is important to start by saying that the majority of schools
and teachers would wish to take seriously any form of bullying
and this includes racial bullying. Bullying based on someone's
colour, culture, ethnicity or nationality places the individual
in a category, then abuses the category as well as the individual.
Gillborn (1995) describes racist name calling as insulting
not only to the individual, but their family and their culture.
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry has warned us not to be complacent.
It reminds us of the important role education has in helping
to educate and act against racism. It is important, however,
to heed the warnings of academic researchers who state that
studies of bullying or harassment in schools are often not
designed to address racism as a major aspect of students'
school lives and therefore if these studies do not pick
up on racial issues, the lack of evidence of racism should
not be interpreted as evidence of a lack of racism or indeed
studies indicate that minority ethnic children are especially
at risk of bullying. This bullying would appear to start
at an early age. Small-scale action research done by three
teachers in Central Region in the mid 1990s found attitudes
of 'them and us'among primary pupils to be prevalent and
strong. (Donald et al, 1995). A survey of perceptions and
experiences of young black and white people in Glasgow (Hampton
1998) and research on the experiences of refugee children
in Scottish schools (Closs, Stead and Arshad 1999) confirm
that young people face racial bullying, name calling and
experiences in school.
young people were asked to identify strategies to deal with
this, in the Hampton report, 60 of the 83 respondents (72%)
aged between 12 -20 believed that a substantial degree of
work needed to be done within schools for both teachers
and pupils and that work had to begin at pre-primary level.
This included developing staff awareness on racism, having
procedures in place to challenge racism and supporting those
who face racism. Many were cynical about anti-bullying policies,
claiming many of these were paper policies and often produced
without taking the pupil perspective into account. Most
importantly though, respondents wanted more curricular activities,
to educate young people about racism and to identify strategies
to counter such racism.
us to build a database of practice in this area. CERES would
like to hear from schools (nursery, primary, special and
secondary) of strategies you have used to address racial
incidents in your school, any curricular initiatives or
any concerns you may have on the matter. To contact us,
call 0131 651 6371 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Rowena Arshad, Director,
Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland