Eva Simpson praises football player Troy Deeney’s campaign to teach children about different ethnic cultures at school. He launched a petition and wrote an open letter to Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi
Image: Getty Images in 2021)
There’s a reason why young athletes are asked to “just focus on sports” when they comment on issues in society.
That’s because people who tell them to keep their opinions to themselves feel ashamed that athletes have to do their job for them.
First, we have Marcus Rashford, whose brilliant campaign to ensure poor children don’t go hungry has led to a change in Government policy.
And now it’s countryman Troy Deeney’s turn.
The captain of the city of Birmingham has launched a petition and written an open letter to Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi, demanding a mandatory change to the school curriculum to make it more diverse.
He wants children to learn about the history of different ethnic cultures from an early age in an effort to “fight against racist beliefs and stereotypes.”
“We need to create a road map for more lasting change for our children because I believe the current system is failing children from ethnic minorities,” he said.
I have children in elementary and middle school, and the only time they come home with subjects that relate to other cultures is black history month, when we get flyers about Mary Seacole or sometimes when it’s a religious festival like Eid.
My oldest son studied GCSE history and I remember thinking, as he studied forts, how is this relevant now? But if we accept that history is important and that it is important to learn about the old Norman fortresses, then surely we must accept that it is important for us to learn about different histories.
At Troy’s school, and mine before, black history was shown an episode of the American abolitionist series Roots. There is no lesson in the rich royal history of African kings and queens. Most people will leave school without knowing that they ever existed. And that has an effect on how people from different backgrounds are perceived in the world.
So I’m happy to see Troy campaigning on this issue and it’s inspiring to see him using his platform for the good of the community.
Education is an important tool to combat prejudice. And if you don’t believe Troy, believe the great Nelson Mandela who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
I hope Mr. Zahawi is listening.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/educating-children-key-fight-against-26312779 'Educating our children is key in the fight against racist attitudes' - Eva Simpson