BME teachers facing more covert racism

NASUWT has reported that microinsults, microinvalidations and other forms of covert racism are increasing in schools across the country.

The Teachers’ Union organised a BME teachers’ conference and found that 54 per cent of attendees say they have experienced verbal or nonverbal actions which they believe are demeaning to their racial heritage or identity in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, 59 per cent said they have encountered everyday attempts to exclude or deny the validity of their identity, thoughts, feelings or experiences. Teachers admitted that they had typically been described as ‘oversensitive’, ‘paranoid’ or ‘aggressive’ when challenging unacceptable language or behaviour at work.

A poll of the 400 BME teachers from across the UK also found that: 37 per cent think racism has become worse in their workplace in the last year; 46 per cent of BME teachers were not confident about reporting racial discrimination, racial bullying or racial harassment to their employer because of lack of support; and BME teachers believe that having a zero tolerance policy on racism in schools and colleges, together with anti-racism inspection and stronger government regulation were the most important priorities for ensuring that all schools/colleges take effective action to tackle racist attitudes and behaviours at work.

Chris Keates, Acting General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “BME teachers continue to be subjected to unacceptable racist remarks, negative comments and derogatory behaviours because of their racial origin.  It is concerning that racism in schools and colleges is becoming more covert; taking the form of microinsults and microinvalidations, which are often dismissed or downplayed by senior managers.
“All of the NASUWT’s own research shows the BME teachers face greater barriers and discrimination in gaining promotion and pay progression than the generality of teachers and that overt and covert instances of racism are a daily reality for too many BME teachers. The NASUWT will continue to support members in challenging these injustices, but much more action is needed by Government to affect the systemic change which is needed to ensure that no pupil or teacher is held back because of their ethnicity or faith. Through the NASUWT’s ongoing Act for Racial Justice campaign, we will continue to fight all forms of racial discrimination and promote the interests of all BME teachers and pupils.”

Read more