Thursday, November 24, 2011

Norway: School groups students based on race

Racism has to do with treating, perceiving or differentiating people based on race, color, descent, nationality or ethnicity. It is commonly associated with other illegalities, such as discrimination, xenophobia, killings, segregation, just to name a few. Racism is a social ill that is internationally condemned and outlawed in many countries. On the international stage, governments are obligated under international law to eliminate racism and racial discrimination in all its forms. Norway is one of the many states with a legal obligation to eliminate racism and racial discrimination within its borders. Despite Norway's obligation, a school in the Scandinavian country reportedly groups students based on race.

According to The Local, ethnicity determined where students sat in one Norwegian high school. This has been the practice in the school until the principal was ordered to "re-do the arrangement" after the school became popular for the wrong reason.

As you would expect, the school attempted to justify this glaring case of institutionalized racism.

The Local reports that teachers said their grouping was due to the "flight" (running away) of "ethnic Norwegian" students to other schools.

This is of course a deeply flawed excuse.

It is the responsibility of schools in Norway to teach and encourage so-called ethnic Norwegian students to study in communion with children from other backgrounds. Schools should not facilitate racial segregation.

Norwegian parents on their part should prepare their children for a globalized world where civilized people work together, irrespective of race, color or ethnicity. Moving children to "white" schools makes them unprepared to face the realities of life.

Norway ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on 6 August 1970. This landmark convention defines racial discrimination as "any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or nationality, or ethnic origin..."

It remains unclear whether the school in question made any "exclusion, restriction, or preference". Also unclear is the purpose of the grouping. The school clearly made a "distinction" based on race, colour, descent, nationality or ethnic origin.

Segregation could have damaging psychological and social effects on kids in minority groups.

The good news is that the school is to stop grouping students based on race [Source].

The grouping of students based on race should not have happened in the first place.

UPDATE - 29.11.2011: The school in question has been identified by Mail Online as Bjerke Upper Secondary School (Bjerke videregående skolein Oslo, Norway.

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