Beyond Books: resources to teach children and young people about racism

By Julia Howe and Anjam Sultana

wall with the text i can t breathe

Photo by ksh2000 on Pexels.com

 

 

We are in a crucial time when many people feel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to learn more about the impact of racism and to teach their children about it. There have been many helpful lists of books for children produced in the last few days, for example: No reader is too young to start: anti-racist books for all children and teens. What may be less apparent is that there are a number of organisations such as charities and campaigning groups who publish educational materials about racism. This list is not intended to be complete or exhaustive but it may be helpful as a starting point if you are looking for resources to improve your own knowledge, to teach your children or to recommend to schools.

The resources here are all UK based to acknowledge that while there are commonalities in racism around the world, it also takes place within culturally specific contexts. We also recognise that the use of the term “race” is problematic and are using it here in the sense of difference being socially constructed, rather than biological. You can find the resources by clicking on the highlighted hyperlinks.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

  • No Outsiders: while this initiative is not explicitly about racism it is designed to promote diversity, acceptance and inclusion in schools and can provide a foundation for other work. It is also one of the few initiatives that can be used with very young children through the use of picture books and stories.

Understanding the History of Race in the UK

  • Our Migration Story tells the untold history of migration to the UK since AD43, celebrating the lives and the contribution of migrants to the development of our society. The resources are presented in a range of formats and include lesson plans.
  • The Institute of Race Relations produced a series of excellent booklets in the 1980s about the history of race in Britain. These are still relevant and in print. They are presented as cartoons but are suitable for older children (secondary aged) and adults. They also publish a range of books, lesson plans and the journal Race and Class.
  • Black and British – A Forgotten History (BBC, 2016): Historian David Olusoga explores overlooked Black figures from British history. This series, and the supporting website, offer many potential resources to enrich a secondary school history curriculum.

Understanding Race and Diversity

  • Show Racism the Red Card is a charity that specialises in working with schools and young people. They produce resources about a range of inequalities including racism.
  • The Runnymede Trust is a leading independent think tank focusing on race equality. They produce a lot of academic research and also educational resources.
  • Kids of Colour is a YouTube platform for children and young people of colour to share and ‘explore their experiences of race, identity and culture and challenge the everyday institutionalized racism that shapes their lives’ in modern Britain. It offers a rich resource of videos of young people of colour sharing their experiences of racism.

We live in an information rich world and there are likely to be other helpful resources that we have missed. Please feel free to alert us and our blog readers to these through our comments box.

Julia is a tutor on the initial training course for educational psychologists at the University of Birmingham. Anjam is a local authority educational psychologist and an honoury lecturer on the course.

 

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