Video aims to shock race-hate youths;Racism in schools

12th March 1999 at 00:00
THE LONDON borough in which Stephen Lawrence was murdered is using a shocking video in an attempt to prevent young people from committing racist acts.

The video, Routes of Racism, shows young white people explaining why they hold racist views and how some believe they - not those they target - are the victims. It also depicts the physical and emotional scars caused by racist attacks and harassment.

Greenwich council, which produced the 28-minute video in association with London's Institute of Education, stressed that it is not suitable for general audiences. Rather, it is being used with small groups of youths believed to have racist views, with the hope of intervening before they commit crimes.

As an unnamed black counsellor says in the video, the idea is to listen to what young people have to say, not to tell them what they should think, and then to dissect their arguments to demonstrate why their views are untenable.

Many of the youths interviewed made comments suggesting that ethnic minorities receive preferential treatment in social services.

Dr Roger Hewitt, of Goldsmiths College, in Greenwich, said that this widespread belief about "unfairness" creates a substantial obstacle to tackling racism.

One boy tells how he was suspended from school for having a very short haircut, while black students with the same styles were not singled out.

Routes of Racism is also being shown to every teacher and school governor in Greenwich, as the council believes some teachers are not exposed to the comments young people make and are therefore unaware of their true feelings on the issue.

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