Tackling Social Issues in the U.K.: First Take on Football and Racism

NUT Headquarters located at the Hamilton House

NUT Headquarters located at the Hamilton House

*Disclaimer: Since this is U.K. based research, football is soccer.

My first solo Underground ride took me to the Hamilton House, home of the National Union of Teachers (NUT). My U.S. research directed me to NUT as a key resource in uncovering the education portion of Kick It Out’s Football and Freedom Education Pack. Lindsey McDowell and Hamdi Addow were gracious enough to share their knowledge of the education pack and state of racism in the U.K.

The NUT and Kick It Out

NUT’s work revolves around equality for those within the Union along with other policy creation and enforcement. Both women expressed the importance of educating citizens about racist behaviors within the classroom and in the community. An interesting finding revealed the root of racism and specific racist actions within football. From the use of the Y-Word in relation to the Jewish community to bananas thrown at players on the field, racist actions are the result of a long history buried within the country.

Creation of Education Packs

Samples of other NUT  educational resources

Samples of other NUT educational resources

A key comparison comes in the creation of the Aeros Education Day curriculum and the Football and Freedom Education Pack is that teachers are involved in the process. Kick It Out takes it a step further calling on anti-racism educators to round out curriculum experts.

Similar to the Aeros program, Kick It Out was interested in promoting the brand while also educating teachers and children alike-hence the relationship with NUT. In this case, both organizations benefit from the pack: Kick It Out builds its community presence as NUT continues to provide and support anti-racism education in anyway possible.

“If the [NUT] leadership felt differently then they might say its not core business for the union.” —Lindsey McDowell in regards to partnership with Kick It Out

Role of Football in the UK

Understanding the role of football in the U.K. is an underlying component of my AOE research. Because football is such a popular sport in the U.K. its influence stretches far. Lindsey expressed her appreciation for footballers and clubs who are making a positive impact on the community, using their spotlight for good.

“To harness that [celebrity] for something good is brilliant and at a national level is really good.”—Lindsey McDowell in regards to football in the community

Lindsey and Hamdi stressed how far football has come in terms of racism. However, there is still room for improvement. The issue continues to infiltrate the sport therefore programs commissioned and co-sponsored by NUT and Kick It Out are necessary.

Final U.K. Interviews

After two amazing interviews, Lindsey suggested reaching out the Charlton Athletic Race Equality (CARE) Partnership, an organization focused on anti-racism projects. This will offer a nice comparison to the Aeros as the Charlton Athletic is on a similar level.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Danny from Kick It Out to round out my London AOE expert interviews. Keep checking back for updated information pertaining to my research and journey in London.


About pmccorkl

Kent State University Public Relations graduate student. Music lover. Sports enthusiast. Food and wine connoisseur (in my head). Budding traveler. Life long learner.
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