May 1999

No 86

A study carried out in the Midlands by a Leicester University researcher has uncovered racist attitudes among a number of social workers and school psychologists.

The survey of over 100 social workers showed that disturbed black and mixed race young people are viewed as 'troublesome' and 'naturally backward'.

Lecturer Dr Kwame Owusu-Bempah, of the University's School of Social Work, also uncovered racism between ethnic minority groups.

Dr Bempah's research involved presenting three fictional cases of a black, mixed-race and white child with behavioural problems to a group of psychologists.

In his paper, presented to the 1999 Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society held in Belfast, Dr Bempah said: "The three cases were identical but received different responses.

"The mixed race child was considered to be experiencing a 'confused identity', which is not only wrong but extremely damaging, and the black child was considered to have low self-worth.

"The received wisdom is that black children suffer identity problems and are of inferior intellect to white people."

He added: "Blaming a child for his/her problems on the basis of skin colour is deeply offensive and harmful."

Dr Bempah also cited literature produced by school psychologists from within the ethnic minorities that contained allegedly racist attitudes

Dr Bempah said: "I wrote to the authors expressing my disgust at the racist and damaging nature of their views

"If these are the kind of views expressed, then clearly more work needs to be done in this field."

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: Dr Bempah can be contacted on 0116 252 3749

[Leicester University] [*] Administration [*] Press & Publications
Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman, ara@le.ac.uk
Last updated: 24 May 1999 16:19
University Administration Web Maintainer

This document has been approved by the head of department or section.
If you are an authorised user you may edit this document through your Web browser.