Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights

CRER Blog

Blog page of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Education
423

Racist incidents in Schools – Scotland needs a new approach

Scotland’s schools have recorded over 3,000 racist incidents in the past five years, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests. While this may seem shocking to some, we’re confident that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2012, CRER undertook detailed research into racist incident recording practices and policies in Scotland’s schools. What we found was a patchy, problematic range of approaches. Based on research carried out by Respectme and LGBT Youth Scotland for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2015, little appears to have changed since then.

In our experience, two key problems make racist incident recording in Scotland’s schools ineffective. Firstly, a lack of understanding of the nature of racism and its impact in schools beyond direct cases of bullying; and secondly, disjointed recording processes and practices within schools.

Scotland’s education departments have had plenty of time to develop effective policy and practice in this area. Recording of all racist incidents in schools was a key recommendation of the Macpherson Report, the publication which cemented the definition of a racist incident as ‘Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’ in 1999.

That understanding seems to have rolled back, replaced by a defensive arrogance which both misinterprets what racism means and puts more emphasis on pandering to white sensitivities about ‘being called racist’ than it does on protecting children from racism. This attitude persists despite the clear fact that it’s the incident (not the child or the school) which is being recorded as ‘racist’.

However, our 2012 research did find some examples of good policy making in local authority education departments on racist incident recording. This should be capitalised on at a national level so that children in all areas can benefit, putting an end to the current ‘post code lottery’ approach which makes it so difficult for parents in some areas to challenge schools’ failure to deal with racism.

In our experience, racism in schools is still a serious problem and we are not convinced that current approaches to tackling it are working. Even although we aren’t funded to provide advice services, CRER regularly hears from parents whose children have faced serious harassment, physical violence and psychological torment at the hands of their classmates. In many cases, these parents report being dismissed, belittled and (somewhat ironically) even bullied when they try to seek help for their children. And it’s not just school children who are affected. The majority of perpetrators of racist hate crimes in Scotland are young men who have recently been through the school system. If the system was working properly, they would know better.

In an interview with the Times Educational Supplement, Louis Kushnick (race equality activist and Professor Emeritus at Manchester University) put forward a strong argument for mandatory incident reporting as a tool for social change: “Do we want a society characterised by stupidity, bigotry and ignorance? Or do we want our children to be at ease with the world? ...If we don’t raise our children to be decent human beings, they’ll bring into school what they’re consuming elsewhere and no one will challenge it... If you don’t have monitoring you have no way of identifying the scale of the problem. And if you leave it up to schools, there’s no reward for flagging it up.” Our research supports that view.

The EHRC’s research from 2015 also demonstrated that while practice on race is mixed, most other forms of prejudice based incident aren’t recorded at all. But with no central guidance or collation of statistics to give momentum to this work, it’s perhaps little wonder that practice is often so poor. It’s time for Scotland to develop a national strategy on recording and responding to all forms of prejudice based incidents in schools. Our children’s wellbeing depends on it.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
585

‘Post-ref’ racism and five ways to tackle it

With the upsurge in media coverage of racism linked to ‘Brexit’, people have increasingly been asking CRER about getting involved in tackling racism and hate crime. This was a pleasant surprise for us. We deal with these issues on a day to day basis and have done for almost twenty years, so it’s refreshing to see so many people willing to stand up against racism (although it’s worth mentioning that concerns raised by Black activists about the tone of the current debate do resonate with us).

Whether you’re new to anti-racism or just looking for a different approach, there are dozens of ways to take action now and in the future. However you do it, the important thing is to build anti-racism into your day to day life; not just now, but for the long-run.

Here are our five top suggestions:

  1. Build a strong understanding of race and racism, and share this understanding with family, friends and colleagues. This will help increase the number of people who can make strong arguments against racism in all its forms:
  • Our ‘Changing the Race Equality Paradigm’ guide for organisations highlights some of the key concepts.
  • Websites like Media Diversified and Runnymede’s Race Matters have a range of articles that look at current affairs issues from a race perspective.
  • Finding out about Scotland’s Black History can help to challenge assumptions about minority ethnic communities in Scotland. There’s no one comprehensive source of information on this, but some resources are available on this page from Education Scotland. We co-ordinate Glasgow’s annual Black History Month programme of events; sign up to our email list if you’d like to receive more details later this year about the 2016 programme.

