are a few text excerpts from the 64 page fully illustrated education
intro from the YRE
pack was developed as a result of Newcastle YRE's anti-racist
education pack for the North East, which the YRE nationally was
closely involved in producing. The research the North East pack
involved and especially its popularity were more than enough to
convince us that there was an enormous demand for good anti-racist
young people today are disenchanted with their future. Mass youth
unemployment, poverty wages and education cuts are forcing them to
the edges of society. The failure of mainstream political
organisations to represent them or voice their frustrations has led
to enormous alienation. No wonder some young people have been drawn
to neo-Nazi ideas because of the lack of a political alternative to
the attacks they are facing.
all our campaigns over the last three and a half years have
confirmed the opinion of the founding members of YRE: that most
young people are searching for unity and a way to make those in
power listen to them.
hope that this anti-racist pack will help young people all over
Britain to direct the anger they feel at the oppression they suffer
in a positive direction, not take it out on each other.
pack provides a basic introduction to racism and many related
issues. In particular we have tried to demonstrate that Blacks and
Asians, along with other targets of oppression, are not passive
victims. The history of racism is a history of how Black and Asian
people have fought back against racism and exploitation.
people in Britain today need to be told about this in order to
counteract the myths of white superiority which have been being
spread ever since the days of the slave trade. Young Blacks and
Asians should be able to have a sense of pride in their own history,
not have it left out of the curriculum.
pack has been designed to adapt to most situations - from a formal
class using all the exercises to one person interested in knowing
more. However the best way to use it is probably to work through it
in sequence. It begins with a quiz which aims to raise some of the
main issues which run through the pack and give the reader an
appetite for more information.
the pack we have used the term Black and Asian. This aims to cover
all people of African or Asian origin. Although many Asians now
choose to call themselves Black, many also do not. Therefore when we
have used Black and Asian throughout the pack in the interests of
consistency and clarity. Where we refer to a particular group, we
have made it clear we are referring to that group and no-one else -
e.g. Afro-Caribbeans, Africans, people from the Indian
to space and time there are, of course, many issues we haven't been
able to cover, or deal with fully. Therefore we have compiled a long
list of other sources at the back of the pack for anyone who is
inspired to look further into the issues.
hope that this pack will encourage young people who are using it to
find out more about racism and how to fight it. The more young
people who are conscious, independent-minded and alert to the issues
there are, the better prepared society will be to defeat the
reactionary forces of racism and fascism.
excerpts from "Britain's First Refugees" from the Refugee
Council's book We Left because we had to]
against Racism in Europe's antiracism education pack should become
an essential resource for every school that is serious about
challenging racism and racist ideas. Written by and for young
people, these YRE materials will provoke discussion and debate and
help to answer some of the arguments peddled by racist organisations
in Britain today.
is an issue that teachers ignore at their peril. Whether it's name
calling, bullying or even actual physical attacks, racism can divide
any school community. But as the Burnage report pointed out, it
cannot be tackled merely as a moral issue. Racist arguments can
provide powerful explanations for the poverty and unemployment that
many young people face. The YRE pack makes sure it tackles these
issues head-on, answering the lies about Black and Asians being
responsible for crime and the lack of jobs and decent housing.
the successful YRE pack was first produced in the North-East, the
National YRE pack has been updated and improved. important issues
for young people like racism in sport have been added. With many
teachers worried about the diverse effects of the Asylum and
Immigration Bill, the additional material on refugees and
immigration is very welcome. The 'Stop Racism in our Schools'
questionnaire, piloted in Hackney and Islington, will not only
benefit school students but also teach many teac . hers a lot about
the attitudes and divisions within their school.
the narrow outlook of the National Curriculum, no teacher should
feel restricted in their ability to tackle the issue of racism in
their classroom. Indeed such a perspective is clearly required to
deliver the cross-curricular themes of 'education for citizenship'.
What is often a problem is to find materials that can easily be used
in the classroom - a problem that the YRE have recognised. Quizzes
questionnaires and suggestions for 'thing to do' make these well
presented materials easy to use with pupils. They will be of
particular use as part of personal and social education at Key
stages 3 and 4, although some sections, particularly those on the
Nazis, will be useful elsewhere in the curriculum.
are in a unique position not only to combat the spread of racist
ideas but also to actively promote anti-racism. Through a schooi's
ethos, policies and curriculum, racist attitudes can be challenged.
This YRE pack will make an important contribution to that work.
Powell-Davies, Lewisham NUT, Branch Secretary, (personal capacity).
