Education, not vandalism and violence, is the key to ending racism
BY CALVIN ROBINSON
The United Kingdom is not a racist country. Yes, elements of racism remain in our society, but we are not the United States. The US has a long history of institutional racism; the same cannot be said for the UK.
If we want to further progress and stamp out those final nuggets of racism, we need to do so with civil discourse. Education and communication solve the majority of problems in a civil society. Riotous thugs tearing down statues and graffitiing national treasures is not going to do anything but stoke up further divisions. It’s purposefully provocative and utterly counter-productive to the cause.
Likewise, telling white people to check their privilege is unhelpful. Assuming that someone is in a privileged position because of the colour of their skin is, in fact, racist. As a teacher, I can assure you that’s not always the case. Working-class white boys are one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of young people in the country, precisely because people dare not support them for fear of giving the wrong impression. A million-pound scholarship fund was actively turned down by a school toward the end of last year because it presented the wrong optics.
It cannot be right that certain groups are worthy of support, and others who must be left behind. The right thing to do would be to provide equal opportunities for all. We need to make improvements in our education system to ensure that all young people are given the best possible start in life, no matter their skin colour. Only then, will we have true equality.
Making excuses for one particular group, lowering expectations to ‘help’ them achieve is not productive. What we need to be doing instead is raising aspirations for everyone. Instead of patronising BAME children and assuming they can’t access the same level of education as their peers, we need to raise the bar for all young people. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that children usually rise to meet the expectations we set for them.
Let’s take skin colour out of the equation. As Morgan Freeman aptly put it “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man”. It’s time to stop differentiating people based on the colour of their skin. “For God shows no partiality”, Romans 2:11.
Calvin Robinson is a writer, speaker and educator. Follow him on twitter: @calvinrobinson