Amir Khan’s Angry Young Men- perpetuating stereotypes?

Amir Khan's Angry Young MenDid you watch the first episode of Amir Khan’s Angry Young Men last night on Channel 4? “Over four intensive weeks, Amir and his team take six young men with a history of violent and criminal behaviour, and use the discipline of boxing to try to channel their aggression and turn their lives around.”

“Amir Khan also introduces the men to the values of his family and faith, to give them a sense of right and wrong. It’s an opportunity none of them can afford to miss. The police, courts and anger management classes have all failed to keep the six youths away from fighting. This is their last chance to get off the track that leads to prison or death on the streets.” [Watch the trailer]

The religious element is introduced by having some of the ‘angry young men’ talk about their disdain for religion and then contrasting this with Khan’s quiet, polite, supportive experience of religion and a faith-based youth worker and a local priest who are on his team.

In itself this dimension of the rehabilitation is fine – it’s part of who Khan the mentor is and if it works in sorting them out great: they will “try out different churches in Bolton, as well as learning about Islam from Amir Khan. They may not to pursue this when they go home but it helps them to think about their future and the values they want to embrace when their four weeks of intensive training finish.”

But although the Channel website does state that the men “come from a variety of religious traditions” the way this element is set up it perpetuates sterotypes of the degenerate, binge drinking, nihilistic, unreligious youth set against those of the pious, family-orientated, hard working Muslim. Of course the latter stereotype is better than the extremist Muslim sterotype but it a stereotype nonetheless.

To be fair, one of the angry young men is a Muslim and his presence as a (teetotal) violent, swearing figure certainly breaks the media’s saint/ sinner sterotypes (Skins’ Anwar comes to mind as another – also from Channel 4), but so far the narrative is a generally hackneyed one. Then again what can I expect from a reality TV show? I’ll keep  watching though as the narrative and participants could well develop in positive ways.

11 responses to “Amir Khan’s Angry Young Men- perpetuating stereotypes?

  1. My son is in this programme and the whole thing has turned into a sick joke, which will probably end up in court, (as many Channel 4 programmes seem to do these days !) and it is designed to simply improve the image of Amir Khan and his dubious cohort. My son has been libelled on a number of ocassions throughout this and the programme has not yet even been screened.

    These young boys were plied with drink by the producers and encouraged to “big it up ” for the cameras. They were then repeatedly woken when asleep by Amir Khans people to encourage them to swear and act agressively.

    Amir Khan has said publicly that my son “has never achieved anything and is a violent thug”. Amir Khan is on bail for driving like a maniac and putting peoples lives at risk ! My son is 18 and qualified for University by gaining a BTEC in Film and TV production, he attended Uni in Manchester and now has a good job with prospects. He also has a vast number of medals and trophies for sport and has an impressive educational track record. He also qualified for an FA football school of excellence.

    He agreed to take part in this programme because he felt it would be positive to try and build relations with the Muslim community (my son was attacked in the Bradford riots by Asian youths after leaving the IMAX cinema in the town centre in 2001). This all leaves a very nasty taste because as a young catholic boy he went into this with all the right intentions and with clever editing and the media machine against him all his good intentions have been damaged by this. Shame on you Channel 4 and shame on Amir Khan.

  2. Well i watched the program and i thought it was the best! Amir is so humble and modest. How sweet can a guy get? So thoughtful and caring. Nehow, that derek geezer was such a waste and a disapointment. I felt so bad for Amir. Bless him. x

  3. Amir is rated,he spent money to help these youths and what does he get back?swearing and aint hes fault they dont try and are foul mouthed.
    all he wanted woz 2 help youths who are heading the worng way and wanted them to do something more worthwhile.

  4. Hamish (O Project)

    Episode3: The chaplain mentions you don’t need to have a religion to have ethical values. But the programme highlights that when an ordinary person wants or needs some sort of ethical content in their life they get it from the available structures and networks (church, mosque) not from a philosophy book or personal reflection. These methods migh work for some people but surelyonly ever a minority.

  5. hia rite we luvd da program yano like oure gud!!!!! manda liked paul natalie liked antony n rumer liked paddy dey werr all fu*** gourjous we well wana no em !!!!!! luv yas xxxxx

  6. i loved this show and i couldnt get enough! i have no idea why people r saying it was all a setup! it was wicked and i think it was really awesome!
    amir khan rocks! i hope everyone in the especially paul ( he’s so young) get a good job!

  7. The program I thought was ok nothing really special. However I would like to reply to Hamishs statement sayani “the programme highlights that when an ordinary person wants or needs some sort of ethical content in their life they get it from the available structures and networks (church, mosque) not from a philosophy book or personal reflection”. A philosophy book does not nessarcerly give someone ethics in their life also for most people would actually find going to the mosque or church would help give them a better veiw of personel reflectin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  8. hamish it would actually be a majority as most people are faithed rather than atheus

  9. Thanks sol – that’s certaily a lot of exclamation marks you’ve got there. I think I understand what you’re saying, although it’s not 100% clear. People who go to church aren’t necessarily unreflexive, what I meant is that people tend to get their sense of right and wrong primarily from social structures (such as the church) rather than studying ethics from scratch.

    Also I’m not sure the majority of people on the UK are religious – it all depends what question you ask.

  10. how old is paul????

  11. wer can i actually see this thing again please and wer can i download it from thanks my e-mail is

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