Wednesday, 06 March 2013

A positive story about a man who watched children play

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In the early 90s, Mr Brooks was my secondary school English teacher. In between teaching Macbeth and Wuthering Heights, he would tell us about a friend who had grown up in apartheid South Africa but now lived in London. Once a week, this friend would go to the local primary school and sit outside at playtime just to watch black and white children playing together as equals. He said it restored his faith in humanity.


Science has caught up with Mr Brooks' story. Recent research from Oxford Professor Miles Hewstone* shows that the positive effects of mixing with people of different ages, incomes and ethnicities don't just apply to the people mixing. They also apply to anyone watching the interaction whose faith in the two groups is raised.

Which raises a question: where can you see different incomes, ages and ethnicities having shared positive experiences? If you want a happier day, either keep your eyes peeled or work with us to make these experiences more common.


* For more on Miles Hewstone's work, try this engaging talk: www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2013/why-cant-we-live-together

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