One of my first youth work jobs was a result of the Macpherson report. I was employed to work on the streets of Eltham targeting known offenders of race crime. In Bermondsey I worked with a group of young people who believed refugees and asylum seekers were being prioritised for housing and were receiving huge sums of money. We went to the refugee network where we got all the facts and figures which they used in their magazine distributed on their estate. The group of young people were recognised on the cover of the Millwall FC match programme for their work around Kick it Out.
My point is creating a safe space for young people to bring fears and prejudices around race, gender disability and sexuality, is an important part of the process of unravelling the intricacies of their ideas and beliefs.I am Irish/Indian born in London. Young people thought I was white and when I told them they were shocked primarily because of the way i reacted to their racist views. They felt comfortable exploring their views with me as I allowed them to talk openly with me but most importantly I listened.
Targeted work by trained workers with a clear understanding of not just their own but others understanding of race, identity formation and racism. Schools work is not effective as classes are mixed and participants reluctant to openly discuss their views. Targeted street/estate work ensures work with groups who share similar views ensures a deeper exploration of their views.