'Ticking the Ethnic Box': The experiences of minority ethnic young people in rural communities

Philomena de Lima, Education in the North

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Until recently 'ethnicity' and especially 'race'have rarely been issues associated with rural communities, and the 'invisibility of whiteness as an ethnic signifier' has tended to lead to a lack of problematising the concept of ethnicity within the rural frame of reference. Small numbers, diverse backgrounds and dispersed households combined with the lack of recognition afforded to the diversity of heritages which may exist in rural communities can make life challenging for all minority ethnic households living in rural areas. However, there are additional pressures on young people growing up in a rural context where there may be few opportunities for socialising with others with a similar cultural background and strong pressures exist to assimilate to the so-called 'mainstream culture'. Drawing on research undertaken mainly in the context of the Scottish Highlands, it is argued that while it is important for the education sector generally to focus on addressing experiences of racism met by minority ethnic young people, there is also a need to explore and encourage the deconstruction of 'white ethnicities', in order to facilitate a more inclusive approach to the issue of identities in rural communities and Scotland generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages10
JournalEducation in the North
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


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