Last evening, I attended a training session for my role as a Plymouth Street Pastor (you may know us as those people who give you flip-flips when you’re absolutely wasted down Union Street – you know who you are!) The session concerned Equality and Diversity – particularly focussing on racism.
Plymouth has been reasonably racially homogenous until recently – but has seen a big influx of immigrants in recent years. There’s a lot of tension about it. But the police officer giving the talk was reasonably hopeful. He said that often people get strong negative opinions about it from family, friends and the media. But generally, racism and anti-immigrant feeling is usually low amongst those with more experience of living in more diverse communities. In particular, young people are getting more experience of it in their classrooms and are growing up more relaxed about it. So he seemed to say that racism is learned, and so can be unlearned.
Another trainee had a wonderful anecdote about a friend who adopted two kids the same age; one white and one black. The two kids used to swap their clothes when they were very young, because they wanted to trick their Mum into getting them mixed up!
So, I guess this song had it about right: