New animations aim to tackle racism in schools

Staffordshire University researchers are helping to share real stories of racism in a bid to tackle race-hate in schools

An animated scene showing a young girl in a hijab being bullied at school

The animated series, created by Mosaic Films, is based on real testimony from young people

The films are incredibly powerful and it is great to see an educational tool being produced because this is something that pupils involved in our study said they wanted.

Sarah Page, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology

The ‘Colour of My Skin’ is a powerful new collection of short animated films which explore personal experiences of racism and associated bullying and isolation in the UK. The series, created by Mosaic Films, is based on real testimony from young people and draws on the findings from research by Staffordshire University which uncovered widespread racism in schools.

Sarah Page, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology, explained: “Key findings from our research showed that regardless of ethnicity, young people can be victims, witnesses and also perpetrators of race hate crime. The extent of race hate crime was quite apparent, and the effects of race hate crime was also quite shocking to us.”

In the study, school and college pupils aged 14 to 17 years old described victimisation that ranged from verbal abuse to physical assault. This included Islamophobic abuse such as headscarves being removed, with pupils reporting that their hair was falling out because of the stress and the trauma of experiencing such racism.

The young people who took part also called for more education on what constitutes race hate and race hate extremism.

Sarah, who led the study, has since collaborated with Mosaic Films to support the storyline development of the new animations which feature common experiences of racism highlighted in the research.

The films are now being shared as an educational resource by the BBC and it is hoped they will be used to initiate conversations about racism in order to reduce further race hate crime occurring.

Sarah said: “I was really honoured to be an advisor for Mosaic Films in producing this excellent BBC teaching resource for KS3 and KS4 PSHE lessons. The films are incredibly powerful and it is great to see an educational tool being produced because this is something that pupils involved in our study said they wanted.”

“It is massively important that we listen to young people. One of the themes that really resonated in our research is that teachers don’t always listen to pupils’ concerns and that some teachers were perceived as racist and this comes out in the storylines of the short film clips.”

She added: “My hope is that schools will use these videos to educate teachers and that they will be brave enough to use them in the classroom to start a dialogue will pupils. In a lot of examples in the films, racism starts at primary school which can be incredibly harmful at such a young age and so helping young people to develop empathy and an understanding of racism is incredibly valuable.”

Watch the ‘Colour of My Skin’ animations on the BBC website.

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