Headlines, such as ‘Secretary of State for Education slates teachers’, are resented by members of the profession when the basis of the criticism is suspect. Irrespective of the curriculum, name-calling in schools is common. It has acceptable and unacceptable faces. In schools within a multicultural society, racist name-calling as a form of verbal harassment is one of its unacceptable forms. Challenging misinformation with facts is a sound strategy. An appreciation of the estimated sizes of various ethnic groups in the population is one starting point. A knowledge of demography is essential. There exists widespread ignorance of such basic information. Its interpretation requires considerable care. Whether in Britain or the Balkans, in all countries, national identity is likely to remain a potent concept. The ‘whole’ of that identity is much more than the sum of its ethnic, religious or culturally distinctive ‘parts’. Politicians are well aware of the possibility of racist reactions from the white British public.