12/12/2018 17:20 GMT | Updated 12/12/2018 17:20 GMT

Raheem Sterling Is Right, Newspapers Are Fuelling Racism – But Education Can Change That

Allowing children to debate our history at an early age can produce better leaders, better environments and, above all, a better society


The Raheem Sterling controversy is nothing new, yet occurrences such as this are followed by shock and disbelief. People of colour are humiliated every day in blatant and subtle ways.

In the past, I have been asked, if there is a bomb in my bag when boarding a taxi and have been casually called a ‘paki’ and ‘terrorist’ in the street. 90% of the time, when posting a letter or package I am asked “what’s in the box?”, yet the same is never requested of those in front of me. But my lowest point was being run over by a motorbike by a known national front supporter, who stood over me, grinning.

Raheem Sterling is right; the news is moulding societal viewpoints in subtle ways. But such travestied behaviour is allowed by the state, through failure to properly educate school children of Britain’s dark past, leaving gaping holes plugged by ignorance and assumption.

If only schools better educated us of Britain’s colonial past, casual racism in the street will disappear. Or will it? It is a thought I joust with regularly knowing the lack of diversity for history in our education system. And although teachers are dutifully good at what they do, they are shackled to an uncompromising curriculum without flexibility.

By changing the education system, we change the way in which we water our plants. What this discourse can do, is not necessarily properly inform, but maximise freedom of speech by allowing children to debate our history at an early age which can produce better leaders, better environments and above all, a better society.

Failure to do so, shoulders responsibility unto parents, which is rarely taken on in most households. The lack of history extending beyond “divorced, beheaded and died” and other island stories simply imprints an island mentality. We are only prolonging negative thinking of immigration and of people of colour when we fail to educate further than the current national curriculum on offer which has remained unchanged for years.

Newspapers, television channels and websites are more toxic and pernicious than ever. Many buy the same brand of newspaper in perpetuity out of a habituated shopping routine, unknowingly exposing themselves to topics that pop the lid of the macabre. In this case, veiled racism, and with continuity, comes uninformed conviction.

Many newspapers sit adjacent or opposite sweet stands frequented by children who consciously and subconsciously become exposed to vile headlines. Racists have their viewpoints because of their upbringing and we might be able to reverse these stories by simply employing something as obvious as a broader education.

The news industry is overwhelmingly white, with research estimating that being 90% and 55% male. And the platform has not descended any stairs to acknowledge change is coming anytime soon. So if that is the case, the logical solution is to implement the most effective remedy, and that is education of Britain’s colonial past.

Such discussions are deemed trivial, but its argument deserves a platform for a more complex discourse to sever the head of simplistic debate. Will it come soon? Not when education and the people it fashions are still assembled upon the same conveyor belt.

Negativity oozing on an almost predictable scale can be combatted through a properly structured curriculum that informs of the cruelties and injustices wreaked upon former British colonies. And with that, we may see more safety on the streets for people who suffer daily from racism in everyday places, including post offices.