I was growing up in Bradford and Leeds I'd be walking around and people would be going 'get that Paki' and there was Paki bashing. They were insulting, there is no other way of looking at this word.

"The thought that in the streets people will be calling anyone - it doesn't matter whether you're Pakistani or not, if you're brown and you look Asian - 'that' word. The word is going to be used to abuse them. I think if you're a young women or have young children, the term can create a lot of psychological problems for them."


"There's a history and a weight to that word, it's a derogatory and insensitive word. It is also being used by predominately younger Asian youth among themselves, but then it carries a different weight. But to say it is okay to be used daily in society, I think that just encourages people who probably already use it, and are racist to use it without any fear of getting into trouble."

The BBC have defended their decision in a statement saying they just wanted to generate a debate around how some Pakistanis wanted to reclaim the word:
"The decision to use 'Paki' in the title of the film was not taken lightly and the programme makers are in no way endorsing its use.

"'British, Paki and Proud' is a thought provoking documentary which seeks to challenge assumptions and the title reflects the fact that some young British Pakistanis are trying to reclaim the word as a badge they are proud of."

To add your views on this subject, e-mail us: westyorkshire@bbc.co.uk

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