chapter  12
18 Pages

Racist harassment in the white hinterlands: Minority ethnic children and parents’ experiences of schooling in Northern Ireland


There is now a growing body of research on racist harassment in schools. Such work tends to be survey based with the aim of quantifying the nature and extent of racist name calling and other forms of harassment among pupils (see, for example, Commission for Racial Equality, 1987a; Kelly & Cohn, 1988; Tizard et al., 1988; Smith & Tomlinson, 1989; Malik, 1990; Whitney & Smith, 1993; Boulton, 1995). While these studies attest to the reality of racist harassment in schools, there are significant discrepancies in relation to the levels of harassment found. For example, while Tizard et al. (1988) and Malik (1990) concluded that around one-third of students in their respective samples had experienced some form of racist teasing or name calling, Whitney and Smith (1993) reported that only 15% of primary children and 9% of secondary children in their sample claimed to have been called racist names. Moreover, Smith and Tomlinson, in their survey of 18 multi-ethnic secondary schools, found that just 1% of parents mentioned ‘racial attacks’, leading them to conclude that ‘there was little indication of overt racism in relations among pupils or between pupils and staff’ (1989, p. 62).