Introduction for Youth
and Community Workers
and Community Workers should be at the forefront of the fight
against racism. Many young people are disenchanted with the system,
a system that gives them no hope, no employment and no benefits.
Young people are an oppressed group themselves and are vulnerable to
the opportunistic policies put forward by racist and fascist groups.
Especially when racist immigration legislation is used to try and
give the impression that this country's economic problems are the
result of too many Black people entering the country.
people need to be shown that they have more in common with young
people in Africa, Asia the Middle East or any other part of the
world, than they do with those who hold the political and economic
power in this country.
is used by those who wish to sustain this oppressive society in
order to divide and rule the working class. We must continually
oppose all forms of racism and unite Black and white youth in the
fight against the real enemy. That is why 1 fully commend this pack
to Youth and Community Workers as an essential tool in the fight
and Youth Workers' Union
What the racists say
and Asians come to our country and steal our jobs - This is a racist
groups claim that it is possible to get rid of unemployment by
stopping immigration and 'sending foreigners [usually Blacks and
Asians] back where they came from'.
% of the working population of Britain is officially unemployed;
only 5% of the total population is Black or Asian.
immigrants to Britain are white. Around 40% of foreign-born
workers in Britain are European Union nationals. Over half the
people given work permits to work in Britain in 1994 were from
to Britain is one of the lowest in Europe - since 1981 the
number of people who have been accepted for settlement in
Britain has stayed at the same level: between 50,000 and 60,000
people leave Britain than come in. For example, during the
1980s, 6,000 more people emigrated out of Britain than entered
the country. The 1950s are the longest period this century where
there have been more people entering Britain than leaving, but
this only adds up to a net immigration to Britain of 12,000 over
the whole 1 0 years. In 1992, 11,000 more people left Britain
than entered. Today, well over 200,000 Britons live in other
European Union countries.
isn't immigration which causes unemployment but lack of jobs.
Sharp rises in unemployment are caused by changes in the economy
- usually job losses in a recession - not because more people
are coming to Britain. Some of the lowest unemployment Britain
has had this century was in the 1950s, when immigration into
Britain was at its highest level since the Second World War.
and Asian people are more likely to be unemployed than whites,
even if they are highly qualified.
one in four young Blacks leaving Youth Training schemes get
jobs. This compares to one in three young disabled people and
one out of two young whites.
out of every five Asian shopkeepers has a university degree;
they were forced to open their own small businesses due to
racial discrimination by employers.
workers tend to have lower-paid and less secure jobs than their
white counterparts. Even with employers who have an equal
opportunities policy, Black and Asian people often find they are
stuck in the lower grades with little chance of promotion.
Black and Asian people in Britain today originally came here
because they were asked to come and work by the British
government in the 1940s and 1950s. The British economy was
expanding and the government wanted extra workers, especially in
lower-paid and labouring jobs where white people often weren't
prepared to work. Government officials went to the West lndies
to persuade people to come and work in Britain to reduce the
labour shortage. A few years later when the labour shortage was
no longer a problem, the same politicians who had supported
immigration to provide extra workers for industry, began to call
for an end to Black and Asian immigration and use racist
Why do racists say these
much easier to find a simple solution to a difficult problem, even
if it's the wrong one.
lower wages, crime and lack of affordable housing cause an enormous
amount of hardship.
people are angry about this suffering and looking for ways to end
is easier to blame Blacks and Asians than work out why inequality
and discrimination exist and how to get rid of them.
blaming Blacks, Asians and other minority groups, fascist groups can
try and build support for their racist ideas and politicians can
divert public anger onto someone else.
and fascist groups have no answers to the social and economic
problems we are facing.
blamed unemployment on Jewish bosses and claimed he could get rid of
fact in Nazi Germany unemployed people were forced to work almost as
slave labour building roads and producing goods for the Nazi war
effort, and their names were taken off the unemployment figures. If
they refused or resisted, they were arrested and sent to the
groups today are small and their support is very limited.
their ideas are dangerous and they can incite a large amount of
racial violence for such a small number of people.
the four months after British National Party member Derek Beackon
was elected to the council in Tower Hamlets, the number of racist
attacks in the area went up by 300%.
members have been known to carry out racist attacks, but the
majority of the attacks which followed Beackon's election were
carried out by racists who weren't BNP members, although they were
made more confident by the BNP's result.
the BNP has suffered a series of defeats since then.
to stop the spread of fascist ideas it is not enough to tell people
that the BNP are Nazis. You have to explain why their racist lies
provide no answer to the problems of unemployment, homelessness,
cuts in benefit, etc; and give people the true facts and figures.
