Research

Three year project helping young people to challenge racism

29 April 2019 @TeesUniNews

 

Thousands of young people in the region feel more empowered to challenge and report racism.

The Challenging Youth Racism team.
The Challenging Youth Racism team.

But the normalisation of racist language in popular culture, negative stereotypes in the media and some family and communal influences are still perpetuating racist views among the younger generation.

That is according to a new Challenging Youth Racism report published by academics at Teesside University and practitioners from Humankind.

Challenging Youth Racism (CYR) has been a three year project and the team has delivered over 350 workshops to more than 7,000 young people across the North East region.

The anti-racism interventions, delivered to people aged from 11 to 19, were designed to increase acceptance of others, increase awareness about the impact of racism and encourage young people to challenge and report racism when they see it.

As a result:

· 74% of young people increased their willingness to challenge or report racist behaviour · 65% of young people increased their understanding of how racist behaviour impacts people · 85% of young people maintained or increased their acceptance of people of a different religion, nationality and/or skin colour.

In addition to the workshops, the CYR team also provided one day Racism Awareness Programmes (RAP) and have trained over 150 RAP ambassadors to educate others and provide support for those affected by racism.

As well as the positive interventions, a wide variety of issues were raised by the region’s young people in terms of their experiences of racism and the kinds of things that help to shape racist thoughts and behaviours.

The widespread use of racist language in popular culture provides challenges and helps to legitimise some racism among young people. There was also a commonly held belief amongst young people that white people are the only perpetrators of racism.

Some areas of racism, particularly around Islamophobia, were clearly inflamed by family and communal influences, as well as media coverage. The report states that the impact of media headlines suggests a clear need for more responsible coverage relating to Muslims and Islam. Another area where young people highlighted the negative influence of the media was around immigration, where young people made automatic assumptions that an immigrant was something bad or that immigrants are taking something from them, such as jobs, housing and benefits.

We have encountered a range of views amongst young people, with a minority showing support for far-right groups, many displaying apathy, with some showing acceptance of others.

Dr David Temple.

Where young people were exposed to racism, the report finds that doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with it and there were concerns raised by young people in terms of how racism was responded to when they reported it at school.

The CYR project was funded through the Big Lottery and was a partnership between Teesside University and Humankind.

Dr Alex Carter, a Research Assistant in Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, was an author of the CYR report.

He said: 'The project was developed in response to concerns around high levels of prejudice and discrimination and disproportionate levels of racially and religiously motivated hate crime within North East England.

'A number of high profile events have taken place which have compounded and enhanced such feelings and beliefs, particularly with regards to immigration and Islamophobia. This has included Brexit and the terror attacks in London and Manchester in 2017.'

Dr David Temple, Research Associate in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law and lead author of the report, added: 'Owing to the hard work of the Challenging Youth Racism team, we have been able to run workshops with over 7,000 young people in a range of settings - secondary schools, colleges, specialist education providers, education and skills projects, and youth and community groups.

'We have encountered a range of views amongst young people, with a minority showing support for far-right groups, many displaying apathy, with some showing acceptance of others. This has made the success of the project in raising awareness of racism and encouraging young people to challenge and report particularly important.'

The CYR team are hosting a conference on 7 May where they will launch their report and hear from Sara Khan, the Home Office Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism. Other speakers include Owen Jones, Head of Education at Hope not Hate, Kate Hollinshead, Head of Operations at EqualiTeach and Justine King, Education Co-ordinator for Show Racism the Red Card.

The event takes place at Teesside University’s Darlington campus, from 10.00am until 4.00pm.


In the News

Project to help young people tackle racism
North East Connected (online), 13/5/2019
Challenging Youth Racism (CYR) has been a three year project and the team has delivered over 350 workshops to more than 7,000 young people across the North East region.