The phrase ‘white privilege’ is unnecessarily antagonistic, says Kemi Badenoch
The idea of “white privilege” is “stoking divisions” and “marginalising the most disadvantaged” in society, the equalities minister warns in the present day.
Mrs Badenoch insists the phrase “reinforces the notion that everyone and everything around ethnic minorities is racist”, and makes the bulk white inhabitants of the UK “more conscious about their race … creating a less cohesive society”.
Highlighting using the time period in a BBC academic video designed for youngsters, Mrs Badenoch says that “we should not carelessly use skin colour as a proxy for disadvantage”.
The minister’s intervention will reignite a row that erupted over a Commons training committee report which warned that white working-class pupils have been “neglected” by the training system for many years.
Members of the committee urged faculties to cease utilizing the time period “white privilege”, saying that the time period could have contributed to a “systemic neglect” of white working-class pupils.
The report prompted a backlash by unions and Labour MPs, with Diane Abbott, the previous shadow residence secretary, accusing Conservative MPs who signed off on the report of “playing culture wars with education”.
But Mrs Badenoch states: “White privilege, far from helping to combat racism, is actually stoking divisions and marginalising the most disadvantaged in our society.”
The minister claims that Labour are “blind … to the realities of life in their former heartlands”, as she highlights figures exhibiting that, in 2019, simply 17.7 per cent of white British pupils eligible without cost faculty meals achieved no less than a robust go in English and maths at GCSE, in contrast with 28 per cent for black pupils eligible without cost faculty meals.
She says: “The phrase ‘white privilege’ is unnecessarily antagonistic. Much as some theorists think it is essential for tackling racism, the fact is 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 highly contentious.”
Mrs Badenoch provides: “As someone who grew up in Nigeria, where there is only one skin colour but over 300 ethnic groups, the more ethnic identity is emphasised the weaker national identity becomes. This is a dangerous trend for a multi-racial society where we need to lean on what we have in common not emphasise our differences.”