Are you satisfied with how your child's school deals with racism?

How confident are you in the ability of your child's school to deal with incidents of racism?

Local organisation the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation says it's responding to concerns from schools in the Western Cape with a series of teacher training workshops focussing on race.

The institute's Felicity Harrison says in spite of the integration of schools over the past 25 years, teachers have not been taught how to deal with racism and race-related issues.

It's been a very big gap in the training of teachers.

Felicity Harrison, Head: Sustained Dialogues Programme - Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Our position is this (racism) is definitely a systemic problem, you can't have 400 years of apartheid and colonialism and not expect there to be some institutional remnants of racism in our schools.

Felicity Harrison, Head: Sustained Dialogues Programme - Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Harrison says often the problem lies in schools where little transformation has take place.

The approach is 'we don't have a problem', well you don't have a problem because you don't have diversity.

Felicity Harrison, Head: Sustained Dialogues Programme - Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

She adds that often they find children have conflicts of values, for example, the anti-racism message they are being taught in school is not replicated or supported at home.

It places the child in a very difficult position.

Felicity Harrison, Head: Sustained Dialogues Programme - Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

And what about those teachers and parents who don't want to talk about race, and those who say it doesn't matter?

I understand the impetus towards people wanting to say they are 'colourblind', but the reality is colour does matter. By saying it doesn't matter you ignore the trauma that people are experiencing because of the colour of their skin.

Felicity Harrison, Head: Sustained Dialogues Programme - Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Are you satisfied with how your child's school deals with racism?


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