ENDING RACISM & DISCRIMINATION -  In this lesson students will learn and discuss racism and discrimination at global and local levels and how to address these issues in their communities. 


Prior Learning

Knowledge and understanding of:

●    The Convention on the Rights of the Child

●    The Sustainable Development Goals



Ableism- discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

Discrimination - the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Persecute - to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief

Prejudice - preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Privilege -a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Racism- prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior​.

Stereotype- a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

Xenophobia-dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.



  1. Understanding of the root causes of prejudice and discrimination​

  2. 9 Grounds for discrimination in Ireland

  3. Gain knowledge of different examples racism and discrimination at a global and local level 

  4. Explore identity and privilege

  5. Learn how you can advocate for and promote equality for all.


Physical- Restless Atmosphere

Physical- Restless Atmosphere







Student Contributor

Benita Murinda (6th year student)

Please note: The topics covered in this workshop need to be handled sensitively and with consideration of participants’ backgrounds and personal experiences. Inform participants of the topic you will be discussing a few days beforehand to allow them time to discuss any of their concerns with you and to provide alternatives for students who wish to be excused from the discussion. Devise a set of ground rules with your group, to ensure safe and respectful discussions.


How the Convention on the Rights of the Child protects children from discrimination

  • Article 2 (Non-discrimination): Every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status. 

  • Article 4  (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they agree to review their laws relating to children. This involves assessing their social services, legal, health and educational systems, as well as levels of funding for these services. Governments are then obliged to take all necessary steps to ensure that the minimum standards set by the Convention in these areas are being met. They must help families protect children’s rights and create an environment where they can grow and reach their potential.

  • Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties. 

  • Article 14 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion): Children have the right to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. 

  • Article 19 (Protection from all forms of violence): Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect 

  • Article 22 (Refugee children): Children have the right to special protection and help if they are refugees (if they have been forced to leave their home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in this Convention.

  • Article 23 (Children with disabilities): Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support, as well as all the rights in the Convention, so that they can live full and independent lives.

  • Article 29 (Goals of education): Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures.

  • Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. 

The Sustainable Development Goals that target discrimination, racism and inequlaity

Goal 4 Quality Education: Target  4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations 4.A Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all

Goal 5 Gender Equality : Target 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

5.C Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

Goal 8: Target 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value 

Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities: Target 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status​. Target 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.

Goal 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions Target 16.B Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development



Walking Debate:

Ask people to walk to one side of the room or the other if they agree or disagree with the following statements. They can stay in the middle if they are unsure. Once they have taken a side ask them to discuss why

  • Prejudice part of human nature.

  • Men are better at being logical and women are better with emotions

  • Women are better carers of children

  • Boys are better at sports

  • Young people should respect their elders

  • People who work hard and pay their taxes deserve better healthcare

  • French people have more style

  • Asian children are better at math and technology

  • Irish people like to get drunk

  • Gay men are better dressers then straight men


Define to the group Stereotype- a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. Discuss how this might give rise to discrimination and prejudice. 


Brainstorm: Define for the group Discrimination - the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. Prejudice - preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Ask the group to think of different examples of prejudice and discrimination from around the world.

Presentation: Give a presentation on the root causes of prejudice, discrimination and racism.  Show examples from a global and local perspecive.  

Reflection : Ask the group to share their thoughts on the presentation.


Think Pair and Share:   Ask the group to pair up and think about the forms of discrimination and prejudice most prevelant in Ireland. 


Define for the group Privilege -a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Divide in two a board or wall, mark one side Privilege Non-Privilege  Handout post its to people and ask them to write down characteristics of their identity that could give them priviledge in Irish society and characteristics that could be disadvantageous or would not offer them privilege. Examples include race, eye colour, hair colour, nationality, accent, religion, school, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation. 

Discuss the outcomes of the activity connect the class as a whole with level of privilege in the room. 

Game:  Download Identity worksheet and photo copy six times (for 30 people), cut up and put cards in to piles according to identity groups. Ask students to pick up a card from each group to create an identity. Ask them to think about what challenges would they face as that person?  Get the group in a line in the middle of the room and get them to take a step forward or back depending on how a person with their identity might be afforded privilege in Irish society. 

You speak the national language without an accent. 

Your skin colour is similar to those in the majority

Your ethnicity/nationality/culture is not the same as the majority

You are wealthy

You are young

You are old

You are a woman

You are straight

You are catholic

You are muslim

You are a man

You have a disability

You are a member of the LGBTQI community

You are working class

You live in social housing 

Reflection Questions: How do you feel, standing in front of people or behind people? Would you move back in order for people to be made more equal?  Could you imagine how it would feel to expereince this over your lifetime? How would you feel for your children and grandchildren would your distance between people grow or shrink? Do you feel Irish society can do more to ensure they are not discriminated like this? Do you feel you can do more to fight discrimination? 


