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Race and Diversity in Education

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Emma Robertson

on 13 December 2011

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Transcript of Race and Diversity in Education

Race and Diversity in Education
"The education system in the UK is institutionally racist"
What is Institutional Racism?
Race Equality in Schools?
So what do we do?
Why Does it Matter?
In 1960s Britain, children from minority ethnic backgrounds were often viewed as having inferior intellectual capability, stemming from perceived biological, cultural and social deficits of the less civilised societies from which they came (Alleyne, 2005; Richardson, 2005; Mirza, 2005).
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (Great Britain. 2003) states that, 'all children and young people should be able to achieve their potential, whatever their ethnic or cultural background, and whichever school they attend'.
Race matters...
Research has found the general public's understanding of race is confused predominanty with assumptions that race is linked to biological fact (Gaine, 2005; Coleman, 2011).

Scientists though, have found no evidence to support race as a biological entity, leading a majority to agree that race is not a valid scientific construct (Bolaffi et al, 2010; Alleyne, 2005).

Race is now widely accepted to be a social construct (Garner, 2010; Knowles, 2004; Hartigan, 1997), this being a particular belief that has been created or shaped by social forces (Boghossian, 2001).
By simply stating race has been disproved to exist as a biological entity and therefore does not exist neglects an abundance of research which points to children and adults using race as a dimension to inform thinking (Dweck, 2009; Winkler, 2009). This highlights the fact that we still live in a racialised society (Leonardo, 2005, cited in Warmington, 2009).
...because 'research from critical scholars in a number of academic fields consistently demonstrates how racial minorities are marginalised via racialist ideologies, imbeud with notions of racial superiority and inferiority, which are fundamentally woven into the social. political, economic and moral fibres of the nation' (Jay, 2009, p. 678).

Its abstract nature materialises, forming and shaping individual and group identities (Winant, 2000, in Warmington, 2009; Connolly, 1998) which have very real negative impacts upon those minority racialised groups (Connolly, 1998; West, 2001, cited in Jay, 2009).
White Privilege
Many white people do not see 'whiteness' as a racial identity (Dyer, 2000).
'Most do not have to think about their colour as they move through their lives' (McIntosh, 1990, p. 32).
'Whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, average and also ideal' (McIntosh, 1990, p. 32).
Consequently, 'as members of this dominant group it is difficult to recognise your own implicit involvement within a system which fundamentally favours your unsought racial dominance from birth' (McIntosh, 1990, p.32).
White privilege is summarised by Bolaffi et al (2003) as the power and privileges [of white people] institutionalised in law and custom.
Turn to p. 3 in your resource pack. Do any of these 'white privileges' stand out to you and why? Are there any that you agree or disagree with and why?
If these things are true, McIntosh suggests:

This is not such a free country. One's life is not what one makes it. Many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own. The word privilege now seems misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favoured state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions described here work systematically to over-empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race.

(McIntosh, 1990, p. 34)
Colour Blindness
Should we see race?
Overt Racism
Name calling
Physical violence

Dysconscious Racism
'An uncritical habit of mind (including perceptions, attitudes, assumptions and beliefs) that justifies inequality and exploitation by accepting the existing order of things as given' (King, 1991).

Institutional Racism...
Gaine (2005) answers this question 'paradoxically, no and yes. No, at least for the time being, because race matters in people's lives: it is sometimes so relevant that we have to notice it, monitor it, refer to it, examine it, pick at it in order that we can make it not matter. But yes, because people's lives would be better if it were irrelevant, if it did not matter'.
Institutional racism is defined by the Commission for Racial Equality, cited in DfES (2003) as 'organisational structures, policies and practices which result in ethnic minorities being treated unfairly and less equally, often without intent or knowledge'.
Lander (2011) argues in ignoring race, we ignore identity which is both offensive and ignorant. If we do not see race, then how can we see racism?
Gillborn, 2007 highlighted that in 2004 the Department for Education published its ‘Five Year Strategy’ and expressed concern that the word racism did not appear once, despite the Lawrence Enquiry (MacPherson, 1999) identifying the importance of facing up to and challenging racism.
‘All children and young people should be able to achieve their potential, whatever their ethnic or cultural background and whichever school they attend. However, such opportunities are unequal for many of the one in eight pupils who come from a minority ethnic background’.
(DfES 2003)
The 'tier' system puts a 'ceiling' on the potential that young people can achieve (Gillborn, 2007).

