Brighton doesn’t rock

When Jessica Jones moved to Brighton from
London she found that she missed the capital’s

When my mum and dad first announced that we
were moving from London to Brighton I was really excited. I’d
visited Brighton a few times and it seemed to be a really cool
city. I had the impression that Brightonians were a bit hippyish
and liberal-minded and I liked that. Was I in for a shock!

The first thing that struck me when I started
at my new school was the sea of white faces. My old school in
London was really ethnically diverse. In my class there were
Turkish, black Caribbean, black African, Asian, Greek and Kosovar
people. I was one of only three white pupils in my class. Not only
are most of the pupils in my new school white, the teachers are
too. Although the ethnicity of the teaching staff in my old London
school had a long way to go before it reflected the diversity of
its pupils, there were black Caribbean, Asian, Australian and black
African teachers.

The main advantage of going to a
multi-cultural school is that you can learn a lot outside of the
classroom. Through the friends I made in London I’ve been
introduced to different types of food like kebabs, curries, rice
and peas and Caribbean-style chicken. I’ve also learned about
religious festivals and different cultures.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that there’s much
to learn from my fellow pupils in Brighton. I find a lot of my year
eight peers very narrow-minded. In a history lesson some of the
class laughed at pictures of black slaves. They even laugh at names
that are non-British and use racist terminology to describe people
from other cultures.

The really sad thing is that a lot of pupils
don’t even realise that the language they’re using is offensive. I
don’t think they’re being intentionally racist, it’s just that they
don’t know many people who aren’t from white British families.

But ignorance is no excuse. I think that if a
teacher hears a pupil saying racist things or laughing at people
just because they don’t fit into their perception of the world,
then they should challenge them. We live in a multicultural society
and we should celebrate that. Pupils should be taught about other
religions and cultures even if their immediate neighbours are
predominantly from one ethnicity.

There are some advantages to going to school
in Brighton though. The facilities are much better and there are
loads more computers. It’s also quieter.

However, there are still lots of things that I
miss about living in London like buying flat bread, fresh fruit and
vegetables from the Turkish shops and having fantastic museums and
galleries in the city. It’s almost impossible to get bored in

We’re moving back to London soon and I’m
really looking forward to it. I’ll still enjoy day trips to
Brighton in the summer, but I much prefer the variety of
multicultural London.

This article was written by Children’s
Express reporter Jessica Jones (not her real name), aged 13.
Children’s Express is a programme of learning through journalism
for young people aged eight to 18

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