Calling the cops on kids: the hunt for playground racism hits a new low

The hunt for hate is getting out of hand. This week police figures revealed that 138 incidents of racial or religious abuse, committed by children under the age of 10, were reported in England and Wales last year. One case, in Manchester, involved a three-year-old, who was said to have caused ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ to his ‘victim’.

Let’s get one thing straight: children cannot really be accused of racism. By investigating children for racial abuse, the police are granting children a level of political agency that they simply do not possess. If they sometimes utter racist speech, it’s most likely because they’ve regurgitated it from films, TV, song lyrics, or perhaps their parents. Children do not see the world through the racially tinted lenses that some adults do.

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