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Vick Hope: Politicians aren’t getting it right when it comes to creating a diverse curriculum

Vick Hope believes that racism will only truly end when we have a more diverse curriculum in schools (Getty Images)
Vick Hope believes that racism will only truly end when we have a more diverse curriculum in schools (Getty Images)

Since the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter marches, there’s been a call for the national curriculum to be revised, making it more diverse. In fact, there’s been several petitions put to government to make it compulsory to teach black history at school, yet it’s something that MPs are not looking to change.

TV presenter Vick Hope is just one of these voices that believes a more diverse curriculum will help fight racism.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, the former Strictly Come Dancing star said she doesn’t understand why the politicians aren’t listening.

“There's been so many petitions – they're not really responding,” she said. “They're like, 'Oh no, we've got enough of a diverse curriculum' and it's just not true.”

She continued: “It's so simple and yet so effective, and I just don't understand why the politicians aren't getting it. I guess that they just want to maintain a system in place that has benefited them.”

While much discussion about teaching black history centres around oppression, Hope actually wants all elements to be taught – and she believes this is the only way that racism can be beaten.

Read more: UK students accuse universities of brushing complaints aside

“Just how impactful would it be if our curriculum reflected the complexity and the vividness?” she asked.

“Not just like the bad parts of black history and the death and the destruction, but also celebrates the culture right from where it came from.

Vick Hope poses for photographers upon arrival at the Brit Awards 2020 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Vick Hope poses for photographers upon arrival at the Brit Awards 2020 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“I just think that if you were told that, there's no way you could be racist because you have such an objective view of what has gone before and therefore what needs to come in the future. That's what kids need.”

The broadcaster, who is joining Radio 1 soon, said that while children are taught very little about black culture, they’re taught plenty about other parts of history.

Read more: Why I wrote an open letter to my old private school asking them to decolonise their curriculum

“How much do you know about ancient Egyptians and the Romans?” she laughed.

While Hope herself remembers learning about slaves ships at school, she said she was lucky to be taught about black history by her Nigerian mother, Adeline.

“For my mum, it was really important to teach me and my brothers, so it came more from her to be honest than anything else,” Hope said about her own education in black history.

“She made sure that we just read loads of books about slavery, about black culture, about black history but I don't think everyone would have had that obviously.”

Read more: How racist is the UK compared to other European countries?

The Newcastle-born star said that while she’s been really encouraged by the Black Lives Matter movement and the fact people are now discussing ally ship and unconscious bias, she says we still have a long way to come – and that language is one of the places to start.

“So much of the language that we hear is designed or is used to sway us, or to maintain this system that is entrenched and we need to dismantle language, if we're going to dismantle the racism,” she told Thornton.

The former Strictly star said she's been accused of being aggressive - just because she's black and standing up for herself (Getty Images)
The former Strictly star said she's been accused of being aggressive - just because she's black and standing up for herself (Getty Images)

“I talk about a lot is how black women are so often referred to as feisty or sassy or aggressive or difficult just for innocuously expressing yourself. I've heard it so much throughout my life - at school and my career - and you get this horrible knotted feeling in the pit of your stomach because you start to believe it about yourself as well. You dilute yourself.

“I've just tried to be sweeter - like butter wouldn't melt. I don't want to give you anything that you can fault me on because I know that otherwise I'm going to be deemed to be aggressive and I'm not being aggressive. That kind of language, it can be so hurtful… It can really make you change yourself when really you should be able to be yourself.”

Hope, a human rights activist who has been working with Amnesty International since she was 16, just wants schools to help children accept each other and has one real wish for future generations.

She said: “I want little black girls, little black boys to know that they can be themselves because they do belong for who that they are.”

Hear Vick Hope chat more about Black Lives Matter, the song she wished she had written and her new job on Radio One on the latest issue of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.