Racism in education has been a common theme during our research project. We have received testimonies from people from a variety of generations sharing their experiences of racism in Wellingborough schools. Incidents of verbal abuse were common and included name-calling, ignorant comments about a persons clothing or products they used and some even received serious threats to harm them. There was also a lack of confidence in reporting racism at school due to poor reporting mechanisms and unsympathetic attitudes. Some people interviewed also felt that teachers discriminated against them and that there was no motivation to work hard.
Jenny discussed unkind comments by other students about the products she used. “We would oil our hair. ‘What’s that smell? What’s that stuff you’ve put in?’ So growing up with all that, there would be kind of jibes.” Jenny Sebastian (Interviewed 03 April 2017)
Mishma was so used to racism at school that it became normalised. “I just never thought it was that big of a thing…now I look back on it & I think, I should have said something about it & I could have reported this or that, but you’re not really aware of it, especially at that age. Especially, in schools that don’t teach you that much in detail either…” Mishma Nazish (Interviewed on 04 July 2017)
Pratima received death threats at secondary school by racist students. “If we had knives, we would kill you!”
Pratima Dattani (Interviewed on 17 February 2017)
Chris experienced a lack of support & equal treatment by teachers. “Didn’t learn very much at school because…no matter how clever you were, if you were black they tried to put you into the worst classes. Even if you came top of the class, they still were not necessarily putting you into a good class next year, so there was no motivation.”
Christopher Fray (Interviewed 11 April 2017)