saifurv's blog

Does Black History Month still have a purpose?

Arthur Wharton, the first Black man to play professional football in Britain

Though first observed in the United States in the 1970s, Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK in October 1987.

Taking place mainly in educational and local council institutions, the idea behind it was to give some exposure to Black historical figures who’s achievements had been previously overlooked by the existing school curriculum, that preferred instead to focus their attention on the achievements of the white English men.

Covid-19: is there an opportunity for a new approach to informal exclusions?

 

The Department for Education has produced a guidance document for schools when they re-open in September after the Covid-19 closures.  ROTA has some thoughts.  

The period of lockdown has proved particularly challenging for some pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. Refugees, asylum seekers, children from some BAME communities and from Gipsy, Roma and Traveller families have had difficulty accessing support and education resources.  

Time to Shut Up! Racism, Royalty and the limitations of Britishness

Meghan’s Blackness has lost its sparkle even quicker than I originally envisioned when I wrote an initial comment piece shortly after the royal wedding. As I alluded to at the time and reiterate here, the sparkle of Meghan’s Blackness could not last because at its core Britain is an institutionally racist country.

Theresa May’s mental health act reform: Warm words but scant action

You may well have missed it under the Brexit deluge but Theresa May announced a major reform of the Mental Health Act this month – the first for 30 years.

She had commissioned Sir Simon Wessely, Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and president of the Royal Society of Medicine to examine the legal state of Britain’s mental health system.

His report came out earlier this month. Frankly it is full of warm words but proposes scant action and dumps the problem of better treatment for mental health patients on the NHS.

The selective amnesia of Trevor Phillips could lead us down the path to civil disorder

A number of people have approached me with regards to Trevor Phillips recent article in the Mail newspaper calling for the police to be made exempt of race equality laws to allow them to carry out more stop and search operations on predominantly young black boys in areas with high levels of violent crime.

Review of the Mental Health Act fails to put ‘Race’ on its Agenda for change, but acknowledges the reality of institutional racism in the mental health system

The report by Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, is headed ‘Modernising the Mental Health Act’ and subtitled ‘increasing choice, reducing compulsion’. There is nothing we can object to in this report except that it fails to recommend any legislative changes at all that would reduce institutional racism. And this is in spite of assurances given by Simon Wessely earlier this year that race was on his agenda for the Review; and that - together with the Race Equality Foundation (REF) - ROTA submitted specific suggestions for such legal changes.

New evidence on informal exclusions

Since 2012 ROTA has been gathering evidence on informal school exclusions - and its various guises such ‘off rolling’ and ‘home schooling’ -  to the detriment of pupils and their families who have experienced this. We also have evidence that young BAME pupils may be disproportionately affected.  It comes as no surprise to ROTA that not only is this practice continuing in 2018 but may be increasing. 

Official figures reveal a disturbing rise in right wing extremism among UK youth

Scenes from the right wing demo in defence of extremist Tommy Robinson pic credit: You Tube

The somewhat violent demonstration in London this weekend in support of jailed right wing extremist Tommy Robinson was foreshadowed by figures released under three months ago by the Home Office.

The figures come from the highly controversial Prevent programme which most people see as a plan to catch young people  being radicalised by so called Islamic State and Al Qaeda before they commit atrocities.

Theresa May’s risky gamble with reforming an ”institutionally racist” mental health act

With very little publicity and dwarfed by Brexit  Theresa May has committed herself to a major reform of the Mental Health Act. Last year she convened a meeting at Downing Street and appointed a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Sir Simon Wessely. to conduct a review.

What Happens When Meghan Markle’s Blackness loses its Sparkle?

Symbols are important. For some people, seeing Meghan Markle marry into the monarchy, while a Black preacher expounded the word and a Black Choir sang at the ceremony, was viewed as ushering in a new area of racialised harmony and black cultural acceptance at all levels of British society. If blackness is acceptable to the monarchy, then surely it can be embraced by everyone?

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