White privilege

Don’t blame ‘white privilege’ for the plight of working-class kids

Tory MP Robert Halfon is right to say that the underachievement of white working-class students is a ‘major social injustice’. He is also correct to call for ‘a proper funding settlement’ so that we have an ‘education system fit for purpose’. But this much-needed debate has been overshadowed by a red herring in the Education committee’s report: the use of the term ‘white privilege’. The report claims that the use of such phrases may have contributed to the neglect of disadvantaged white kids. Of course, as Halfon says, ‘it is wrong to tell a white disadvantaged family that they are white privileged even though they may come from a very poor background and may be struggling’. But blaming

When ‘white privilege’ doesn’t count

First off the blocks criticising Dr Tony Sewell’s report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was Professor Kalwant Bhopal from the University of Birmingham. Writing in the Guardian and focusing on her specialism of education (she is director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education), she took exception to the statistics that showed the majority of ethnic minority groups ‘perform better than White British pupils’. If this were true, of course, it would put to bed the whole idea of institutional racism in education and ‘white privilege’, for it wouldn’t be a racism worth its salt if whites systematically came bottom or near-bottom. In her tweets about