- people are not blind to colour in a colour conscious society
- racism affects black and white people both but differently
HARROW COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE
a campaigning national organisation - promoting the principle of 'different but equal'

 

The HCJ shares its analysis of socio-political and economic situations with voters to help them to make well informed democratic choices. 
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Race disadvantages certain people

Professor Kalwant Bhopal's book “White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-racial Society” is a bold reminder that people are not blind to colour in a colour conscious society and judge/treat people accordingly. She is a professor of education and social justice at the University of Birmingham, and is well respected for her professional courage and integrity.

Despite claims that we now live in a 'post-racial society’ race continues to disadvantage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds”.

I still continue to experience racism, often on a daily basis, but it is more subtle and nuanced and I will continue to name racism regardless of the negative repercussions of doing so” says professor Bhogal.

Professor Bhogal’s analytical work broadly indicates that the dynamics of racism have not really changed much since 1970s/80s, for example continued marginalisation of black and minority ethnic communities.

Following is a snap shot of the HCJ experiences of how the racism has reshaped and the experiences of racism that once opened up socio-political conflicts and contradictions in our society, resulting in race/gender/disability specific equal opportunity policies and legislations, are now diluted with the help of some from the black and minority ethnic backgrounds, tamed through the institutional recognition and therefore colluding with the system, rendering racism visibly invisible.

What happens in terms of race is equally applicable to colour and religion in that how some people have been perceived and denied a treatment based on the notion of ‘different but equal’.  

The education area is a prime example.

Reference to HANSARD: 1966/67:Volume 29
A problematic view of immigrants was legalised by the Local Government Act of 1966, stating a negative definition “immigration is the great social problem of this Century and of the next”. (p1308). Section 11 (the Local Government Act of 1966) funding to the authorities was a response to the perceived impact of immigration on education.

The education supreme, the Department of Education and Science at the time, reinforced what the politicians were saying and argued for English as a Second Language (ESL) “to provide the key to ….. cultural and social assimilation” (Working Paper 13).

The ESL is now EAL (English as an additional language) with apparently the same purpose. The EAL pupils are referred to as a group of pupils, irrespective of the English language needs - a sort of cultural identity.

The EAL somehow remained (and still is) unfavourable input indicator in evaluating pupils achievement.

Brent in 1980s and then in 2015
Brent hit the national headlines as its education report  “the Two Kingdoms”  in the 80s forcefully located pupils' under-achievement in the education system rather than in the home environment or the English language deficiency as a number of conventional education reports identified.

Brent followed this report by its Development Programme for Racial Equality (DPRE) in 1986 to address underachievement by pupils but the short-lived programme was lost due to the local and national politics (a home office trouble shooter was sent to investigate Brent DPRE who discredited it) – the Brent experience gave a sort of feel that Brent was treated like a ‘last English colony’!

Thirty years after this, the Brent education still struggled to deal with underachievement and in reinventing the wheel, the Brent Education Commission 2014 reported the Brent characterises as 64% Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) where 37.1% children spoke English and 62.1% spoke EAL, to justify underachievement and qualify for more resources.

Birmingham in 2014 (hitting headlines and being treated like Brent in 1980s)
In March 2014 an anonymous and unverified letter sent to Birmingham City Council claimed that there was a "Trojan Horse" conspiracy to take over governing bodies and create a school culture more sympathetic to their hard-line Muslim religious ethos.

On the basis of such a thin evidence, the whole government machinery came into somewhat panicky motion, including 21 schools in Birmingham being quickly inspected by the education watchdog Ofsted and the government's Extremism Task Force being involved. No educationally valid evidence to substantiate the Trojan Horse theory is known.

2014 onwards
However, as expected, the media trial of the "Trojan Horse" was unavoidable (1) & (2) and a bitter public argument erupted between the then home secretary Theresa May and education secretary Michael Gove as to who is responsible for dealing with the perceived ‘radicalism’ – Theresa May gave in and hurriedly embarked upon much discredited Prevent strategy to keep a community under check.

Other highlights are:
Extremism, terrorism, radicalism and whatever flows from this - stigmatizing a community.

During the last London mayor election (2016), the racist tone of Tory election campaign, attacking the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan for who he is, which far right media recycled.

Lynton Crosby, the Australian strategist who was behind a Conservative London election campaign dubbed "racist", was called in for Conservative Party’s general election campaign in 2017.

The politics of and scaremongering about ‘People movement/ immigration’, the spine of Brexit, used as a major factor to stir up nationalistic feelings  during the Brexit campaign which eventually saw the alarming rise of far right extremism, a big challenge to national stability but not adequately addressed by the government.

Politics of radicalism hitting education - for example Hijab play. 4/2/2019