 

  1. Directly challenge racism and hate speech whenever it occurs, in a way that’s effective and safe:
  1. Report any racist incidents you see, whether in public spaces or online:
  • We developed a guide to responding to and reporting online hate speech; it also explores the difference between hate crime and hate speech.
  • If you witness a racist incident or hate crime in Scotland, you can report it to Police Scotland even if you weren’t the person being targeted.
  • If you see racist materials (for example posters, stickers or graffiti) in a public place, you can report it to your local Council’s environmental department (in Glasgow, there’s a dedicated Environmental Task Force). Materials intended to stir up racial hatred can also be reported to Police Scotland.
  • Report any racist incidents at work, College or University under the relevant policies, and support colleagues or fellow students who are complaining about racism.

 

  1. Encourage your local politicians to take action against racism:
  • Write to MPs, MSPs and local Councillors to ask what they are doing to tackle racism and racial inequalities, and encourage them to speak up on race equality.
  • Ask your local politicians to support local or national anti-racist campaigns.
  • If you’re a political party member, encourage your local branch to actively recruit more minority ethnic members and to encourage and support them to stand as election candidates.
  •  
  1. Work with others to tackle racism:
  • Some employers have equality committees or equality champion schemes you could get involved in. If not, there are often likeminded colleagues you could join up with to think about how to promote race equality at work.
  • You could help to arrange or promote anti-racist training opportunities at work. Ideally, encourage your employer to provide this widely to staff rather than just those who already have an interest.
  • Some Colleges and Universities have Students’ Union officers responsible for equality. They should be able to advise you about any opportunities to get involved in anti-racist activities on campus.
  • Universities can apply to join the ECU’s Race Equality Charter scheme.
  • You can support campaigning groups and get involved with community organisations. All organisations work in different ways, so opportunities range from volunteering to holding a fundraiser, donating money or attending a protest rally. Not all organisations advertise for volunteers or have formal volunteering processes (particularly smaller community groups) but if you can offer practical help, some will welcome informal involvement – so if you are aware of a local group you’d like to support, there’s no harm in getting in touch to offer your assistance. Most formal volunteering opportunities will be advertised through local Volunteer Centres.

 

As you’ll gather from our ‘Changing the Race Equality Paradigm’ guide, CRER’s focus is on tackling structural and institutional racism, so we’re particularly keen to see more individuals pushing for change in the institutions they’re involved in.

Tackling these entrenched forms of racism is especially important for the future generations of young minority ethnic Scots who will continue to face racism based on their skin colour. Xenophobia against white migrants (horrifying as it may be) thankfully often tails off once families have settled here. Their children grow up being perceived by others as Scottish; they look ‘Scottish’ and sound ‘Scottish’.

Black minority ethnic Scots whose grandparents were born here, on the other hand, continue to face the eternal question: “Where are you from?”

The attitude that underlies that question in ‘friendly’ small talk is the same one which leads to racist violence. Assumptions about whether someone belongs or not. About who is ‘welcome here’ – and, for that matter, who has the power and privilege to ‘welcome’ another person to their own home in the first place.

Truthfully, there’s nothing particularly new or different about the racism we’re seeing following the EU referendum. What’s really remarkable is the strength of the current public outcry against it, and the opportunity this brings to build support for anti-racism in Scotland.

We know from previous experience that the media will soon shift its focus away from hate crime, abuse and inequality. It never had much focus to begin with on the less dramatic but equally damaging racial inequalities people face in employment, income and political representation.

It’s up to all of us to keep anti-racism at the top of the agenda.

 

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3318

b2ap3_thumbnail_ECCAR.jpg
Glasgow is part of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, and as part of this coalition people in Glasgow are being asked to contribute their experiences to help shape a travelling play that will tour Europe.

If you have experienced discrimination, you can tell your story online at www.discriminations.eu. The organisers (the City of Liège and ECCAR) are looking for examples of all kinds of discrimination, whether related to race, disability, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief.

