Troy Deeney Calls for Schools to Teach More Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic History

Deeney wants to diversity curriculums in the ongoing fight against racism.

February 23rd 2022

Birmingham City captain Troy Deeney has launched a petition calling for black, Asian and minority ethnic history to be mandatory in schools.

Deeney has been one of the most prominent anti-racism campaigners in English football over the years, and strongly believes that by diversifying current school curriculums, discriminatory stereotypes can be combatted from an early age.

The striker released an open letter via Twitter last night to Nadhim Zahawi, the Secretary of State for Education, revealing the results of a YouGov survey he recently commissioned.

Of the 1,107 teachers who took part in Deeney’s survey, 54% believe the national curriculum does have a racial basis and 72% think the government should do more to support the teaching of cultural diversity.

“We’ve done research, we’ve commissioned surveys, teachers are not feeling empowered”
Deeney explained, highlighting that only 12% of those surveyed feel empowered to teach diverse topics.

“I think that’s very dangerous because the people we’re putting in charge of teaching our kids, don’t feel confident enough within their role to talk about subjects that are happening in the world.”

Speaking of his own experiences as a mixed-race child growing up, Deeney explained how he struggled with his own sense of identity due a lack of understanding about his Jamaican and Irish heritage. And now as a father, can sometimes see his own children demonstrate that same lack of cultural understanding.

He told BBC Sport: “The best part about my school in terms of black history was I got to watch [American TV series] Roots at school, which is about slavery. That was it.

“I always find it quite disheartening that the only representation we have from a black perspective is always one I consider negative.

“In regards to my own children, I see what they’re talking about and, more broadly, the lack of things that they’re talking about.”

Zahawi responded to Deeney’s open letter by tweeting: “Troy, thank you for raising this important issue. It would be good to discuss this with you and I will ask my team to reach out.”

While a department for education spokesperson said the curriculum “offers pupils the opportunity to study significant figures from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and the contributions they have made to the nation”.

Deeney’s request to teach more diverse histories and experiences in schools isn’t an unfeasible one.

Under Wales’ new curriculum, set to be rolled out in primary schools later this year and in secondary schools from 2023, all children will be taught about racism and the contributions of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

In England currently, schools and teachers themselves determine the examples, topics and resources used to stimulate and challenge pupils and reflect key points in history.

Earlier this year the government reminded schools to ensure diverse topics are to be covered in an ‘unbiased’ manner.

The likes of Deeney and other campaigners aren’t asking for black, Asian and minority ethnic history to be taught everyday of the academic calendar. They’re asking for a curriculum and school experience that truly reflects the young people sitting in classrooms.

Young people are currently growing up in a world where their ancestral stories are being ignored, implying they’re not important enough to be heard. Lack of understanding and education reinforces racial stereotypes in turn leading to acts of racism, something Deeney knows all too well about.

“Both myself and my family have continued to experience vile racist abuse on social media and, at times, in public, emboldening me even further to use my platform to keep the conversation at the forefront of people’s minds, campaign for change and not to let this movement and its momentum just fade away.”

You can sign Deeney’s petition here.