What is Racist Bullying?
Racist bullying in schools can range from ill-considered remarks, which are not intended to be hurtful, to deliberate physical attacks causing serious injury. Racist bullying can be identified by the motivation of the bully, the language used, and/or by the fact that victims are singled out because of the colour of their skin, the country they come from, their ethnic grouping or by their religious or cultural background.
Examples of groups that often experience racist bullying include: Travellers, people moving to Britain from abroad, people with dark skin (including people whose ethnicity is white British), Muslims. Bullying is often thought to require repeated behaviour by one group of people/individuals against another, but victims of racist bullying often experience racism from many different sources, so even one-off incidents in school or other settings can have a similar impact to longer term bullying.
Here is a list of the
similarities and differences between racist bullying and other forms of bullying:
Is Racist Bullying a Problem in Schools?
Racist bullying in schools can be a problem in two ways:
Firstly, children who experience it have their education disrupted. They may be unable to concentrate on lessons because of feelings of fear or anger. Their self-confidence may be damaged and, as a result, they may never fulfil their potential.
Secondly, schools that ignore it give the wrong message to young people. The success of our diverse society depends upon the children of today growing up to be adults who are prepared to speak out against racism. Adults with racist views can find themselves in serious trouble and crimes motivated by racism and other forms of hate lead to heavier sentences - so it is important for young people using racist language to be helped to understand that this is wrong.
There is strong national and local evidence that racist language is far more common in schools than teachers realise. Many pupils who are targeted don't report it because they fear it will make matters worse. Pupils often want to fit in and may even join in laughing at racist jokes to avoid being singled out (see for example Cornwall's 'No Problem In Cornwall' report).
Other Useful Websites:
Diversity Voice is a Somerset service which employs Polish link workers who are available to help families communicate with schools and other services, and discuss problems.
Racial Awareness, Inclusion, Support and Education service (RAISE)
This Somerset service has staff who can meet with you and help sort out problems. There are also regular youth groups for primary and secondary aged young people, including trips and projects such as film making. It can be very helpful to meet other young people who have had similar experiences. The contact details for the group leaders are: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com