The students from the City of Norwich School have
produced a collection of writings in a booklet called Equal But
Different: Young People's Voices.
The work brings together poetry, prose and accounts
that have been gathered from interviews and questionnaires with
60 high school students in Norfolk.
Racism a problem
Nearly all of those who were interviewed had suffered
racism. This ranged from name-calling to
a serious assault, resulting in a court case and a prosecution.
The booklet was the brainchild of Anna Sallnow.
The idea to seek out these stories came from PhD
student Anna Sallnow.
She was working as a multi-cultural advisor in
London before moving to Norfolk and starting her research.
"I was coming up from London one day when I heard
a talk on the radio about a young black footballer who had been
living in Thetford as the only black teenager in a mainly white
place," said Anna.
"I'd never really considered what that was
"My research was going to be very second-hand
unless I got young people involved and I felt very much that their
voices needed to be heard," she added.
Anna's next step was to set up a research group.
Fifteen youngsters were brought together to work in an editorial
Their backgrounds can be traced to Nigeria, Sri
Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Ireland, South Africa,
New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Malawi, African America, Cyprus, Fiji,
Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Hong Kong.
For many of those involved it was the first time
that they had talked about their experiences.
There was a common belief that it was important
to raise awareness of how certain behaviour can affect others.
Shamma Yousafzai hopes her work will help make people less judgmental.
17-year-old Shamma was one of the students on the
"I think that people think there is no racism
in Norfolk, which is why there is more likely to be more,"
"The people who are left are going to get
so much more abuse than if there was a larger population of black
and Asian people.
"Hopefully this will start opening people's
minds," she added.
The finished product touches a range of issues
surrounding rural racism.
It asks questions on what is it like to experience
prejudice and discrimination when you live in more isolated parts
of our county.
It also discusses why people don't tell their parents
about any problems they have with racism.
The stories in the booklet confront these difficulties
in a moving and often disturbing way.
The booklet points to a different and emerging picture
of modern Norfolk as a county that is more culturally diverse than
For example, the number of young people coming
from dual heritage backgrounds is growing and already stands at
twice the national average.
The students hope their work will offer individuals
a means of support, as well as educate others about the experiences
of young people living in the county.
Seventeen-year-old Vickie was another member of
the editorial team.
"I just hope that it will make people think a bit
more about what they say and try to be more understanding to other
people and other cultures. Not to treat them differently," she said.
Read extracts from Equal
But Different »