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Challenging Prejudice Challenging Perceptions

Some may Say…

Challenging Prejudice Challenging Perceptions

Challenging Prejudice

As someone who works with young people, part of your role is to challenge when you hear insulting remarks or encounter discrimination in any guise. Ignoring such remarks looks like you are condoning the behaviour and accepting the remarks.

For example, you may hear a child calling another child a racist name or mocking another child who has a disability. Challenging someone about their words or actions can be difficult and needs to be approached carefully.

Here are some skills that you will find useful if you need to challenge:

Listen carefully to what is being said and then show the other person that you understand them. In this way you demonstrate understanding for their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.

➜ Make sure you are clear about what is happening before you jump in! For example, ask questions like ‘what do you mean by that?’, ‘can you explain your viewpoint in a bit more detail?’

➜ Say what you think and what you feel. This enables you to directly state your thoughts or feelings without apology. Own your feelings by saying ‘I’ statements. Avoid saying ‘your remarks offend other people in the team’ and instead say ‘I find your remarks offensive’.

➜ Focus on the behaviour not the person. For example, instead of saying ‘you are sexist’, say ‘that remark you made was sexist’.

➜ Be specific and don’t generalise. For example, instead of saying ‘you never listen to other members of the team’ say ‘you didn’t seem to be listening to Hannah in the meeting just now and interrupted twice before she had finished’.

➜ Say what you want to happen. It is very important that you say in a clear and straightforward way what action or outcome you want to achieve without hesitancy, apology or aggression. For example, say ‘I only want to hear you use kind words from now on’.

➜ Earn the right to challenge others by being open to challenge yourself.

➜ Remember to act as a role model. Behave in the way you would like others to behave and talk in the way that you expect to be spoken to.

➜ Think about the reason why you are challenging. This will enable you to clarify your point of view. For example, a parent expresses concern about their boy playing with a pram. You could explain that it is important for their child to develop their imaginative play skills and that dads also push prams – the child is copying what he sees around him in the community.

➜ Explain clearly why the remarks made were wrong or hurtful by talking about the feelings of all involved. This will help children to develop a sense of empathy and understand what is right and wrong and why.

Racism is not started by the people who are subject to it. It is easy for people to tease someone who they think is different to them. By encouraging inclusion and promoting everyone’s differences and special qualities, you should start to eliminate this behaviour.


Challenging Perceptions: Some may Say…

We live in a predominantly white area so we don’t need to worry about diversity...

Children and adults in all-white areas still need to have the opportunity to learn about other people and other communities in order to grow into caring citizens and understand about differences. Such people may well move into an environment which is more diverse later in life. Racist attitudes can be more deeply ingrained in areas with fewer Black and Minority Ethnic families. In a setting that celebrates diversity, people will understand that the world is made up of many people who are not all the same and come to respect the rights of individuals who look different from or hold different beliefs to themselves. In addition, everyone has different experiences, culture and home life. These differences can be shared as a learning opportunity.

We treat everyone the same so we meet the requirements of Equality of Opportunities...

All participants are not the same; even identical twins are different in some way. We need to treat people as unique individuals offering them equal opportunities to participate rather than treating them all in the same way. For example, during PE, George, who has a hearing impairment, cannot clearly hear the teacher when he is standing with his friends. The teacher ensures that they are close to George when giving instructions allowing him to understand the task and what to do. George is not treated in the same way as the other children, but he is given an equal opportunity to take part in the lesson with his friends.

We don’t need to plan for individual needs or specific groups because all of our members are the same age and do not have any learning difficulties or disabilities...

Everyone has a different starting point and develop in different ways and at different rates. We need to plan to cater for participants’ stage of development as well as their age and therefore must adapt our provision to cater for individuals or groups. Think about your current members. They all have different strengths, likes, dislikes and interests. It is important to incorporate these when planning your session or activity.

We’ve got a person in a wheelchair on our leaflet and we wouldn’t turn anyone away...

Effective equality of opportunities practice does not just happen. Having such resources may be appropriate, but equality of opportunity needs to be understood by all practitioners in the setting in order to avoid tokenism. Tokenism is when you do something to give the appearance that you are meeting specific requirements. All practitioners need to support fully the ethos of the setting and understand the reasons for choosing positive image resources.

We don’t cater for someone with a disability or a medical condition because it’s a health and safety issue...

Health and Safety needs to be considered for all participants in sport and physical activity. This includes those with physical conditions, learning disability or hidden disability. By taking this into account you can ensure that any specific conditions are taking into account and planned for appropriately.

We ask all members to pay their membership fees up front at the start of the term to secure a place for their child as we need to pay our coaches...

Sports clubs, groups and activities need to recognise that paying fees upfront can be a barrier for those on lower incomes to take part. Having a flexible fee structure in place can help members to plan their budget and ensure that they can maintain their membership and participation in the activity.

What are the most common barriers you face when trying to include more people?

Think about how you can address them?

The Equality in Sport & Physical Activity guide seeks to support those working or involved in the sector to understand the importance of equality and diversity in sport and to identify ways to ‘level the playing field’ for all. For more information – click here!


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