Racism is wrong

Clear message given to our children

On Tuesday I spoke to all of the children in years 7, 8 & 9 about what Northern Ireland was like when I was a child growing up in the 70s and 80s. I explained to them that it was a place where people had allowed their anger and hatred to get to such a pitch that bombing and killing each other was seen as acceptable. This was a very sad time for my part of the United Kingdom.

I talked to them about how welcoming and accepting Manchester and England felt to me in 1985. How people didn’t care about how different I sounded or how different my background was. How the people of the north­west of England made me feel welcome and included. This is why I have settled here.

I then spoke to them about how some people have mixed up a question about staying in or leaving the European Union with a question about immigration and about how some people have seen this as an excuse to be racist and abusive. I spoke about how I didn’t want England and Britain to turn into a country where racism is acceptable. That I didn’t want our it to become ‘normal’ to look for differences and to persecute those who are ‘different’ from ‘us’.

I also spoke to them about the history of Britain and asked the question, “Who are the British?” You might ask them about the history of our country and how waves of invasion and phases of immigration have actually given us our incredibly rich language and one of the richest economies on the planet.

I left the children with one clear message – Racism is wrong.

Please feel free to talk to your child about racism, in all its forms, from what some people think is just banter to the really clear abuse that some people think is acceptable. Please feel free to let them know that any form of racism will never be accepted in our school community. As Maslow tells us, we need to have feelings of safety and belonging before we can become the STARS that we can be. (You can ask them about Maslow too if you like.)


Simon Lennox

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