Racial tensions have been on the increase in the UK following recent events like the London bombing. The baseline racial tensions between people of colour and whites has been steadily rising, while conflict between different ethnic minorities throughout the UK has also been experiencing a sharp incline.
This increase in hostility is evidenced by recent conflict like those in Birmingham, where allegations of a sexual assault has sparked physical attacks and the defacing of gravestones between Muslims and Blacks in that area. In this atmosphere of escalating tension there is a desperate need for communities to come together in actions that repair, rather than inflame, struggles between ethnic groups.
In the face of this challenge, student unions under the aegis of the National Union of Students (NUS) have organized football matches to coincide with footballs anti-racism campaign (Kick it Out Week) which seeks to use football as a means to unite people of different ethnic origin, and therefore create common ground through shared interest and activity. NUS officers also plan to organize a similar event for students” liberation officers.
This action has been celebrated by those with experience of the manifold challenges rising racial tension represents for education, Pav Akthar, NUS Black Students Officer and co-convenor of NUS anti-racism and anti-facism campaign said: “There has been a massive increase in racist attacks since 7/7 so it is vitally important we stamp out racism wherever it occurs. I”d like to thank the FA for such an excellent initiative and applaud students” unions for promoting it in their community.”
Getting people of different ethnic origin onto the same team in acts of play and leisure unites potentially disparate groups on basic levels that can only be positive. One can only hope that these actions lead to a feeling of unity and compassion between ethnic groups that will facilitate those same feelings between different groups in legislation and education.
Nadine Monem, Equality and Diversity Correspondent
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