A recent article reveals that the increase in the number of racially motivated assaults on students is a product of racism in schools. Several Scotland educators believe that remarks from high ranking politicians, a zero tolerance anti-classroom racism initiatives, reporting procedures, curricular activities, reporting procedures, and other policies are sufficient for decreasing the quantity of racially motivated assaults. The influx of racism in schools is a product of the racial differences of the Glasgow teachers and teaching staff.

The racism in Glasgow includes:

  • The Glasgow City Council recorded 18 attacks in 2010 but that figure rose to 46 last year, an increase of 155%.
  • The overall number of racist incidents in Glasgow schools has also gone up from 128 to 145 in the four years from the beginning of the decade, an increase of 13%.

Glasgow school officials reported that many incidents of the racism in education involved physical assault, verbal abuse, and ridiculing another student for cultural differences. It is our cultural differences that forms the basis for all racism. The Glasgow School District has cultural differences with the teaching and support staff.

The racial demographics for the Glasgow teaching staff is 50% White, 18% minority ethnicity, and 32% non-declared. The racial demographics for the support staff is 53% White, 10% minority ethnicity, and 37% non-declared.

It is safe to assume that half of the staff proudly proclaims to be White, while the other half of the staff is either minority or non-declared. Even though we don’t know the ethnicities of the non-declared, what we do know is that 50% of the teachers who are Scottish White have White verbal and non-verbal expectations. These expectations dominate the classroom and the schools.

Since there are 134 languages spoken by students in Glasgow, the verbal and non verbal expectations are many. These are the differences that lead to racism in education which results in student racially motivated assaults. We only need to look at the microcosm of verbal and nonverbal differences between the Scottish and Pakistan people to ascertain why the racism in education for Scottish schools persists and continues to elevate.

Scottish & Pakistan Greetings

In Scotland when a man greets a man they shake hands and usually throw in a “How do you do”. Handshakes are usually on the lighter side and don’t linger for long.  In more casual situations, Scottish men often greet each other with, “You alright?” or “Hiya”. When Scottish women greet another woman for the first time they generally shake hands. When men and women greet for the first time they will shake hands with the woman extending her had first. In Pakistan men greet me with a handshake and a hug. Women greet women with a handshake too followed which can be followed with an exchange of a kiss on the cheek. When a man greets a woman the nod at each other. In some cases they may shake hands but men a cautioned to make sure that the woman extends her hands first. It is a taboo for religiously observant men and woman to touch.

Scottish & Pakistan Communication Styles

Scottish people -Scots are not nearly as direct as Americans. They are usually hesitant to complain about things and most would rather “grin and bear it” than make a fuss. Politeness is highly valued. Often you can find yourself exchanging four or five “thank you’s” during a transaction with shopkeeper. If you bump into someone, they will usually apologize to you. Expect a lot of “please” and “thank you” and “sorry”. Scottish tend to be more indirect than overly direct.  Being too blunt may be considered impolite.

Pakistani people tend to favor a mix of indirect and direct communication. When speaking to people older than oneself, the style is mostly indirect. When speaking to people one’s own age or younger, the style is usually direct. They are very sensitive about the Islamic religion and it is better not to talk about it at all. Humor plays a part in communicating however non Pakistan people should avoid using humor until a friendship is established.  Sarcasm does not usually translate well and it’s best to not make jokes about ethnic and/or religious issues. It is usually unacceptable to interrupt and talk over people during conversations. When asked to do something it’s best to avoid answering with a direct “no”. The better answer could be something like I will try, or it’s possible.  Pakistanis will often answer with “Inshallah” or “God Willing”.

Scottish & Pakistan Personal Space and touching

Scottish people fell that the more personal space, the better. they tend to keep about an 2-3 feet between others while speaking. Touching is usually kept to a minimum and is generally not acceptable unless you know the person very well. On the other hand, Pakistan people feel that an arm’s length of personal space is acceptable when speaking to members of the opposite gender.  This space requirement tends to be closer with members of the same gender. Pakistan male friends often walk holding hands or with their arms around each other, but men and women hardly ever display any form of physical affection in public. There is a fair amount of touching between men and men and women and women during conversations.  This is not the case between genders

Scottish & Pakistan Eye Contact

Scottish people who maintain eye contact during a conversation are considered polite. An inverted two-finger  “peace sign” or “V for victory sign is an obscenity. They tend to walk on the left and pass on the right. Scottish people usually point using one finger.  Just not the middle one. For Pakistan people direct eye contact is usually the norm between members of the same gender and age. Indirect eye contact is usually normal when speaking to elders and members of the opposite gender. A man making eye contact with a woman on the street is to be avoided as it is considered rude and unethical and can be misconstrued. Same goes for women looking at men.

As you can see, there are major differences between the verbal and nonverbal expectations of the Scottish people and the Pakistan people. When teachers and students have differences in the verbal and nonverbal communications, it is the teachers differences that dominate the classroom and the school. Other students become aware of these differences and will reject them as the teacher does.

This not only results in problems between teachers and students, it also results in problems between students and students. For example, some Scottish students may feel that they are superior to the other students because their verbal and nonverbal behaviors are consistent with the majority of the teachers. Alternatively, students from other ethnicities may feel resentful and the outcome is students fighting students or students bullying other students.

According to Jatin Haria, Executive director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, “Racism affects people of all ages in Scotland, and this needs to be openly discussed. We need to identify better ways to educate young people so that they don’t take on board the racist attitudes they see in wider society – what’s being done at the moment clearly isn’t working”.

The only way to eliminate the racism in education that now plagues the Glasgow Scottish schools is to promote positive teacher student classroom relationships. Teachers are then given the opportunity to set an example for students that will eliminate racism in education.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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