Enlist everyone to fight racism;Letter

7th May 1999 at 01:00
YOU report Tom Wylie, of the National Youth Agency, saying that "badly handled anti-racist work does more harm than good". (TES, April 23) Agreed - if one can agree to a tautology. But why does he assume that teachers will do worse than his youth workers -whether in citizenship, personal social and health education or in whole-school approaches? Why does he ignore the need to begin as early as possible in combating all kinds of prejudice?

If he has an institutional interest in saying this, why does he assume that resources needed to support citizenship teaching and learning would be at his expense?

We must all pull together. Anti-racism needs schools, youth workers and voluntary bodies, for none of them alone can cure the blight without considering attitudes of some public authorities, sections of the press and the facts of poverty and deprivation.

Moreover, his sniping at a citizenship curriculum could be ill-informed. "Too much freight attached to it"? Better to wait for two weeks to argue that one. For he names some freight unlikely to be attached in any great weight in the consultation document, and he ignores the already announced thrust towards active learning for citizenship in the community -which will in future swell the ranks of his volunteers and the experience of his staff.

Bernard Crick

Chair of the advisory group on the teaching of citizenship (1997-98)

8a Bellevue Terrace, Edinburgh

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