Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights

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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.

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591



Rights to Realities – The International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

 

This August, CRER will be reporting to the United Nations that, despite 41 years of commitment, BME people continue to face barriers in employment, political participation and accessing services such as health care . This discrimination is not inevitable, and with your support we can demonstrate to the UN how racial equality can be achieved in Scotland.

On 21st December 1965 the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) was adopted and opened for signature by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. It entered into force on 4 January 1969, which was ten years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, four years after the Race Relations Act 1965 and 28 years before the official ‘end ’ of the British Empire.

Today the Convention has 88 signatories and 177 parties from across the world. ICERD requires state parties to submit a periodic report every few years on how they have complied with their ICERD obligations and then examines the states parties on their submissions, usually every four or five years; this is known as the examination process.

As well as the government report, civil society organisations (CSOs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are encouraged to submit reports on the government’s report. These can provide important alternative information to the Committee.

Later this summer CRER and other anti-racism organisations throughout the UK will be submitting comprehensive evidence that on-going systematic discrimination of Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups continues in our country.

The importance of human rights conventions in tackling inequality cannot be underplayed. With more and more organisations and Governments  taking a ‘rights-based approach’ to policy, human rights are no longer abstract ideas confined to committees in Europe. They have become the minimum standards that every citizen expects from each other, but most importantly they have protected marginalised groups from their own Governments.

At the last set of UK hearings, in 2011, the UN recommended that the UK State “develop and adopt a detailed action plan, with targets and monitoring procedures, in consultation with minority and ethnic groups, for tackling race inequality.” On 21st March, the Scottish Government did just that when they launched the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030. Yet this is not the time to be complacent.

The Framework was an excellent example of how the Scottish Government worked with partners, BME communities, academics and civic society to set out their ambitions for tackling racism in Scotland. It will not be achieved without continued commitment and resources from all that helped to shape it. Making a strong representation to ICERD is one way to keep the pressure on and ensure the Framework delivers on its promises to minority ethnic communities.

Working with the Runnymede Trust, CRER has helped to publish key evidence of where discrimination still exists within Scotland which we will present to the UN this August. Further to this, we have set out our ambitions for how the rights of BME people can be further protected, enhanced and ultimately – realised every day.

In order for this to happen we need your support.

Runnymede has now incorporated our Scottish evidence and specific recommendations in a UK-wide NGO Shadow Report which will be presented to the UN Committee. We ask that your organisation now support this shadow report to display the shared commitment that we all have to achieving racial equality in Scotland.

The UK NGO Shadow Report to CERD and further information on how your organisation can support it can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/projects-and-publications/europe/cerd.html

Further details on the ICERD and the UN Committee on Eliminating Racial Discrimination can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/From%20local%20voices%20to%20global%20audience.%202015..pdf


A copy of the CRER's Scotland-specific Alternative Report as submitted for the 2011 UK hearings can be downloaded here. We are planning to present an updated Scotland specific alternative report for the 2016 hearings and this will be published on our website in July 2016.

Lesley Warren

CRER

 

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672

Race equality in 2016 party manifestos

Author Dorothea Brande once said, “A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.”

In the case of tackling racial inequality in Scotland, several political parties are neither interested in stating the problem nor developing policies to solve it, at least according to their 2016 election manifestos.

The problem is that minority ethnic groups in Scotland are disadvantaged and discriminated against in a range of measures. 28% of Scots feel that there is sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced against certain groups, while 21% of those from non-white minority ethnic groups reported experiencing discrimination compared to only 6% of their white counterparts. 4,807 racist incidents occurred in Scotland in 2013/2014 and racist hate crime continues to be the most commonly reported hate crime in Scotland. Minority ethnic groups are under-represented in Scottish politics, with 1-2% of MPs, MSPs, and councillors from a non-white minority ethnic background, compared to 4% of the population. Those from non-white minority ethnic groups are underemployed at a much higher rate than those from white ethnic groups and the poverty rate for all minority ethnic groups is twice that of the white British poverty rate, despite minority ethnic children out-performing white ethnic pupils in school. Clearly, something is wrong in Scottish society.

Despite this, not every party standing candidates for election even mentioned racial equality in their manifestos, let alone set out ways to challenge and overcome this inequality.

Commendation must be given to the parties that not only stated the problem, but also offered solutions. The Scottish Green Party highlighted the issue of racial discrimination both for UK-born individuals and for refugees and first-generation migrants, and addressed issues including hate crime, education, political representation and participation, employment, poverty, and cultural diversity. They were also one of two parties who committed to the implementation of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland, alongside the Scottish National Party.

The Scottish Labour Party however have stated in their manifesto that they would consult with communities and publish a strategy to break down barriers faced by minority ethnic people. There is no mention of the (recently launched) Race Equality Framework for Scotland which compiled a huge database of information through public consultations. Likewise they state the many ways in which they wish to tackle inequality in education and employment, but make no mention of black and minority ethnic people and the specific barriers they face, or of the evidence that the Scottish Parliamentary inquiry published on race and employment.

The Scottish Labour party also published a BME-specific manifesto in addition to a disabilities, an LGBTI, and a women’s manifesto. While the BME manifesto was not well publicised, it addressed topics including opportunity, public life and representation, the economy, justice and health.

RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance dedicated a section of their manifesto to “anti-racism” and stated that they are an anti-racist organisation with a “zero-tolerance policy towards racism.” Their manifesto highlighted policies to improve Scotland’s awareness of racial inequality (both historical and modern), address institutional racism, end racist hiring practices, improve political representation for minority ethnic groups, and tackle racist policing.

