PICTURED: Chief executive of race council Cymru Uzo Iwobi OBE
THE CHIEF executive of race council Cymru has revealed that nursery-age children have been using racist language towards others.
Uzo Iwobi OBE told the BBC that a three-year-old child at a school in the south Wales valleys used an extremely offensive racist comment that left one teacher “in despair”.
“Some of the language could not actually be attributed to a three-and-a-half-year-old, so they’re hearing this from somebody,” she said.
This marked one of five racist incidents to take place at the unnamed school.
Mrs Iwobi shared this to the Welsh Assembly’s culture committee, during an inquest into the teaching of Welsh History.
She added that young children were being influenced by negative stereotypes of black people portrayed in the media, in a bid to encourage the Welsh government to cover more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) history in the school curriculum.
“My children were born in Swansea and they’ve learned about the 1066 Norman conquest, but they know nothing about Paul Robeson, who came here and fought for the miners, they know nothing about Betty Campbell [the first black headmistress in Wales],” she said.
“Abdul Rahim, who was born in Cardiff to a Somali family, who rose to a number two position in the United Nations serving as a UN under-secretary general – who knows that history in Wales?
“The sad thing for us in the black movement is that our children don’t know their own history.”
Committee chairwoman Bethan Sayed said she would “work with her [Mrs Iwobi] to address the issue of racism in schools”.
CALL FOR CHANGE
The desire to incorporate BAME history into British schools has been an ongoing issue up and down the country.
In June, author Madeline Heneghan called for schools to teach pupils about the 1919 race riots in Liverpool, stating that it has become “a forgotten part of our history and important lessons can be learnt from it today”.
In addition, a 2018 report found warned teachers must stop devoting so much time to slavery because it puts black children off History.
The research also looked into the underrepresentation of ‘Black and Minority Ethnic’ (BME) students and staff in university History programmes, the substantial levels of race-based bias and discrimination experienced by BME historians in UK universities, and the negative impact of narrow school and university curriculums on diversity and inclusion.
“It is important that the history of race and ethnicity is integrated fully into the curriculum, rather than being relegated to a dedicated session or course,” the report said.
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