‘People Get Killed Cause of There [Their] Skin. It Cannot Be Stopped’: A Midlands Case Study Considering Experiences of Racism Amongst Pupils in UK Secondary Schools and the Community

Published 04/06/2020
Type Article
Author(s) Sarah Page
Corresponding Authors

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.