Research into ethnic breakdown of tiered GCSEs show that black pupils were under-represented in higher tiers and over-represented in foundation tiers: two thirds of the black pupils were entered into the lower teir for mathematics (Araujo 2007; Kornhaber 2004).
Compared with their white peers black people are three times more likely to be expelled from school (DCLG, 2009, cited in Gillborn 2010).
(DFES, 2006)
(Gillborn, 2010)
Mounting research provides evidence that black children are suffering due to their racial identity. They are being failed by a predominantly white teaching force, and this inequality is as relevant today as it ever has been.
(Gillborn, 2007)
Manipulations of Performance Statistics
Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) cited in Gillborn (2010) document how tests of statistical significance have become distorted over time in such a way that they can be misleading, often closing down debate and suppressing vital research findings.
Yosso (2002) asserts that racism is endemic within education, it is ingrained on multiple levels with results in ethnic minority groups being stigmatised. Institutional racism, because it is unintended, is often difficult to detect (DfES, 2003).
The education system has implemented the following recommendations stemming from the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry (MacPherson, 1999, cited in Lander, 2011):
Amend the National Curriculum to value cultural diversity, prevent racism and better reflect the needs of a diverse society.
Local Authorities and school governors have a duty to create and influence strategies to prevent and address racism.
All racist incidents should be reported to parents, governors and the Local Authority.
Ofsted inspections include examination of such strategies.
Implications of children's views on society:
'Many people are against coloureds and also against blacks. There is a lot of people who would like to see coloureds and blacks chucked out of this country. They always stir up too much trouble and then don’t like being punished for it. Every coloured person wants everyone to give them what they want when they want it. The Pakistanis always wear turbans. The reason for this is because of their religion. The Pakis have very strong religion. Most of them are friendly but you get the odd few that are violent. They also do not get married normally because all marriages are arranged. Also they are pigs' (cited in Gaine, 2005, p2).
Time Line:
(Tomlinson, 2008)
Do these displays reinforce or challenge stereotypes?
Do these pictures represent aspects of your culture?
Challenge Stereotypes
Where in the world...?
Malorie Blackman, author
Lonnie Johnson, engineer and inventor
Guy Bluford, aerospace engineer and astronaut
Critical Thinking
Literature in your classroom
Select critically!
Cultural relevance?
Are your teaching resources culturally relevant to everyone in your class?
Dealing with racist incidents
Classroom ethos
Have a questioning approach across the curriculum to Eurocentric bias and assumptions
Communicating core principles
Key details of race equality policies, goals and monitoring of targets should be published annually to parents and carers via newsletters, posters and though meetings. Parents, pupils and other members of the school community should have opportunities to share their views and be kept updated (Commission for Racial Equality, 1999).
‘You people, you don’t wear the shoes of racism every day, you don’t know where they pinch and where they hurt. We do, but you don’t ask us about them, you just keep on designing new shoes, but they’re white shoes and they don’t fit’.
(cited in Gaine, 2005)
CPD and staff training
I sometimes visualise the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behaviour is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behaviour has identified with the ideology of White supremacy and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. Some of the bystanders may feel the motion of the conveyor belt, see the active racists ahead of them, and choose to turn around, unwilling to go to the same destination as the White supremacists. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt – unless they are actively antiracist – they’ll find themselves carried along with the others.

(Tatum 1999, p11-12)
The challenge...

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