The Scottish National Party pledged to appoint a Race Framework Advisor to implement a range of actions to tackle existing inequalities in minority ethnic communities in line with the Race Equality Framework for Scotland. The only other race-specific policy detailed in the party’s manifesto addressed increasing minority ethnic representation in Modern Apprenticeships. The manifesto addresses wider equality issues and states that teachers will be expected to undertake equality training to address prejudice-based bullying, police officers will receive appropriate training to investigate hate crimes, and public authorities will be required to gather diversity information to use it to inform employment practices.

Other parties mentioned racial equality, but this was alongside other equality areas and did not offer policies particular to tackling racism and discrimination. The Women’s Equality Party noted that women experience additional inequalities due to ethnicity, alongside other characteristics such as sexuality, gender identity, and class. Their manifesto highlighted issues of poverty, violence, hate crime, political representation, and media representation with the effect of these issues on BME women detailed alongside the effect on disabled women, LGBT+ people, and disabled people.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats asserted that there should be equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability. One policy in particular applies to minority ethnic people – forming a stakeholder group to propose new ways to tackle the barriers to equal representation in senior roles in the police and education services.

However, the Scottish Conservative and UKIP did not address racism, racial equality, or issues facing minority ethnic groups in their manifestos.

While much progress has been made since the 2011 manifestos (when a vast majority of parties did not mention racial equality or racism at all), there is still much work to be done to convince parties that racial equality must be a policy priority.

Before politicians can put forward policies to tackle racial inequality, they must be willing to talk about it. For several parties, the 2016 manifestos were a missed opportunity to do just that.

NB: Please note, this blog was updated on 9th May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Crisis of Racism and Refugees
Colin Clark

"So, I think it's got a lot to do with racism. I think if these people were white, European… that [they] were coming from some dictatorship in Bosnia or somewhere… I think we would feel quite differently about it.” – Emma Thompson, BBC Newsnight, 02-09-15

​Choosing her words rather carefully, the actress Emma Thompson eloquently summarised what is surely a glaring truth regarding the current situation across the Mediterranean - this is as much a crisis of racism as it is a crisis of refugees. Indeed, the shocking images we have seen on the front pages of our newspapers, and on our television screens, in the last few days is a political crisis of failed Governmental responses to human mobility in the face of persecution. Further, this failed response to events in Syria - as well as countries such as Afghanistan and Eritrea - is explicitly built upon the foundations of a sedentary, ‘othering: a peculiarly European typology of racism.
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3741


Culture, Confidence and Community – the new European Roma Institute (ERI)

A guest blog by Professor Colin Clark

On March 26th George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, and Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe published a co-authored article entitled ‘Why we are setting up a European Roma Institute’ (Soros and Jagland, 2015).

Although less than 700 words in length, this European Voice article contains the foundations and promise of a symbolic and actual paradigm shift for up to 12 million Romani lives and livelihoods. The authors point out that although at the heart of Europe, the diffuse Romani communities spread across the territory have been denied an institution that can strategically and sensitively convey and represent heterogeneous issues of Romani culture, identity and politics.

The time has now come, argue Soros and Jagland, to change this reality: social exclusion and economic deprivation must transform into meaningful opportunity and material outcomes across areas of art, politics, music, life. The European Roma Institute, they suggest, is the vehicle to deliver this. At heart, this is the radical and fundamental paradigm shift that has been a long time coming in Romani Studies. The promise must now become reality.

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12610

b2ap3_thumbnail_s200_colin.clark.jpgGuest Blog by Professor Colin Clark

The recent publication of NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey for 2013 appears to show that tolerance and acceptance of others has become rather passé in Britain. People are now bolder and more assertive in openly declaring their prejudices. Since 2000 there has been a significant rise in the number of people who self-report to BSA researchers as being racially prejudiced. Drawing on a sample of 2,149 people, the question asked by BSA researchers since the early 1980s has been: "How would you describe yourself … as very prejudiced against people of other races, a little prejudiced, or not prejudiced at all?" In Scotland, 25% of those asked this question suggested they were either ‘very’ or a ‘little’ prejudiced. This represents a double-digit increase north of the border - the figure was ‘just’ 14% in 2000. Across Britain as a whole, the figure is 30% for 2013, up 5% from 2000.

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Tagged in: Guest Blog News Racism
16722

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Hi All,

I write a lot of multi-cultural human rights pieces.  I would like to tell you something about my recent Gig with CV2 at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. I also enclose a piece about the Gig that we gave out on the night. It was a multi-voice show but that still means that about half of the pieces were not multi-voice (I like a mix of pieces). One week before the Gig, one of the actors pulled out and we had to re-rehearse everything at the last minute. The actors who did perform (names below) did so without Funding. They performed for the love of the form. And I am very grateful to them!

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0
Tagged in: Guest Blog
25362
Shelia Washington, who was instrumental in organizing the Scottsboro Boys Museum.
Justice at last for the Scottsboro Boys

After over 80 years, a gross injustice has at last been righted in the U.S. 







It was an intriguing old photo from a Glasgow newspaper that had belonged to my Dad that led me to find out about the tragic tale of the Scottsboro Boys.  The old Press photo showed a black woman heading up some kind of demonstration in the 1930s, the time of the Depression.  Her prominence was unusual at the time on the double count of her gender and her colour.  

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