Term ‘White Privilege’ Is ‘Divisive’ and ‘Antagonistic’, Warns Equalities Minister

The Conservative Party’s Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has warned that the term “white privilege” is “unnecessarily antagonistic”, criticising the Labour Party for having “dismissed the idea that the term is divisive”.

The Conservative MP, an outspoken opponent of critical race theory and the so-called ‘decolonising’ of school curricula, wrote in The Telegraph on Saturday that the phrase “white privilege” is “unnecessarily antagonistic”.

Mrs Badenoch continued: “Much as some theorists think it is essential for tackling racism, there is an active and fairly toxic political debate around it. All the more reason why the phrase should not be taught in schools unless it is explained that it is also contentious.

“It is important to tackle racial discrimination. But these matters must be handled sensitively. Normalising the term ‘white privilege’ does not eliminate racism, it reinforces the notion that everyone and everything around ethnic minorities is racist and makes the majority white population more conscious about their race and exacerbates feelings of difference, creating a less cohesive society.”

The MP for Saffron Walden made the remarks in light of the findings of the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED), which concluded in March that the UK is not “institutionally racist”.

This week, MPs on the Education Committee agreed with CRED’s findings, further adding that the term “white privilege” may be “alienating to disadvantaged White communities, and it may have contributed towards a systemic neglect of White people facing hardship who also need specific support”.

The MPs’ report, entitled “The forgotten: how White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it”, outlined how poor white British children were being almost entirely outperformed academically by other poor ethnic minority children across different developmental benchmarks.

Labour rejected the findings of the CRED inquiry and the committee’s report.

Mrs Badenoch, who is of Nigerian heritage, criticised the Labour Party for not only dismissing the idea that the term “white privilege” is “divisive” but for also claiming that there is a “‘wealth of evidence’ that poor white children are ‘privileged’”.

“Labour’s problem is that there is a wealth of evidence showing how blind they are to the realities of life in their former heartlands,” Badenoch wrote.

Statistics revealed that just 16 per cent of white British children eligible for free school meals (FSM) had started university by the age of 19 — the second-lowest of any other ethnic group, behind Irish travellers/Gypsy/Roma. In contrast to other FSM children, the participation rate for black Caribbeans was 31.8 per cent, 37.2 per cent for ‘White Other’, 69 per cent for black Africans, and 72.8 per cent for Chinese pupils.

Badenoch also noted:

The Committee report stated that 47 per cent of white British pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) – about 28,000 children – did not meet the expected standard of development at the end of the early years foundation stage in 2018/2019, compared with 37 per cent of black FSM pupils. And shockingly, in 2019, just 17.7 per cent of white British pupils eligible for FSM achieved at least a strong pass (grade 5 or above) in English and maths at GCSE level compared with 28 per cent for Black FSM pupils. Given these outcomes, we should not carelessly use skin colour as a proxy for disadvantage.

Also this week, a University of Oxford don said that universities hold “stereotypical attitudes towards white working-class pupils” and are more likely to blame their academic failures on their personal deficiencies rather than admitting there were obstacles the group was facing — counter to leftist arguments that failures amongst ethnic minorities are due to factors beyond their control, namely systemic racism.

Professor Peter Edwards had said: “Any reference I make to this issue in higher education is seen as prejudice. I have even heard the shocking statement that under-achievement of this class of young people arises solely from their ‘sense of themselves’ — in other words, the lack of success of this group is a result of individual deficiencies.”


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