Your necessary airing of the views of young black Britons (Young, British and Black, 29 July) raises vital questions. What is important is what can be done to make their lives better. I have two adopted African-Caribbean children and have regularly discussed their experiences with them and I have found that authorities are supportive if problems are drawn to their attention.
My son was bullied by older children on his way home from primary school. When we took this up with the head, action was so effective that it stopped instantly. At secondary school a teacher used a racist insult and, instead of discussing it with us, my son wrote to the county education authorities, who contacted the school and the teacher was disciplined (he was later sacked for hitting a pupil).
Later, my son’s only problems have been in London, where he was stopped too many times by the police. He has experienced no obvious racism at work, where he has been successful (but it’s not possible to tell if there has been any underlying prejudice).
It is clear that there are some overtly racist people in the police and elsewhere in authority, but the more universal problem is unconscious bias. Workplace training is essential and, importantly, should include tests to demonstrate to individuals how their underlying attitudes affect their responses to black people.
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• The most disturbing aspect of the interviews with young black people is the reported amount of racism in schools. It is understandable, if wrong, that so many white children first learn racial prejudice from their parents. But it is unacceptable that so many teachers are allowing this to persist in their schools. Education is precisely the forum in which the elimination of racism should start. This issue should be fully covered in teacher training. Headteachers should make anti-racism part of their schools’ ethics. Teachers who do not comply should be removed.
• The young voices in your special report are dignified, defiant and moving. The bullying experienced from a very young age shames white culture at every level. Jimmy McGovern’s TV film Anthony is a tragic exposure of what racism can lead to. We all need to see it.