Think Pair and Share:   Ask the group to pair up and think about the forms of discrimination Irish law protects people from. 

Handout: How the law protects people's rights in Ireland

The law in Ireland: Discrimination occurs where one person is treated less favourably than another. The Irish Constitution guarantees equality before the law and legislation protects us from discrimination in the workplace and in the receipt of services.  Protection is also offered, under EU law and international human rights instruments such as the UNCRC.

The Employment Equality Acts (EEA) 1998-2004 and the Equal Status Acts (ESA) 2000-2004 are the principal pieces of anti-discrimination law in Ireland. Under this legislation it is unlawful to discrimination against a person on the following grounds:

• Race • Gender • Civil status • Family status • Sexual orientation • Religion • Age (does not apply to a person under 16)      • Disability  • Membership of the Traveller community

Since 1 January 2016, under the Equal Status Acts 2000–2015, you cannot be discriminated against when renting because you are getting Rent Supplement or any other social welfare payment, or a Housing Assistance Payment. This is known as the housing assistance ground.

Think Pair and Share: What are the other forms of discrimination not listed above? And what forms of the discrimination are most prevelant in your school or community?  How do you know this? 

Caste - Language - Name - Nationality - Ethnicity - Regional/Geographic - Gender idenity - Looks - Drug use - Class 

How International Law helps to protect people's rights in Ireland

The European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003 gives effect to the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 14 of the ECHR like article 2 in the UNCRC protects against discrimination in the enjoyment of Convention rights.  Although, the Irish Constitution has primacy over the ECHR if a judgement by the courts goes against the  ECHR the government and the legislature must amend or repeal the legislation that allowed for this to happen.

Ireland has also ratified a number of international human rights conventions which guarantee citizens the right to equality such as:

  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  • the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

  • the United Nations Convention Against Torture

  • the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

  • the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

  • the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) 

Although these international conventions are binding on the state, it is only national laws that can protect them in the courts.  In cases, where people feel the law has not protected them in Ireland, they  can make a complaint to the relevant international bodies charged with protecting those rights. Any decision made in relation to such a complaint is not legally binding within the state however, decisions against the state can cause the state embarrassment and can ultimately lead to a change in the law.

ACTIVITY 3 Discrimination

Discrimination in Education - In Ireland there are situations where people can be legally discriminated against? Can you think of two reasons where the state allows for discrimination in education? religion and gender

Walking debate: Should schools be allowed to discriminate against children based on their religion and/or gender



Assumptions, stereotypes and prejudice

Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege






Raising awareness:

Put up posters or flyers to counteract the subtle racism that is seen daily around your school campus.

Hold a screening of a film, like "Crash"- 2001,  that tackles the issues of inequality.

Start a Global Issues Club! A club on campus under the global issues umbrella is a way for students to come together and share dialogue on the issues of racism, sexism, ableism, ageism and religion. Talking about these issues and having a safe space on your school campus to do so is important. Getting a teacher or school administration is key to having a successful platform at your school.

See if your school can become a Yellow Flag school

Have a social media take-over and have people use a hashtag like#lovenothate to counteract the problems young people face daily.

Whole School Week

Watch Ted Talk by Angelica Dass 'The Beauty of human skin in every colour" Create a school wide Humanae project.
Test notions of "racial" similarity and difference by comparing mtDNA sequences.
Research the impact that inequality can have on businesses, and also how they help contribute to the problem
Research and discuss the rights of disabled people in Ireland.
Watch "This Little Light of Mine" Write a reflection or poem about Travellers in Ireland.
Examine the Quality of Nationality Index. Find out what advantages Irish nationals have in the world. Comapre different nationalities and the associated discrimination to being a global citizen.
Explore Fredrick Douglas's visit to Ireland compare and contrast the different forms of discrimination Douglas found in Ireland to that of slavery in America.
Research food poverty in Ireland. Divide the class in to teams - to design ways to introduce healthier eating in to a community.
Research The Child of Our Time statistical data to determine how racism and discrimination influences children's health.
Debate: Does Ireland give preferential treatment to Catholics and is this a form of discrimination. or Does the catholic church discriminate based on gender.
Think about the kind of impacts that inequality can have on scientific advancements and research
Use UNICEF’s Inequality workshop to examine how inequality works and the impact it has on those people it effects
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