Embedding anti-racism in Scotland's schools a welcome step towards ridding society of this blight – Scotsman comment

Young children often display a seemingly innate sense of fairness, compassion for others and a lack of any kind of prejudice.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said 'embedding anti-racism into the ethos and practice of our education system is imperative' (Picture: John Devlin)

It is to our shame that some will grow up to acquire irrational hatreds like racism through a process of informal ‘education’ by adults. So new plans to “embed” the teaching of anti-racist ideals into formal education in schools could make a real difference.

Learning about the full horror of the slave trade and vile beliefs that some human beings invented in an attempt to justify the most cruel abuse, torture and mass murder of others will surely fire our youth with righteous anger about those who continue to perpetuate these despicable views today.

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In Scotland, we sometimes like to delude ourselves that racism is not such a problem as it is in other parts of the world. But, given there were 2,251 reports of racist incidents in schools alone between the 2017/18 and 2019/20 academic years, it is clear such abuse takes place on more than a daily basis.

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Anti-racism teaching to be ‘embedded’ into school life in Scotland

As a teacher toolkit and new guidance on racism were published, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said that such prejudice had “no place in Scotland which is why embedding anti-racism into the ethos and practice of our education system is imperative”.

It would, therefore, appear that the Scottish government is taking the issue seriously and this should set an example for civic society as a whole.

Rangers and Celtic football clubs are not perhaps the first places to which many people would turn when looking for moral guidance.

However, Rangers’ swift decision to issue indefinite bans to fans chanting a racist song about Celtic's Japanese forward Kyogo Furuhashi sent a strong message. And in March, the then Celtic player Scott Brown publicly offered his support to Rangers rival Glen Kamara as they warmed up on the pitch, after the latter was racially abused during a Europa League game.

This is leadership that our society desperately needs if we are to rid ourselves of prejudice in all its guises.

We are born with an inspirational sense of equality. By teaching the next generation to see through the hate-filled lies of racists and challenging these twisted fools wherever they dare show themselves, we can build a society full of the wisdom and kindness of bairns.

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