Pupils from years 4, 5 and 6 from Presteigne Primary School in Powys piled into a hall in Newtown Football Club yesterday to learn about why racism happens and what they can do to prevent it.
The workshop began with our very own ex-footballer and education worker Christian Roberts. Christian asked the usual opening questions: ‘what is racism’, ‘is racism just about skin colour’ and ‘what can we do to stop being racist’. The questions that came back from the pupils at the end of the workshop showed the depth of thought that the opening had encouraged.
The afternoon Q&A session after the tour of the grounds saw Newtown players Lee Hartshorn and Zac Evans on the panel. When the floor was opened to the pupils to ask the players any racism-related questions, their honesty around the topic was impressive.
Prizes were offered for the best questions, and the winning query came from Tom, age 10, who asked: ‘has racism started any wars?’ The panel had to take a second to think of wars that didn’t begin because of racist feeling, or racial ignorance. Following Tom’s war question, Bethany asked something that should probably be posed to the UN: ‘so, why is racism still happening?’
The day finished with a question from Harry, age 11. He asked players from Newtown FC and staff from SRtRC: ‘What can I do to stop racism?’
If only everyone could see the topic with as much clarity as Tom, Bethany and Harry: if racism starts wars, then why is it still happening? And what can I personally do to make it stop?
A question that came from a member of staff during the Q&A in Newtown was one of particular relevance to SRtRC Wales. One teacher astutely asked: ‘What should I say to other teachers that think racism is not an issue in their school because there are no ethnic minorities represented within the student body?’ SRtRC’s response would be that anti-racism training is even more relevant to these all-white schools. If these children move away from home and into a multi-cultural area, then they are doing so without any awareness of racism or how to deal with it. Equally, if a child from another ethnic background moves to their school then the current pupils have never had any teaching on difference.
Thank you to the member of staff that raised this relevant point within the Wales campaign.
SRtRC Wales would like to thank all of the staff and pupils of Presteigne Primary School for their involvement in the day and to Newtown FC for hosting the event.
To view a video from the event click HERE