is in everyone's interests to see the ideas of racism and fascism
defeated: if we allow them to take root without challenging them,
who knows who will be scapegoated next for social or economic
problems: single parents, teenagers and pensioners, many of whom
fought against Hitler in the Second World War?
and Asian people, Jews, gay men and lesbians, and all the other
groups which the Nazis target, have a massive contribution to make
of them are held back from achieving their potential by lack of
opportunity and discrimination.
whole of society would benefit if everyone: Black, Asian or white,
Jewish or Gentile, gay or straight, male or female, could live their
lives as they wish without fear of violence, discrimination or
Did you know?
Egypt, in North Africa, was the first society in the world to
produce paper (papyrus). The Ancient Egyptians had a highly
organised society, two versions of a written language and
advanced understanding of medicine, maths, engineering,
agriculture and music. Much of the knowledge of the Ancient
Greeks originally came from Egypt.
around 3,000 BC the Indus Valley (in modern Pakistan) was home
to a prosperous economy of around 100 cities with active foreign
trade. This advanced civilisation built huge temples and created
a written language that still hasn't been deciphered.
the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), Chinese civilisation was more
developed than European society in every field. The 5,000
kilometre Great Wall of China, which repelled invaders for
centuries, was started in the third century BC; the written
language still used today was established between 221-206 BC.
Chinese civilisation can be traced back 5,000 years.
the 11th century AD the Yoruba people, in what is now Nigeria
(West Africa), lived in walled cities with broad avenues and
made beautiful bronze sculptures and ceramics. They developed a
democratic system of urban administration, involving
locally-elected councils and mayors.
Why does racism exits
Racism is an ideology that preaches the inferiority of one race to
another. It justifies discrimination and in its extreme form,
violence towards and murder of people because of their skin colour.
Youth against Racism in Europe believes that these ideas haven't
always existed, nor are people born racist. Rather these ideas have
been created and spread for specific purposes and in a conscious
way. Nasima from Tower Hamlets YRE explains.
African slave in America was happier than in his own civilisation.'
supporter of slavery quoted by CLR James in The Black Jacobins.
began the great myth which justified slavery and the organised slave
trade. It was a system of forced capture and removal of millions of
people from Africa, to travel thousands of mi treacherous condition,
third died on the way. Those who survived the journey ended up as
slaves on the sugar, tea, rice and tobacco plantations in America
and the Caribbean islands.
was the only motive and Britain was the greatest profiteer from the
slave trade. Queen Elizabeth, who ruled England from 1558 to 1603,
had initially disapproved of the slave trade, fearing the 'vengeance
of heaven' for what the slave traders were doing. But she was soon
assisting the slave merchants by lending them her ships.
1680 and 1686, two million African slaves passed through British
ports on the way to America. Industries developed in Britain a
result of slavery, as wealth. Cargo from the slave trade worth well
over £210 million in today's prices arrived in British ports in
July 1757 alone. By 1792, Liverpool handled 42% of the total
European slave trade. It was wealth from the slave trade which made
it possible for British industry to become the most advanced in the
world by the late 19th century. Hence there was support from the
rich for the existence of slavery:
trade with Africa is very profitable to the nation in general ...
plantations are the greatest cause of the riches of the kingdom'
Gee, British Merchant, 1729.
What you can do
Look in your school or local library for books or articles on
historical Black and Asian figures in Britain. Discuss your
findings: how easy or difficult was it to get material? Think about
what you have read in this pack; do you think that there is enough
material about historical Black or Asian figures and their
contribution available in our libraries?
Collect a selection of magazines and/or newspapers. Look out for
pictures or articles about Blacks and Asians. How many pictures do
you find does this reflect the amount of Black and Asian people in
our society? What about the articles, is there a common theme? If
so, what is it?
Keep a week-long diary of your TV viewing. Note how many Black and
Asian characters you see. Think what sort of programmes or adverts
they are in. Think about what kind of characters they play. Discuss
whether you think Black and Asian people are ignored or stereotyped
a) Imagine that it is 1950 and you have just come to Britain from
the Caribbean or the Indian subcontinent. Write a letter to your
family or friends back home. Maybe write about where you live or
work. Tell them how you feel and how you are being treated.
Now imagine the present day: you are 16, Black or Asian and have
lived in Britain all of your life. You are writing to someone in a
foreign country who wants to know about your life as a Black or
Asian person in Britain. Compare the two letters and discuss how
much things have changed.