White privilege . . . what an obscene phrase that is.
It is also fundamentally racist in my view, encouraging the bigotry and hatred it pretends to oppose.
If you don’t believe me, look at the immense damage it is doing in British schools.
This week, Professor Matthew Goodwin, a politics lecturer at the University of Kent, told the Commons Education Select Committee that the concept of ‘white privilege’ — societal attitudes that benefit white people over non-white people — is brutally unfair to white working-class boys.
It is nonsensical, he said, to teach white children — many from disadvantaged families — to apologise for their skin colour.
Some teachers feel pressure to actively endorse Black History Month, or BLM protests that spread to Britain, including in Clapham, above, earlier this year
I couldn’t put it better myself. For the uncomfortable reality is that, every day, the futures of thousands of white working-class children are being sacrificed on the altar of diversity and political correctness.
As a governor and former teacher at a secondary state school in North London, I know unequivocally that racism is not built into Britain’s education system — unless it is shoe-horned in via misguided ideas such as ‘white privilege’.
Fortunately, my school has refused to bow to such divisive dogma. But many institutions put up little resistance and feel they cannot ignore it.
Often this manifests itself in their support for events such as October’s Black History Month, or the Black Lives Matter protests that have spread from the U.S. to Britain.
I know many teachers who feel pressure to actively endorse them, downloading educational resources from websites that are steeped in something called ‘critical race theory’ — a fashionable new ideology which, to put it simply, claims that every modern institution is racist.
As a result, many schools now compete against one another in their quest to educate children about concepts such as ‘white privilege’ and ‘white fragility’ — the idea that white people can’t bear to be told how lucky they are because they are white.
Not only is this damaging to white pupils, who are told that they have been racist all their lives and never realised it, it also has an equally pernicious impact on black children, who probably never considered that the colour of their skin was the most important thing in their lives.
Former teacher and school governor CALVIN ROBINSON says the concept of ‘white privilege,’ is damaging to young white pupils, ‘who are told that they have been racist all their lives and never realised it’
Why are we telling children that, based on who their great-grandparents were, they will face barriers and hurdles that other classmates will not?
It is a disgraceful state of affairs and only breeds enmity between young people and breaks up friendships.
Crucially, it also risks harming black lives — telling anyone that they are destined to fail is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they are told that the world is against them, black pupils who were doing well might ask themselves whether there is any point in hard work.
And yet, like Professor Goodwin, I believe that the children who are worst affected by this divisive campaign are white pupils from low-income families, especially boys.
Indeed, shocking data released by the Department for Education shows that white working-class boys from poor backgrounds are by far the most underprivileged youngsters in Britain.
Only 13 per cent of white boys who are eligible for free school meals, because their families are on benefits, go on to higher education — yet that figure rises to 51 per cent for black British boys. That’s almost four times as many.
In fact, the only groups that have a worse educational outcome than working-class white males are boys from the gypsy, Roma and Irish traveller communities — who often are not in school at all.
All of which makes the failure of our politicians to speak up for this silent majority even more shameful.
In particular, the Labour Party, which was established to speak for the working class, seems to have turned its back on white Brits, even though it constantly professes to care about ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’.
A few voices are now speaking out — not only Professor Goodwin, who himself came from a struggling single-parent family, but notably the Tory MP Ben Bradley, who earlier this year convened a Commons debate on the plight of young working-class boys.
Yet few dare to join them, and a deep-rooted taboo surrounds the whole topic.
Today, saying anything in defence of white boys from lower-income backgrounds is seen as tantamount to rewarding and fostering racism.
This distorted world view can be traced back to the passing of the Equality Act of 2010, which introduced the concept of ‘protected characteristics’ — that idea that minorities merited support and majorities did not.
But my skin is brown, and I find it deeply offensive that anyone should look at me and make the patronising assumption that I need extra help or support.
There’s something inherently Victorian, not to say superior, in the very notion. It is, quite simply, racist.
Racism is not built into Britain’s education system — unless it is shoe-horned in via misguided ideas such as ‘white privilege,’ writes CALVIN ROBINSON
Nor am I aware of any research that says this approach results in any benefits for children from ethnic minorities. But there is clear evidence of the damage done by fabricating racial differences and assigning non-existent blame.
Of course, privilege does exist. But it doesn’t work in the way that ‘critical race theory’ claims it does. And so when my pupils ask me about it, I tell them that the concept of ‘privilege’ isn’t straightforward.
For example, when I’m in a crowd, I can see over the heads of most people because I’m tall. But my privilege becomes a handicap when I’m in an old pub with low beams, banging my head every time I stand up.
Privilege isn’t permanent. We all have talents and advantages, but it’s up to us to use them well and pick our timing.
Yet still, the blanket assumption that all white children are born privileged remains difficult to challenge because it is so ingrained.
Thanks to the Equality Act, all help available is automatically channelled to ethnic minorities — and not to the white children who actually need it most.
Look at what happened when 96-year-old Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites last year tried to set up a £1.2million bequest to benefit poor, white, working-class boys at his old schools, Dulwich College and Winchester College.
Unsurprisingly, he was turned down, with both schools rejecting the gifts. The very idea was treated as though it was somehow toxic.
Professor Matthew Goodwin, a politics lecturer at the University of Kent, told the Commons Education Select Committee that the concept of ‘white privilege’ was brutally unfair to white working class boys
Yet when grime artist Stormzy set up scholarships for poor black children at Cambridge University two years ago, he was hailed as an inspiration.
Of course, what he has done is truly inspiring.
It’s just wrong that his example cannot be used to benefit the white children who need help, too.
For the depressing truth is that this disparity continues into adulthood. Indeed, ethnicity pay gap figures released this week showed that workers in their 20s from minority backgrounds were likely to earn more per hour than their white counterparts, by an average of more than 5 per cent.
So much for ‘white privilege’.
At my school, we like to tell the pupils: ‘Make no mistake, you are privileged to be here. All of you have a great chance at success. We’re all British and we’re all in this together.’
It’s a message our politicians and teachers would do well to heed.
And if they don’t, it’s Britain’s white children who will pay.