Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 14:28 UK

Anti-racism education for estate

Southmead shops
Racism in Southmead was highlighted by a Panorama investigation

A Bristol group which works to educate people to prevent racism is to go into schools in the Southmead estate in the wake of a recent Panorama programme.

In Hate on the Doorstep, two Asian reporters lived on the estate for two months posing as a married couple.

During that time they recorded more than 50 incidents of verbal and physical racist abuse.

Sari (Support Against Racist Incidents) aims to educate children before they develop a racist outlook.

Southmead estate is mainly white and working class but in recent years more people from ethnic minorities have moved in.

Racial discrimination

"On my second day on the estate I had a rock thrown towards me as I returned from a shopping trip," said one of the undercover reporters, Tamanna Rahman.

"I was called "Paki" and had obscenities muttered at me as I walked by."

Amil Khan, who posed as her husband, was told not to walk on the pavement before being punched in the head by a man who said, "Bye, bye Paki".

The decision by Sari came as a result of a regular meeting of Southmead Pact - Partners and Community Together.

During the meeting two women - one black, one Asian - spoke about how they live in fear on the estate because of attacks prompted, they felt, by their race.

One woman said she had sent "at least half a dozen complaints about racial discrimination to the council, to the police" and added: "Nothing is being done.".

Intensive work

"I am here as a testament that it does happen, it does exist and we should be ashamed that it is happening in Southmead," she said.

Batook Pandya, the director of Sari, revealed in the past year Southmead had topped the Bristol league table for reported racist incidents to his group - 52 in 12 months.

"There is an issue here," he said. "The programme has highlighted something we were not ready to look at but now we must.

"It might be in little pockets and maybe the majority is perpetrated by younger people but let's move forward.

"We're going to do intensive work in schools to see how we can move forward."

Jason Lawrence, 18, who is part of the Southmead Youth Forum, said there was a problem with a lack of activities available for young people on the estate.

He said: "There are things to do but they're not broadcast widely enough.

"Things are put in papers and in shops but not everyone is brave enough to go to certain places so we need to tell to every different part of Southmead."

Paddy Dorney a sports worker at Southmead Youth Club, said there were problems with racism but felt the Panorama programme had failed to show any of the positive things on the estate.

"People admit there is racism. They're not denying there's racism here like there is all round the UK," he said.

"But I felt so angry about how the programme was slanted towards the bad stuff that's happening.

"One of the good things I'm looking forward to is making new residents from all background welcome and prevent some of the stuff that's happened in the past for all people."



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