Sarah Page

This paper investigates UK pupil experience of racism and race-hate-related extremism. World Café research was conducted with 57 school and college pupils aged 14–17 years from a city in the Midlands. The college students mainly reflected upon their secondary school experience. Follow-up questionnaires captured demographics. Just under half of the participants were black and minority ethnic (BAME) pupils, and the rest were white British. Race-hate victimisation ranged from verbal abuse to physical assault, including Islamophobic abuse (including headscarves being removed) and attacks with weapons. Some experiences indicated underlying far-right extremist ideology. Teachers were perceived as favouring white pupils when incidents occurred, with some teachers described as ‘racist’. As well as racial hate between white and BAME pupils and between BAME pupils of different origins, inter-school racial conflict was apparent. Schools with higher BAME pupil populations were negatively labelled by pupils from white majority schools. Both BAME and white pupils reported being victims of racial abuse, but BAME victimisation was more apparent in school. Race-hate in schools was reflected in the community and exacerbated through social media communication and media reporting. The British government needs to better address racism and race-related far-right extremism in schools in conjunction with community efforts.

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