Show Racism the Red Card (Combatting racist myths against asylum seekers).
This double book, issued by the by Show Racism the Red Card publishers, together with a complementary DVD, provides very clear guidelines for teachers, showing them how to use the very useful materials provided and apt quotations, especially from the Press. The DVD portrays some typical situations which the class, prompted by the teacher, can then discuss.
Quite fortuitously, my last review was of Refugee Boy, which could profitably be added to the above materials. There was also a recent report in The Guardian of a study, conducted by a former CID counter terrorism officer of Exeter University's European Muslim Research Centre. It revealed alarming statistics, demonstrating an increase in hate crimes against Muslims, including death threats and murder. The point it makes, based on detailed evidence, is that the ill-feeling that provokes these attacks is whipped up not only by extremists but also by "mainstream" reports, primarily in the media.
So it is clearly the duty of the education system to disabuse young minds of the prejudice thus created. They should do this not by counter propaganda but with simple facts. The two books show how very varied activities, questions, role playing, discussions based on what they have seen and heard, like examples of misreporting in the Press, can stimulate thought and affect children's attitudes.
One telling example is quoted of the constant battering readers get of news about "terrorism", usually associated with Muslim-sounding names. Its heading concerned a terrorist attack in an area with many Muslims. The actual report, often not read by the busy reader, revealed that it was an attack by neo-nazis on a Muslim neighbour!
The book thoroughly analyses and discusses terrorism, in all its aspects. There is no attempt to minimise the atrocities carried out by some Muslims. But the point is made that many non-Muslims are guilty of murder and other crimes, but when do you ever hear about a Christian murderer? A murderer's religion or philosophy is never taken into account when his crime is reported. Moral: don't generalise from individual cases, even if there seem to be a lot of them. Are all Britons to be blamed for the atrocities carried out in our name in the Empire?
The lesson of the books is: think it over. With their accompanying DVDs they provide an invaluable aid in the teaching of this vital subject.