In this part I will examine my involvement with anti-racist awareness training. As well

as demonstrating the work that I did I will also develop the rationale for approaching

the training in this way. Let me try to indicate some of the themes for the rationale; in

the conclusion examine these themes and then consider whether this approach is

valid. Do we know what racism is and how does it affect our students? Is this racism

something that we can control or is it beyond our control such as the racism of the

school system? Historically our society has developed its infrastructure on colonial

exploitation, does this have any relation to racism and our students? And finally do

the policies that we create fulfil their intended role? Also please note the occasional

reference to personnel in this field, and bear this in mind when I consider the

personnel issue in detail in part 6.

My work on anti-racist awareness began when I moved to Hove Comprehensive; in

fact in London I had steered away from the work because of some horrific stories I

had heard. What had concerned me could be described as some form of

over-exuberance. I had heard that some anti-racist awareness practitioners

approached the subject matter from such an evangelical viewpoint that they totally

alienated the people they were training. It was as if these trainers were working in

some form of group therapy where participants had to open up their hearts, accept

their racism and repent. Alleleuiah!! This was another example of where the excesses

of London's active minorities had clouded my judgement.

The headmaster at Hove Comprehensive had just arrived from Croydon and he knew

the career value of Equal Opportunities(EOPS) but in my view he was only interested

in policy and not in practice; this later became a major problem. In my first year he

seemed keen to use my experience and he encouraged me to join the EOPS

Committee; as a committee we put together a one-day INSET programme on Race

and Gender.

As a result of the success of this day the headmaster allowed me to go on an NUT

racism awareness course (see appendix 5A for NUT course materials together with

other materials they have produced on this issue). Following this course I was also

allowed to present a session on Racism Awareness on an INSET day programme

where staff chose what session they went to. Hove, as I said above, is a reactionary

place - the headquarters of the National Front was based in Hove, and with the

attitude that there was no problem at the school because there were no black

students there was resistance to this work. However the session went down very well

- course evaluation at the end of the day followed by a compliment from the deputy

head ic staff development. I then offered to run an awareness course based on the

NUT training, and got limited support from the headmaster. We were allowed to run

the course on Tuesday afternoons after the exams when no cover was required, and

the headmaster even volunteered to join the course.

The basic structure of the course was as follows:-

Week1 Intro with icebreakers - Prejudice - what is it?

Week2 Brainstorming leading to Prejudice + Power = Racism

Week3 Posters - Racism in the UK

Week4 Posters - Racism and Colonialism

Week5 Institutional racism

Week6 Racism policies

The best way I have found of demonstrating the course content is to use a video as I

did in the INSET so at this point if you would watch the video all the way through it

will give you an understanding of what the course was like. (Pause to watch video -

please be tolerant of the editing, I had no access to proper equipment only a lead

between two VCR's).

Although the video contains a commentary from me, in this section I want to give

some justification for the approach I took. The main concern I had was summed up

by Scarman(video 4:00 mins - all video references are given by time at standard

play), "racial disadvantage derives partly ........ from a deep unconscious prejudice

which we have not yet succeeded in eliminating from ourselves"; by ourselves

Scarman was referring to the "host community".

I made an assumption in giving the course. There is a deep unconscious prejudice

and that through the course I tried to expose this. I then hoped that by exposing it

people would recognise the injustice of it all, and try to do something about it. I now

feel that this approach can only deal in part with the issue because of other

pressures. In other words even if we "eliminate the deep unconscious prejudice from

ourselves" can we remove "racial disadvantage" from society?


Through usage people freely interchange the words racial prejudice and racism as if

there is no difference in meaning, and from the dictionary racial prejudice is a

"preconceived opinion" that a race is superior and "racism" is a "belief in the

superiority of a particular race, prejudice based on this"(Concise Oxford Dictionary).

But this goes little way to examining what racism does. If I don't like black people

what harm does that do? Very little, it is only when I am in a position to offer jobs,

housing, education and others and I use my dislike to prevent black people from

equal access that any harm is done. And in UK society where the majority are white

and a significant proportion exhibit some form of dislike of black people we have

people in positions where they don't give equal access. By drawing an arbitrary

distinction between prejudice and racism through the element of power, the teachers

were able to focus more on what matters - not the words but the power to deprive, to

withdraw loans, not to offer employment etc. (see video 7:50 for an example of the

results of the exercise, pause at 7:57 for definitions and see NUT document in

Appendix 5B "Prejudice Plus Power: Challenging Racist Assumptions" for further

justifications for teachers).

