Show Racism the Red Card Wales, an anti–racism charity that has delivered workshops to over 100,000 young people in the past 10 years is calling on urgent action to stem the growing tide of racist attitudes among young people in Wales
“It is deeply worrying that racist hate complaints have increased dramatically since the EU referendum result, racism had been on the increase across Wales even before the vote and the consistent negative reporting of migrants has fuelled the resentment.
“We been noticing anti-immigration views expressed by pupils in schools from as young as 8 years old and our office has been contacted by teachers who are not confident in tackling racist incidents that are occurring on a more frequent basis, we are extremely concerned and call for urgent action to support and protect young people in Wales”.
SRtRC Wales Campaign Manager Sunil Patel
As the charity comes up to its 10th anniversary in Wales, it is calling on the Education sector to double its efforts and for more accountability to protect young people.
The Charity has been so concerned of late that during the past few months has conducted consultations with young people and teachers with the results being shared with the Welsh Government.
Over the past 12 months, teachers in Wales have heard the following comments (when asked if they had come across racist bullying):
“A Polish child was told they weren't wanted around here and they should go back to where they came from”
“Following the Brexit vote, a Bangladeshi student was asked if he "had a VISA" and was told that "he was in ISIS"
“A pupil was picked on because she wears a scarf to cover her head”
“A pupil made a racist joke, not aimed at anyone but it shocked everyone around”
“Frequent use of the term "pikey" amongst the pupils. Occasional mocking of Chinese heritage/culture”
“Parents of a white British family told their daughter to tell the black British child at break-time ''to go back to their own country''
The consultation highlighted a lack of confidence, training and support amongst teachers. They did not feel well trained and confident when completing racial discrimination incident reports to Senior Staff and the Local Authority, one teacher commented:
“The problem is political – the higher up the chain of command you go the fewer people/roles want such matters recorded – I’ve been asked ‘are you sure you want this recorded as a racist incident’ far too many times, the culture needs to change higher up”.
Another teacher also made reference to the lack of importance placed on racist bulling by Local Authorities and said:
“without a very transparent policy and procedures to follow, always made to feel there is not really a problem, or if there is it is just with that individual person, but for any individual facing racism in any form, it is huge and doesn’t just go away with time and it probably is happening elsewhere in the Local Authority.”
An area of concern for the charity has been Anti-Muslim prejudice exhibited by young people and the fear for their own safety.
‘Bombers’, ‘terrorists’ and the ‘Taliban’ were phrases repeated throughout the consultations, as well as more contemporary threats such as ‘ISIS’ and ‘Ebola’.
Some of the young people labelled immigrants as ‘people who cause riots’, ‘trespassers’, ‘smugglers’ and ‘people who are trying to hurt us.’
In the past few months, the charity has received an increase in schools contacting them for support of which 70% were due to schools reporting a racist incident.
Included in the consultation was a survey conducted with 435 teachers which highlighted that 1 in 4 teachers had come across a racist incident at their school in the past 12 months and it’s not just the children who are the victims. One teacher in Monmouthshire told us that a pupil made comments to a Muslim member of staff about skin colour and the charity has also been contacted about other racist incidents aimed at staff in the schools.
There was an overwhelming agreement that anti-racism education should be integrated into the curriculum with 90% of teachers strongly believing this was the way forward, one teacher commented “I've been trying to do this for years. I think it is of the utmost importance. However, staff mostly avoid conversations about race, religion etc. for fear of 'opening a can of worms'”.
Stuart Williams, NUT Principal Officer and Chair of Show Racism the Red Card’s Wales Advisory Committee, said:
“Tackling racism is the responsibility of everyone in our communities, both within the school gates and outside. As the largest union for teachers in Wales we are extremely proud of the work we do alongside Show Racism the Red Card in raising awareness of these issues and to help educate children. What is clear from this survey, and recent statistics, is that this work is as important now as it has ever been. NUT members have always believed passionately that education is about developing socially responsible individuals as well as academic attainment. Ensuring there is a sense of tolerance and respect is integral to that focus.”
The charity believes that tackling these issues are not a priority for some local authorities and that not enough is being done to challenge these issues and attitudes through the current education system and call for urgent action from the Welsh Government to support young people and teachers in Wales.
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