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No Room For Racism

Bertrand: Fight on racism must also tackle stereotyping

26 Mar 2021

Southampton defender says education is essential in combating all forms of racist behaviour

The fight against racism includes challenging abusive behaviour but Ryan Bertrand believes addressing racial stereotyping is just as important.

The Southampton defender says he has suffered from racial stereotyping "too many times to mention" and believes it should be targeted as much as overt racism.

"I think it's the subconscious racism that you really have to attack," Bertrand says. "And that's where the stereotyping of racial profiles will come from.

"It's probably not they're actually racist within, at the front of their minds saying they're a really racist person. But, subconsciously, they don't even know they have the racist principles within them."

Education is crucial 

Bertrand shares his views on a video that is part of a series of educational resources that are available to more than 18,000 primary schools through the Premier League Primary Stars programme.

Resources are also available to young people on the Premier League Kicks and Premier League Inspires programmes.

These are part of the Premier League's ongoing No Room For Racism initiative. 

Bertrand says such educational programmes are important in the fight against racism.

"It isn't about fixing the racism that is here now, it's about fixing the racism of tomorrow," he says.

"You only filter that out if you educate the youth."

Parents must take responsibility 

Bertrand reveals he first suffered racist abuse as a seven-year-old from a car of adults driving by as he was walking in south London.

"While it's about educating the youth, it's the parents, also,” he says. "Parents need to be careful with what they say behind closed doors.

"When you have kids, they pick up on things that we don't think they're picking up on.

"If parents slip into the subconscious bias and the stereotypical slurs that may happen - not in public, but behind closed doors - the kids will pick up on that and repeat it at the kids' level."

See: PL Primary Stars: This is Everyone's Game - Black Voices

In January, the Premier League launched its No Room For Racism Action Plan, outlining a series of commitments aimed at creating greater access to opportunities and career progression for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, and actions to eradicate racial prejudice.

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