Race and religious hate – advice from Hope Not Hate
26th April 2017
Home Office statistics recorded 52,528 accounts of hate crimes registered by the police in England and Wales in the year 2014/2015. A shocking 82% of these were racial hatred crimes, while 6% were recorded as religious hate crimes. These figures are also reported to have increased in the year 2017, making it more important than ever to open up dialogues with young students and children around this sensitive topic.
Here at Impero, we partnered with Britain’s largest anti-racism organisation, HOPE not hate , back in 2016, to develop our race and religious hatred keyword library available as part of our flagship product, Impero Education Pro. Ensuring that any student potentially using derogatory language in relation to race or religion is identified, HOPE not hate has provided the following advice for handling incidents following a keyword capture.
Confirming that students are aware of the severity of their derogatory language choice, opening up conversations with young people helps to educate them on responsible online behaviour and helps to, place tremendous emphasis on the fact that no-one should be a victim of racial hatred and/or religious crime. But before we delve into this advice, we must first address the following question: what is racist or religious hate crime?
Racist or religious hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other individual, to be motivated by prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race, as well as a person’s religion or perceived religion
Advice for opening up a dialogue with students around race and religious hate
If Impero Education Pro helps identify that a student is using derogatory language in relation to race or religion, then the following advice provided by HOPE not hate may help either yourself or another member of staff to open up a dialogue with the student around this issue.
- Is the student aware of the impact of what they have done/said?
Often many people are simply unaware of the impact of some of the phrases or terms that they use can have on people around them. This can be either because they have not thought the consequences through or the phrase is considered mainstream and, therefore, deemed acceptable to use. Getting the student to understand the full impact and empathise with those affected can prevent issues from reoccurring.
- Ensure the perpetrator(s) fully understands why it is wrong
Without fully understanding why certain language is unacceptable, students are unlikely to change their behaviour. Simply being told off for being racist/xenophobic/sexist etc normally only teaches the student not to use that language during school. When a pupil is pulled up for an offensive comment or statement, trying to get them to comprehend why the school disapproves will help them reassess their actions so that they can remove those thoughts or opinions through their own evaluation.
- Allow open discussion on the topics
With the internet and social media, it is very easy for students to access extreme opinions and beliefs. Extremist groups work hard at dressing up their beliefs on social media to make them seem appealing to hook people into their group. They will then drip feed more and more extreme ideology. Allowing students to ask questions on items they have seen online without fear of rebuttal will create a healthier education environment where there can be sensible discussion about the dangers these ideologies can lead to.
- Don’t leave any issue unaddressed
Extreme beliefs and hatred towards another group often starts with the smallest of things. Racist jokes and casual discriminatory language can often go unchallenged but starts the process of normalising these opinions and allowing some students to develop more extreme ideologies.
- Report it!
Many hate crimes go unreported, around 80-90%. Reporting incidents helps local statutory bodies attribute the right resources to the right areas. Without sufficient reporting, issues will go unaddressed and can start to spread through the community. Reporting can be done anonymously online via www.report-it.org.uk, which will allow the incident to be logged without going through with a conviction.
Say it, believe it, demand it, HOPE not hate.
For more advice from some of our other online safety partners, and a best practice framework for implementing a monitoring system in schools, download our online safety handbook and read some of our other guest blogs.