Describing abuse as “banter” is leading to an acceptance of racism

Hello folks,

I hope you are all keeping well? Whilst trying to keep warm on this very cold day in London, I received a newsletter article from on the subject of describing abuse as “banter” and I felt it was worth sharing.

Happy reading 😀

Describing abuse as “banter” is leading to an acceptance of racism and religious discrimination in schools

According to CYP Now, tackling racism and discrimination was chosen as one of the top priorities of the UK Youth Parliament in a ballot of nearly 970,000 young people in 2015 and subsequently became the topic of focus for 2016. It was then highlighted as a priority again this year in poll of more than 978,000 young people.

But the fact that it remains a major problem in schools is shown  in a report from the British Council’s Youth Select Committee, where there is the suggestion that racism and religious discrimination has become so normalised among young people that many just see it as “banter”.

Inevitably this has led to the call for more to be done to tackle these problems, particularly the fact that many youngsters do not see taunting as discrimination. It has called for teachers to receive more support to tackle and report incidents.

Describing abuse as “banter” is leading to an acceptance of racism and religious discrimination in schools

Racism has been normalised

The committee said young people are not confident in reporting incidents because racism and discrimination is hard to identify, has been normalised and there is “a lack of leadership from teachers”.

My own view, for what it is worth, is that “banter” itself has become an word used to excuse abuse. Originally associated with the treatment dished out to football fans of opposing teams, it now seems to mean a type of abuse on social media which can be dismissed as being unimportant. As in “it’s just banter”.

Indeed the report says that dismissing racism and religious discrimination as banter is “not acceptable” and teachers need to lead the way in giving young people the confidence to understand what constitutes racism and discrimination.

The report called for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education to become a compulsory subject, with the issue of religious discrimination a part of the compulsory content.  It added, that if the “government fails to provide schools with clear and definite PSHE syllabus guidance and leadership, local authorities should fill this role and establish local guidance, in consultation with local schools, on teaching PSHE.”

The report adds that the government’s Equalities Office should have a separate minister to work exclusively on the government’s efforts to tackle discrimination, including racism and religious discrimination, and promoting equality and diversity.

In addition, it says that local authorities should place a legal duty on schools to require them to record and report data on incidents of discrimination, and that an advisory group should be established, made up of government departments, local authorities, and service providers, as well as community, religious and race groups, and young people.

Tony Attwood

What are you thoughts on this article? Do you think describing abuse as “banter” is leading to an acceptance of racism and religious discrimination in schools? Please leave a comment below. There’s love in sharing, so please click on one of the social icons to share this post with your network. Many thanks

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