Next we looked at posters in two sections - racism in the UK and colonialism[video

8:50 to 13:12] (see footnote *). Do we accept that colonialism is important in

understanding racism in the UK? Certainly my headmaster didn't. He attended the

first workshop on prejudice(he had probably attended similar in London), and then he

arrived half way through the workshop on colonialism after missing two weeks. With

his prior antagonism concerning myself and the union he immediately saw the politics

and I remember he was disconcerted to say the least.

If you consider the posters as shown in the video excerpt, they don't connect racism

with colonialism - it is assumed. Let me try and expand on that assumption. There is

a clear similarity between racism in the UK and colonialism, and that is that both

systems have disadvantaged black people. Even though some white people here in

Africa make statements like "The first problem for Africa was the coming of the white

man, the second was his leaving", if you consider the approach taken by Walter

Rodney in "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" then the first coming of the white

man started the process of underdevelopment which took a society which was in

advance of the West and made it the Third World. The white man leaving has caused

problems, and there is no doubt from living out here there is an unreasonable

dependence on the white man and white people are undoubtedly given respect and

authority. But this has also to be placed in context. Under colonialism the whites

established a structure alien to the African way of life - their own. In my view this

business structure did not suit the tribal structure (if I can judge as an outsider).

Further when white people were thrown out by the independence struggles (or left if

you take the view that a military presence was not economically viable in post-war

Britain) they left in tact the economic infrastructure connecting Africa to Europe, and

post-war the Americans further came in and enhanced the economic dependence on

the West. Since the 70's Japan has also made its economic presence felt so that

Africa is now totally a farm(the original meaning of colony), or a market-place for

Western goods. Hence we have the Third World situation where black people are


In this world matters like this are never this simplistic. In practice many of the

businesses are run by white people and, because they provide some jobs, they are

run to the advantage of the community. Efforts by many Batswana do not have the

same success and this is said by their own government, yet at the same time the

businesses are established here by the whites for profit motives only. In the West

white business people are part of the community they work in, even if they have their

own class or neighbourhood there are usually some connections with the community

which removes some of the excesses of raw greed. Here the white business

community is totally separate, and it appears that for some the business arena is for

profit at whatever cost to be taken back to the home for the family where they live

separate lives. And that's if the presence isn't purely capital where the profit is

measured only as a percentage of the investment, and that terms like customer

service or business integrity are unnecessary impositions on the percentage return.

Furthermore I believe there is an international white brotherhood, I'm sorry I couldn't

resist using such an emotive term, but business people like to deal with their own. If

they know how the business contact is working then they have no fears concerning

their deals. If these people have all come from similar education systems and

societies then they know how to work together. Hence I use the term international

white brotherhood, but this isn't a complete picture because it ignores leading players

such as Japan and Indians and Pakistanis outside their own countries. But I firmly

believe that Western business choose in Africa to deal with whites rather than blacks.

In the new South Africa under the African National Congress(ANC) there have been

two finance ministers both of whom were white and neither were members of the

ANC (nor any other party I believe). The first, who later resigned, had a

well-established business reputation and the second used to be in charge of one of

the leading banks.

Clearly colonialism, and its progeny - neocolonialism, disadvantages black people but

the intention was not to go to Africa and oppress black people, the purpose was trade

and profit. Many people of the "host community" in the UK argue that their society

does not intend to hurt black people, they argue that they have EOPS legislation but

in practice racism causes disadvantage to black people(and others) in the UK. So

one important lesson to be learned from the colonial legacy is that intention is not a

requirement of racist practice.

So based on this cursory glance at the history of colonialism, what is the relevance of

colonialism to racism in the UK? Firstly the families of black people in the UK have

their origins in the colonial system, and secondly the practices of the colonial system

are paralleled in the UK as in the case of intention.

What is the importance of the background country? Firstly older generations harp on

about the good times in the old country. In the case of the Afro-Caribbean community

in the UK many "came to this country believing that they were British since .... they

had been brought up in an English-style education system which through its

curriculum, examinations and teaching methods had imbued them with the British

culture and way of life [Swann p21]". Connected with this many "adults came to the

UK ..... for work, a better standard of living and education[Klein p19]". Now "when the

West Indian community sees so many of its children failing to fulfil their true potential

......... the resulting alienation has clearly fostered the view that the only way in which

the West indian community can shield its youngsters from racism and its

manifestations ........ is to take the system into their own hands[Black schools section

of Swann p516]". It is not the established examination curriculum they want to

change as I can verify from working in the Gresham Supplementary school, but it is

an effort "to instill in them (West Indian children - BZ) an understanding and pride in

their ethnic origins and above all ensure a "fair deal" from the education

system[Swann p516]".