Selected stories will be used to develop the play at the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Liège.

Please share this information with friends, colleagues and communities so we can ensure Glasgow is well represented alongside our fellow ECCAR cities in this exciting project.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
0
7047

b2ap3_thumbnail_ntsdavp00019-david-livingstone-centre.jpg

Trip to David Livingstone Centre

The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights has organized a day trip to the David Livingstone Centre. The guided tour will take you through his life, giving you an insight into the character, and the adventures and achievements of the man who went from mill boy to Victorian hero.

Cost: £4.50 for adults and £2.50 for children, and free for members of the National Trust for Scotland

Free travel from Glasgow to the David Livingstone Centre will be provided.

Date: Wednesday 29th October 2014

Time: 11am - 3.30pm

Venue: David Livingstone Centre, 165 Station Road, Blantyre, G72 9BY

For more info: Contact Nadia, nadia@crer.org.uk, 0141 418 6530

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
0
4855

b2ap3_thumbnail_2015-pic.jpg


Inspired by Black History Month?

Now Is the Time to start planning for Black History Month 2015.

The Heritage Lottery Fund can provide grants from £3,000 for projects that help people explore heritage. Heritage can be anything from the past that you want to pass to future generations. It could be researching long ago history, learning more about current traditions, uncovering community memories, or exploring the natural or built environment around you.

Come to a workshop to find out more about applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), hear from successful projects on how they did it and meet with HLF development staff to discuss ideas.

Date: Wednesday 22nd October 22,

Time: 1pm-3pm

Venue: The Coalition For Racial Equality and Rights 78 Carlton Place, Glasgow, G5 9TH

Bookings are essential.

Please email nadia@crer.org.uk or call on 0141 418 6530 and advise of any dietary or access requirements.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
0
4366


b2ap3_thumbnail_Glasgow-Girls.jpg


Girls on Film

Glasgow Girls is a specially commissioned musical drama for BBC Three and BBC Scotland that tells the inspirational true story of a group of schoolgirls whose petition to save their friend from deportation inspired a movement which would eventually help change immigration practices in Scotland and garnering them the Scottish Campaign of the Year award in 2005.

Come and see the film and also have the chance to meet the real Glasgow Girls.

Date: Friday 24th of October 2014 at 6pm

There will be free refreshments provided.

Venue: Debates Chamber (Level 6), University of Strathclyde Students’ Association, 90 John Street, Glasgow G1 1JH

More info: Roza Salih, 0141 567 5028, ussa.vpda@strath.ac.uk

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
0
15383

b2ap3_thumbnail_euroblog.jpg

(left to right: Robert Brown (Lib Dems), Jatin Haria (CRER), Gary Dunion (Greens),
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh (SNP), Colin Clark (Chair), Jennifer Glinski (CRER), David Coburn (UKIP), Asim Kham (Labour)


With only two months left till the European Parliament (EP) elections, CRER decided to host an informative session and a political hustings surrounding all things European Parliament. Our goal was to provide people with more insight, information and knowledge of the EP and its functions but also present people with an opportunity to hear from the Scottish European Parliament candidates directly.

The informative afternoon session was led by Mr Per Johansson, the Head of the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, who provided the audience with an overview of the European Parliament and the upcoming elections. Mr Johansson highlighted the differences between the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Commission and the powers of each institution. He then focused on the legislative power of the EP and how the decisions made affect the everyday lives of everyone in Europe.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
0
20683

Last Friday saw the Herald newspaper run a story headlined “Claim universities swamped with non-Scottish staff” based upon an article in the Scottish Review by Professor Alf Baird from Edinburgh Napier University.

The use of this type of inflammatory language is usually consigned to right wing racists so it was worrying indeed to read a Scottish Academic talk so freely about ‘swamping’ by non-Scots and of Scottish Institutions being ‘overrun’.

Professor Baird asserts “Over the past few decades our universities have headhunted and recruited many academics from distant shores and this has obviously had an effect.” “In some departments/institutes within Scotland’s universities today it can be a challenge to find any senior Scots academics.”

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
Tagged in: Education Equalities