Most young people of black and mixed ethnicity across the UK believe that racism is the biggest barrier to success.
A new survey has revealed that 70 per cent of young people from Black Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds have felt under pressure to change to be accepted in society. Some have had to restyle their hair just to look more “professional” in school or at work.
Research by YMCA has prompted warnings the inflexibility in school and workplace policies could result in “cultural erasure”.
A member of YMCA’s BAME youth advisory group, Adele Tondu, 19, said: “The way most black children are brought up, as soon as you get into school you are taught you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get to where you want to go.
“The school I went to was predominantly white. I had racial language used towards me multiple times when I was at school. I remember in year 7, it was few days into school, I got called a monkey by one of the boys. I told the teachers. He got a detention but nothing else happened.”
About nine out of ten young black people said they had witnessed racist language at school and 49 per cent said they felt the racism was a serious impediment to academic attainment.
Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England and Wales, said: “It is shameful that young black people growing up in the UK continue to do so within a society that engulfs them with racist language and discriminatory attitudes.
“We must listen to what young black people are saying right now, and create the fundamental and vital change they are crying out for in order to create a better present and a brighter future.”