So it is not the colonial legacy of disadvantage that has its affect on this group of

people but the resulting deprivation of the disadvantage in the home community,

together with a false hope agenda, brings these people to the UK where they suffer

an alienation which leads to the problems associated with racism.

"Divide and Rule" was an important maxim of the colonialist. In my current

geographical situation the divisions of aparthied are a clear example of this practice

albeit not a policy but an inheritance of the English since the 70's. It is important to

recognise that division within the UK is also very important. From a political point of

view the first division to note is in the class situation where the working-class (using

the broad Marxist definition of class) are divided - women-men and black-white.

But within this racial division we have further divisions. In an article in Race and Class

Kenan Malik says that "the assertion of difference has become, for many radicals, the

principal dynamic in society today[p1]". In the same article he quotes Stuart Hall as

positing that "the new ethnicities" present " a non-coercive and a more diverse

conception of ethnicity, to set against the embattled, hegemonic conceptions of

Englishness which .... stabilises so much of the dominant political and cultural

discourses[p2]." Stuart Hall's argument, according to Malik, comes under the

postmodernist umbrella, and celebrates the politics of difference. My own approach of

radical Marxist class conflict is seen by postmodernists as Eurocentric universalism

"a means of imposing Euro-American ideas of rationality and objectivity on other

peoples [Malik p2]." However Malik later points out that postmodernism "embodies

the same romantic notions of human difference as are contained in racial theory[p4]".

Though it is clearly not the intention we have here some form of Divide and Rule

colonialism, in fact worse than this I see the need of the intellectual to create

differences where they were not originally. But then intellectuals have often been in

the vanguard of some of the worst excesses of history simply because their particular

philosophy suited the contemporaneous exploiter.

In England I was told that the best way to understand what is happening with racial

issues is to view England as a microcosmic colonial situation affecting black people, if

this is what black people say I listen unless I have contradictory evidence. As a

totality I have no such evidence. Maybe all my approaches are simply outdated if you

take a postmodernist approach - and reject totalistic overviews!!

Returning to the reasons I gave the course I hope the relationship between racism

and colonialism is now clearer. The family background of the racially-disadvantaged

is colonial, and as a totality their experience in the UK could be viewed as a

microcosmic colonial situation. Bearing this in mind if the teachers on my course

wanted to understand the situation of the racially-disadvantaged then one important

step is to understand colonialism.

I now want to look at Week 5 of my course which concerns institutional racism. Now

the keyword to understanding institutional racism is the word intention. Very few

teachers intend to be racist but that does not mean they are not involved in the

practice of racism. Please refer to the video, and watch the section from 14:00 to

19:15. To be perfectly frank I did not use the exercise of the "subtly-racist school" as I

thought it was too contrived, but it clearly worked well on the video. I cannot

remember the whole of the workshop but I did use the drawbridge exercise. [Katz

pp70-72 photocopied as Appendix 5D]. This demonstrates how a black person can

blunder through a system suffering the ultimate penalty yet each person fulfilling a

role they consider worthwhile and justified. The keynote to my approach on this topic

was that teachers should understand that even though they did not consider

themselves racist they might unintentionally practice racism because of the institution

they were working in.

In the last week we summarised what we had learnt from the first five weeks. We had

been asked by the headmaster to look into the question of a policy on racism but

when we began this it was clear that the group showed little interest in creating a

policy. Unfortunately I am not sure whether it was because of my reactions to the

headmaster and policies or theirs but it never happened. In the school we used to

have a green slip/yellow slip as a good/bad reward system. On the yellow slip(bad)

were listed typical characteristics of badness such as no books/equipment, uniform

etc. On behalf of the INSET group I suggested a category "Use of racist/sexist

language". Although at worst this met with a lukewarm reaction I cannot remember

this category appearing on these slips - IMPORTANTLY FOR ALL THE STUDENTS


I felt very invigorated delivering this course and over the six weeks we built up a good

understanding together, and even without report backs I know that everyone learnt

and enjoyed it - except the headmaster. I also have to be honest and say that we did

very little with the work. Eileen[18:40] said "I needed to examine myself much more

deeply ... I had strong feelings before about this subject and I had never really done

anything about it." I think that my participants would have given the same reaction,

and they, and myself, didn't do anything about it. Did Eileen?

