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How To Best Address Enduring Legacies Of Racism?

Humankind has struggled with the question of how to properly address racism for a long time. Racism has been a sore topic and does not seem to be easing up, especially in this explosive generation of social media. In fact, the issue has now escalated to a new level.

Racism does not only happen to Black people. It appears whenever there is the perception that race is a fundamental factor of human characteristics and abilities, and one feels the inherent dominance of their own race. Many people from different regions have had to face racism, whether from Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or anywhere else in the world.

Social media is claimed by the BBC to be the main factor contributing to the rapidly climbing rate of hate crimes and racist acts worldwide. These platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are known for their freedom of speech for people to share their thoughts about different topics in life. People tend to disregard the fact that freedom of speech has its own limits, like everything else. Consequently, they may start expressing racism towards people, and social media has the potential to encourage such racism.

Globalisation also contributes to the rise in racism. The research paper ‘Invisibility of Racism in the Global Neoliberal Era: Implications for Researching Racism in Healthcare’ does not only mention racism in general but also emphasises the inequalities in welfare states. In addition, it notes that prejudices and judgments regarding cultural customs and behaviour are often present when individuals from different continents first meet and interact, with immigrants having limited access to healthcare services. With so much intolerance occurring in recent years, it is now the right time to confront the origins of racism before looking at possible solutions for the future.

Where was the beginning?

Turning back to the root of this problem, the awareness of each person and the education received at an early age can be two main factors in one's discriminative behaviour. To deal with this problem, education should be targeted as the top priority. Tackling it effectively in schools requires a holistic understanding of racism; its origins and effects need to be grasped, which may lead to greater outcomes.

Indeed, it is important for students to acknowledge privilege and reconsider control. Due to the history of conflict, some still believe their ethnicities or races have more power than others. Some elderly English people have not forgotten their hatred against France or Germany, stemming from the two World Wars that ended last century. Thus, whether deliberately or unintentionally, they spread that hatred down to younger generations.

62% of Black British people admitted that racism happened frequently in the educational system, according to The Guardian. Additionally, The Conversation showed that, following Leicester's city lockdown in 2020, racist remarks on social media had risen. Some people wrongly blamed the city's ethnic minority population for the surge in coronavirus cases.

Dr Veronica Poku, Head of Programme for the MA Education: Culture, Language and Identity from Goldsmith College, University of London, says: “If I talk primarily about the [Black] students that I dealt with and started to work with, hardly any of them said that they would come to the university or the tutors who were supposed to be there to help move them through their training and support them in terms of planning or any issues they had around navigating the school system. If they needed any help, that was the last person they would go to.”

Due to the risk of encountering racism or other forms of prejudice from pupils and teachers, many youngsters now consider schools to not be safe environments for students of diverse races and ethnicities.

The things that should be done

Aiming to better Black students’ life, Dr Veronica Poku states the importance for Black Britons to have a visible platform and for everyone to recognise the significance of Black people’s history, which dated way back to a century ago. The records, data, and numbers need to be made visible for people to see and understand the real cause of the problem.

Considering the curriculum in schools, only 11% of GCSE modules examined by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) made mention of Black individuals in British history. The curriculum taught to students is a significant factor in systemic oppression. Thus, it is apparent that teaching must reflect the community it is created for - young people - and must guarantee that there are fair portrayals of ethnic minorities. The history needs to be looked at in an impartial way for the positive development of both children and society.

According to Professor Vini Lander, director at the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality (CRED) of Leeds Beckett University, every child has the right to an equal education. However, the underachievement of young people from Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic groups has been a problem for the past 50 years. As per research, racism is a systematic problem in education, not only in families or cultures, contributing to this underperformance.

Additionally, she underlines the role of creating and implementing anti-racist policies and practices. In order to shift away from a Eurocentric curriculum, for instance, it is crucial to broaden and decolonise the education system, foster students' critical thinking, and offer global viewpoints.

Schools take a big responsibility in allowing students to evaluate and reframe the significance and stories from other racial backgrounds. Therefore, it is vital that the teachers also have the right mindset when it comes to race and identity. In order to combat prejudice, parents have been pressuring educational institutions for more. However, as younger folks spend most of their time at home, change must start there.

The attitudes, viewpoints, and mindsets that kids learn at home will have an effect on how they perform in school. To avoid unintentionally reinforcing racial stereotypes in their child's thinking, parents should be aware of their own preconceptions, actions, words, and preferences, even if they are unconscious ones.

No matter one’s religion or ethnicity, each individual plays an essential role in contributing to the development of society. All cultures have brought diversity and manifoldness to the world that we are living in.


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