There is a bit of a stink over a supply teacher in a Crawley school allegedly using a dubious mnemonic to teach the colour coding of resistors.Â The teaching method in question is a device for remembering the colour sequence black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey, white by using the catchy phrase “black boys rape our young girls but virgins go without“.
Predictably, the complaints about the rhyme itself are overwhelmed by complaints that reprimanding the teacher represents ‘political correctness gone mad’.Now I’m not black nor a boy, so I can’t comment first-hand on whether it would make me feel stereotyped as a rapist, with a hint of underage sex.Â I’m also neither a young girl nor a rape victim so I can’t comment first-hand on whether I would feel comfortable having a crime against my person trivialised as merely ‘saucy’ – let alone the bizarre suggestion that virgins are somehow missing out on the pleasures of rape, but I’m sure everyone would have been happier with a less provocative mnemonic.
One argument used in support of this teacher is that the rhyme does work and is memorable and so everything is all right.Â This is true to the extent that the alternatives offered up are quite frankly poor, but surely somebody could come up with something even more memorable that even black boys and young girls would be comfortable reciting – unless we don’t want them to get involved in electronics?
Wikipedia gives these alternatives, amongst others:
- Bad boys run our young girls behind victory garden walls
- Big boys race our young girls but Violet gernerally wins
- Bye bye Rosie, off you go Bristol via Great Western
- B B Roy of Great Britain has very good wife
- Bak bro yeah greasy blubber’s very grabbable, why?
- Big brown rabbits often yield great big vocal groans when gingerly slapped
The last one has the advantage of also including the last two colours, gold and silver, that most rhymes leave out, but none of them is particularly good and I really can’t see why the Wikipedia article describes No. 5 as easy to remember.
So here’s the challenge.Â Use some of the energy wasted in moaning about ‘political correctness gone mad’ to come up with a mnemonic for BBROYGBVGW(GS) that is really easy to remember, so easy to remember that even die-hard racists would prefer to use it.Â ‘Saucy’ is fine – but only a definition of saucy that doesn’t class rape as an amusing incident.
I don’t think I can do it, but I’m sure somebody out there can.
- Blair became really obscure,Â yet Gordon blew voters, gaining weight, going sideways
- barbecue burning ready – obviously you get blowy violent gales with golden showers
See.Â I said I couldn’t do it.Â Why not show me up by coming up with a really good alternative.