Black children have more concerns over job prospects than white

Black child at school

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About one in five black children believe their skin colour could damage their job prospects, research for BBC's Newsround programme suggests.

This figure compares with 2% of white children and 13% of Asian origin who are concerned over their skin colour.

The survey of 1,600 eight to 14-year-olds involved 276 black children, 640 white children and 711 from other ethnic minorities.

David Lammy MP said more intellectual black role models were needed.

And the survey said less than three quarters of white children aspired to attend university, in comparison with nine out of 10 black children.

Other results from the survey included:

  • 21% of black children felt their skin colour would make it harder to succeed in the future
  • 40% of black children thought their teachers would describe them as clever, compared with 46% of white children, 39% of Asian and 47% of mixed or other origins
  • 25% of white children, 30% of black children and 24% of Asian children said they wanted to be a footballer when they were older
  • 27% of black youngsters and 21% who were white said they wanted to be a musician or rapper

One child from a London school told Newsround's reporter Ayshah Tull that "this generation is still being judged and stereotyped, so it's going to be difficult for us to do what we want to do when we're older".

Another said: "I've got black, white, mixed race friends. We live in a world where some people [care about skin colour] but the people I hang out with, they wouldn't care what colour your skin is".

Mr Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and a former higher education minister, also said universities should be looking at the backgrounds of applicants as part of their selection process.

"It is patently obvious that if you're on the 15th floor of tower block in London and you manage to get an A and 2 Bs, despite sharing two bedrooms with seven brothers and sisters and having just a single mum, that you are as bright as that child from Chelsea who's had the benefit of tutoring since they were four, who's been to a prep school and then a wonderful public school and got 3 A*s," he added.

British film director Steve McQueen, who directed the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave, said the situation surrounding black children was "upsetting".

"When I was at school myself there was this situation where black children were not deemed as intelligent or deemed to be able to go on to do anything of any real purpose. The circle has to be broken, it's upsetting to think that it hasn't.

"It's about belief, filling people's lungs with ambition and possibilities.

"When you narrow people's possibilities then they become narrow, when you widen their possibilities they become open and giving them the idea that things are possible, because it's the truth."

This week Newsround will hear from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, singer Alesha Dixon, footballer Sol Campbell and Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen on how they feel about the survey's results, and what they think needs to change. Newsround is on CBBC at 0740, 0815 and 1620 every weekday.

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