It is easy in such situations to be self-critical but could we have seriously done

anything? Let's start with the policy issue. Yes, we all had the ability to write a very

convincing policy for the school, and perhaps we shouldn't have been discouraged

about doing it by the headmaster's attitude. But apart from creating a policy what

would it have produced? Would it have helped change the attitudes of the students or

the teachers? In my view very little.

Klein discusses the process by which a policy can be built and that this "process can

be of great value. First, issues(which are often uncomfortable ...) are raised and

debated; second, they are related to other policy decisions in the school(eg

streaming, discipline procedures, resource selection, language support), so

developing school practice through review. Third every policy requires support and

agreement within the school and also from parents and governors"[p105]. If we wrote

the policy who would have debated the issues? Would a marginalised issue/group as

ours have been able to relate this issue to other policy decisions and would we have

received support from teachers etc.? In my view the answer was no. The headmaster

wanted a policy, in my view, to parade as part of an image he built as an EOPS

headmaster within East Sussex. In Botswana headmasters are headmasters not

headteachers, sometimes women call themselves headmasters here for the status,

but in the UK it was usual to call the person in charge of the school, headteacher.

The headteacher of Hove Comprehensive insisted on being called headmaster - not

a very liberated position but just an example of his hypocrisy. The staff knew that he

was not serious about EOPS issues, and so many avoided being involved - sadly the

more dynamic (and in many ways good - but not on this issue) senior teachers of the

school. We knew this issue would not have staff support in view of all the other

pressures on teachers placed by the moving goalposts of government legislation.

Although we learned from the course we did not implement. Basically as the male

teacher on the EOPS working party excerpt in the video said "We are not moving fast

enough to counter the racism of society[29:28]". At Hove Comprehensive the

teachers in the workshops may have advanced but the tide they were fighting against

was too strong. I would generalise this to the whole of society; no matter how much

awareness training occurs it is not enough to counter the tide, and I personally see

this tide as a political question. If the political direction of the government is not

strongly active in fighting racism then the UK will continue to practice racial

disadvantage. With a Tory government that turns to a policy of repatriation as a

vote-winner and a Labour party whose vote analysis is determining its policy there is

little likelihood that the racist tide will be countered at government direction - it is more

likely to be swelled.

Conclusion to Part 5

Through developing my involvement in awareness training I have tried to present my

rationale for the course I gave. Awareness is the keynote here, I tried to make the

teachers aware of their own unconscious prejudice built up through being brought up

in a racist society where white people have the power to cpntrol aspects of black

people's lives such as housing, employment, education etc. I tried to show that

unconscious practices built up in the colonial era have their counterparts in English

society today, and hopefully by making teachers aware of this connection they are

able, in some way, to counter these practices. And then most importantly for teachers

trying to show them that, whether by intention or not, if they are in an institution which

practices racism, again whether intentionally or not, they compound the problem.

Having a policy that is not practised is also an aspect of this institutional racism, and I

tried to give reasons for our lack of desire to become involved in that.

Finally in this part on anti-racist awareness I found the whole process very

interesting. Whilst starting from the position of a typical northern youngster who

happily called a spade a spade, I learnt a great deal about the causes of racial

disadvantage of black people and found that I was able to put across some of this

understanding in INSET workshops. Sadly I am not sure as to the validity of the work.

I am convinced that I was able to show the teachers some of the deep unconscious

prejudice that they held together with showing them how racial disadvantage was

propogated by the vestiges of a colonial system and by institutional practices but in

the end what could I show them to do? Maybe on a personal level these people, who

were inclined this way anyway, would show a greater awareness and knowledge

involved in issues concerning race, but perhaps ultimately they will be powerless to

effect a meaningful change, like myself.




Concise Oxford Oxford University Press 1990


Katz Judy H "White Awareness; A Handbook for Anti-Racism Training"

University of Oklahoma Press 1980. ISBN 0-8061-1466-5.

Klein G "Education Towards Race Equality" Cassell

1993. ISBN 0-304-32387-X.

Malik K Paper "Universalism and Difference: race and

the Postmodernists" in Race and Class Vol 37

#3 1996 Institute of Race Relations. ISSN 0306


Rodney W "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa?" Bogle

L'Ouverture 1983 ISBN 09501546 4 4

Swann M "Education for All - The Report of the

Committee of Inquiry into the Education of

Children from Ethnic Minority Groups" HMSO

1985 Cmnd 9453.



















* These posters I also used in a community group course of workshops (see appendix

5C for details) on the situation in Ireland; the racism, cash crops, colonialism and

many other ideas had their exact counterparts in racism against blacks.


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