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Get CRT out of schools

Divisive ideas are being imposed on our kids

Artillery Row

Education secretary Gillian Keegan recently said that “white privilege” does not exist. She also made clear that schools should not be teaching it as an undeniable feature of modern Britain. This comes two years after the then equalities minister Kemi Badenoch warned that teaching such questionable political ideas as uncontested truths is dangerous and, more to the point, illegal. So why, when the government appears to strongly oppose the one-sided teaching of concepts such as “white privilege”, “unconscious bias” and “systemic racism”, are they still being taught in our schools?

The tenets that form the foundations of Western civilisation must be rejected

Assessing to a report based on a YouGov survey of 1500 18 to 20-year-olds in April this year, Eric Kaufman concluded: “As many as 59 per cent of British schoolchildren are encountering Critical Race Theory (CRT)-derived terms ‘white privilege’, ‘unconscious bias’ or ‘systemic racism’ at school.” Kaufman also found that these concepts were being largely taught as fact. This discovery accords with an investigation of local councils conducted by the campaign group Don’t Divide Us. They found that almost 1 in 4 local councils willing to disclose their policies is actively promoting CRT. Littered with concepts such as (you guessed it) structural racism, unconscious bias and white privilege throughout, these policies instruct schools to adopt CRT teaching materials. Kemi Badenoch’s veiled threat has been ignored.

Conceived in American universities during the 1970s by academics like Derrick Bell and bell hooks, CRT was a response to the lack of social progress made by African-Americans despite the legal and political rights afforded them as a result of the civil rights struggle. CRT activists believe that this legal and political emancipation conspired to perpetuate racial inequality. In their view, white people are inherently racist. Even though much of this racism is unconscious, the social, political, economic and cultural — even the psychological and spiritual — structures of society, serve to preserve the status quo. In other words, white people are shaped by racism from birth. It’s inescapable.

If racism is to be defeated, nothing less than a revolution must take place. American institutions must be destroyed; its social, cultural, political and economic structures overturned; and its commitment to universal values, objective truth, Enlightenment rationalism and liberalism — the tenets that form the foundations of American and Western civilisation — must be rejected.

Through figures like Robin DiAngelo and Michael Moore (whose book Stupid White Men included a chapter titled “Kill Whitey”), obscure academic ideas were fed into the mainstream. In her book White Fragility (2018), not only did DiAngelo claim that all white people are racist, but she also asserted that to deny being racist was itself evidence of racism. Ibram X. Kendi, another exponent of CRT, argued that discriminating against white people is anti-racist and therefore justified. As these ideas went mainstream, they, as everything else tends to, made their way across the pond. A particular response to a particular problem in America is thus being fed to British schoolchildren.

The need for empirical evidence is a white construct

Given the provenance of the theory, it’s unsurprising that its claims are untrue. “White privilege” does not exist. It’s a figment of activist imaginations. Let’s see Oprah and Meghan Markle fly to Jaywick on a private jet and convince the white working-class inhabitants of their racial privilege. The idea is as stupid as it is perverse. A recent survey of KPMG employees found that social background — not race or gender — is the biggest barrier to career advancement. “Class privilege” is much more of a reality than “white privilege”. One only has to examine the racial mix and educational backgrounds of the government’s front bench to see that.

Besides, Britain is not America. Racism undoubtedly existed — and still exists — here, but we neither practised slavery at home nor imposed discriminatory laws in any way comparable to the Jim Crow South. To diagnose two countries with two very different histories with the same malady is foolish. It is shameful that such lazy scholarship is being forced on our children as irrefutable fact.

Of course, to the exponents of CRT, the need for empirical evidence is a white construct. They can therefore reject the need to prove their claims through rational enquiry. “White privilege” exists because its advocates say so. It’s “their” truth. That’s why CRT is taught in such a one-sided fashion. It cannot be gainsaid. To do so would be an act of racism.

In a country that claims to be committed to Enlightenment principles and objective truth, CRT is being taught in our schools. Black children are being told that they are victims, white children that they are oppressors. It was shocking to watch the unedifying spectacle of this damaging message being subtly relayed to unwitting children in the Channel 4 documentary “The School That Tried to End Racism”.

Kaufman found that such approaches make communication between black and white children more difficult. According to his study, white recipients of the teaching of CRT were more uncomfortable criticising black classmates. They were also more likely to be anti-British and illiberal.

The teaching of CRT in our schools is incredibly dangerous. Its claims are both wrong and deeply divisive. Once more, advocates not only seek to re-racialise society — they aim to undermine our institutions and collective commitment to the notions of objective truth and rationalism. It’s nothing less than an assault upon the foundations of one of the most welcoming and tolerant countries on Earth. The time for whining is over. Gillian Keegan needs to act.

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