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Teachers: PSHE: Prejudice

Last Updated: Friday October 28 2005 16:24 GMT

Racism in football

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Prejudice and stereotypes


Footballer Thierry Henry is speaking out against racism in football.

The Arsenal and France striker is involved in the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign whose symbol is an interlocked black and white wristband.

Students look at ways of tackling racism.

Learning aims
  • What is racism?
  • Different types of racism and discrimination
  • Ways of tackling racism

Thierry Henry

News-based comprehension

Read out this story to the class.

The story and the following questions are available as a printable worksheet (1)

Ask students:

1. What is racism? Racism is treating someone differently or unfairly simply because they belong to a different race or culture.

2. How did the England football team get across the message of anti-racism during an international friendly match earlier this year? Their shirts carried the message "No to racism."

3. How did teams from Holland, Portugal and Russia get the message across? They swapped their normal colours for a black and white top, the same colours as the wristband.

4. How did fans get the message across? They held up cards in the stands.

5. If you could hold up a card with an anti-racism message on, what would you write?

Main activity

Giving advice

In 2000/2001 ChildLine received 525 calls and letters from children about racist bullying, and a further 47 calls and letters from children who had encountered other forms of racism.

Here are some of them:

Boy being bullied

These scenarios and following activities are available as a printable worksheet (2).

1. Sharon, 16, is dating a Pakistani boy. Her parents are racist, so she has to keep her relationship a secret, which is making her feel anxious.

2. Sandra, 11, is called racist names as she is black. She is scared to tell her teacher, in case the bullying gets worse.

3. Ravinder, 15, is being beaten up by a group of boys at school, because he is Asian.

4. Alice, 9, is being bullied at school, as she is the only white girl in her class.

5. Clive, 13, has just moved to Scotland from England. A gang of Scottish boys at school calls him names.

6. Sunitta, 14, is being called racist names at school. Racist comments are also written about her on the wall of the toilets. Her teacher hasn't done anything about it.

7. Dina, 12, is teased because she is Italian. She has to have extra lessons for her English reading and writing. She feels nervous about going to school.

Ask students:

  • Imagine you are a ChildLine counsellor. What advice would you give these seven children?
  • Write down one suggestion you would give to each child.
  • Now compare it with your partner's or other people's advice on your table.
  • In pairs, select the best piece of advice to give to each child.
Pupils could also compare their group's advice to some suggestions made by ChildLine - see Teachers' Background.

Extension activity



Racists bully people who are different to them.

Students make a list of as many forms of discrimination they can think of.

Some suggestions:

  • Racism
  • Ageism
  • Sexism
Students may like to look at our guide for inspiration.


Groups or pairs share their best piece of advice with the rest of the class and explain why they chose this above other suggestions.

Teachers' background

From the ChildLine website which has lots of useful information on racism and bullying for students and teachers - See link in the top right green box.

How to put a stop to racist abuse

1. Stop taking the abuse. You don't have to accept this sort of hassle. Everyone has a right to live happily and free from discrimination, no matter what their nationality or race.

2. Accept that you're not the one with the problem. Your self-esteem may have taken a knock if you're having a hard time, but the thing you have to remember is that you are not the one to have caused the problem.

3. Tell someone what's happening to you. You don't have to suffer in silence. Think who is the best person to talk to about what's happening. Schools, police and employers have a responsibility to protect you. Other parts of your life will suffer if you keep silent. If the problem is at school, your work might deteriorate. Speak up now before the problem takes over. Why not try having a word with a ChildLine counsellor first to try out what you would like to say?

4. Go for a team effort. Get other people involved in tackling the problem - perhaps you could start an anti-racism project or newsletter at your school or youth group and invite an anti-racist speaker along. Or set up a discussion group to talk about relevant issues and see what you can do to help in your area.

5. Make people take you seriously If you are going to alert someone to the fact that you're being threatened, abused or bullied, then do it properly. You have to be prepared to get across how just it is affecting your well-being.

6. Keep some evidence of what's happening (a diary of events, for example) This might be useful to show others that you need help.

7. Plan what you would like to happen. Now go for it.

8. Make other parts of your life even better. Don't let racists ruin every area of your life. For example, if you're unhappy at school or work, then make sure you make up for the bad times by enjoying yourself at home or with your friends.

9. Keep safe and aware. You can't spend you life looking over your shoulder, but it pays to be aware of dangers. Stick with groups of friends if you feel vulnerable.

10. Never give up! You might not be able to tackle racism by yourself. Seek out support and accept help where you can. The government has put anti-racist laws into place to protect all members of the community. In many schools young people and teachers work together to produce anti-bullying policies, which include sections on racist bullying.

Government proposals for a law on religious hatred

The government says it wants to extend protection to people so they cannot be harmed because of their religious beliefs.

The proposal would make it illegal to knowingly use words or behaviour which are threatening, insulting or abusive in a way that stirs up hatred against an individual because of what they believe.

It will be up to the courts to interpret the law if it is passed, but here is an example of how it might work.

Take these two theoretical statements:

    1."I hate Buddhism/Christianity/Islam, it's a nonsense religion that serves no good."

    2. "I hate Buddhists/Christians/Muslims - their ideas are dangerous and we need to do something about them."

It is the second type of statement which ministers have indicated they want the law to target.

The law's supporters say the first statement would not fall foul of the law because for a prosecution to go ahead the words need to be abusive and intended to stir up hated.

However, opponents say the legislation has been drawn wide enough to mean someone could be prosecuted whether or not they intended their words to be inciteful.

Current situation

Northern Ireland has its own laws to deal with sectarian discrimination between Protestants and Catholics.

There are already Europe-wide regulations banning religious discrimination in the work place while the Human Rights Act incorporated the concept of religious freedom into British law.

There's an offence of incitement which says that it's unlawful to try and persuade someone to commit a criminal act.

Critics of the present proposals say this older law could be used easily against people trying to whip up hatred or violence against believers.

Curriculum relevance

Citizenship Key Stage 3

1b. Diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
1i. The world as a global community, and the political, economic, environmental and social implications of this.
2a. Topical political, spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues, problems and events through analysis of information and its sources.
2b. Justify orally and in writing a personal opinion about such issues, problems or events.
2c. Contribute to group and exploratory class discussions.
3a. Consider other people's experiences.

The numbers refer to the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Citizenship at Key Stage 3.

For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

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