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Action You Can Take During Black History Month

October is Black History Month, and this year’s theme is Time For Change: Action Not Words. So as a child or young person, what can you do to try to make a difference? 

This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg clicia yma

Non-racist v Anti-racist

Firstly, we’ll deal with the difference between being non-racist and anti-racist. Being non-racist means that you are not racist, don’t use racist language, and don’t judge someone because of the colour of their skin. Being anti-racist means you will not stand by when you hear or see racism, and you’ll do something about it. Taking action – this is what makes a difference. Here are some actions you can take:

Two hands joining into heart shape, one with black skin and one with white skin.

Call out racism

If you see or hear racism, then call it out. We’re not telling you to put yourself in danger – if you don’t feel safe or comfortable challenging racism, tell a teacher, your parent, or an adult you trust. But racism, and casual racism, happens all around us in our day-to-day lives and in the conversations you hear around you.

Do you hear your friends using racist words sometimes? They might not even realise that what they say is racist, but that doesn’t make it ok, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t call them out on it. Let them know that you are anti-racist by saying something. Tell them that what they said is wrong and that they should respect people’s differences. If they are judging someone because of the colour of their skin, tell them that this isn’t acceptable and that they are being racist, and suggest things they can do to be more informed.

If you don’t feel safe challenging racist language, then this Newsround blog has advice on what you should do.

Broken handcuff Freedom concept, Hand Drawn Sketch Vector illustration.

Learn about black history

Learning about black history might make you understand more about the discrimination and the hate that black people have faced over the decades and still face today. It might make you realise why it’s important to stand together in the fight against racism. Everyone needs to stand up for it – this isn’t just something that black people have to fight for; we should be allies and help them fight discrimination.

Whatever you learn from reading, watching or listening to things about black history, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with the people around you and teach them too.

TheSprout has gathered together some great book, tv, film and podcast recommendations to learn about black history. Check out books like The Hate U GiveDear Martin and The Underground Railroad here. There are some really informative films and programmes like HarrietWhen They See Us and 12 Years a Slave here (but make sure you’re old enough to watch some of these). And if you’re into podcasts, then Black History for White People, Black History Moments and Black History Bites are just some of the ones included here.

Speaker on the stage in front of the room with rear view of Audience

Get your school to join in

Worried that you’re hearing casual racism or witnessing racist bullying on the playground, or that your school doesn’t discuss black issues enough? Then why not talk to your headteacher or teacher and ask them if they could do something during Black History Month to teach diversity and inclusion at your school. It could be a special assembly, a short presentation at registration or a class presentation, or sharing resources with students through the school website. Let them know there are teaching resources they can use online on websites like Twinkl and Hwb

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