Teaching ‘White Privilege’ as Fact Is Breaking Law, UK Minister Says

October 21, 2020 Updated: October 21, 2020

Schools in the United Kingdom that teach “white privilege” as a fact are breaking the law, Britain’s equalities minister has told members of Parliament.

MP Kemi Badenoch says the underpinning ideology of critical race theory “sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression.”

“This government stands unequivocally against critical race theory,” she told MPs during a debate on Oct. 20, during which Labour MP Dawn Butler had called for the curriculum to be “decolonized.”

Badenoch, the MP for Saffron Waldon and also minister for equalities, said the rise of critical race theory is a “dangerous trend in race relations.”

“We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt,” she said. “Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police, without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.”

The defunding of police has been a demand of many key members and supporters of Black Lives Matter.

“Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group, often fully aware that they have a statutory duty to be politically impartial,” said Badenoch. “Black lives do matter—of course they do. But we know that the Black Lives Matter movement, capital B-L-M, is political.”

Some Black Lives Matter leaders and groups, including the UKBLM group, are explicitly anti-capitalist.

“What we are against is the teaching of contested political ideas as if they are accepted facts,” she said. “We don’t do this with communism. We don’t do this with socialism. We don’t do it with capitalism.”

Former Windrush passengers and members of the RAF
Former Windrush passengers and members of the RAF Donald Clarke, George Mason, Sam King MBE, and Allan Wilmot in the Imperial War Museum in London on June 12, 2008. (Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

‘Not America’

Badenoch also warned against importing the rhetoric on race from America.

“Our history of race is not America’s history of race. Most black British people who have come to our shores were not brought here in chains, but came voluntarily due to their connections to the UK and in search of a better life. I should know. I am one of them.

“We have our own joys and stories to tell. From the Windrush generation to the Somali diaspora, it is a story that is uniquely ours.”

During the debate on education and race, MP Dawn Butler had earlier called for the curriculum to be “decolonized,” saying that “history is taught to make one group of people feel inferior and another group of people feel superior.”

But Badenoch said the curriculum didn’t need decolonizing for “the simple reason that it is not colonized,” adding, “We should not apologize for the fact that British children primarily study the history of these islands.”

In the United States, the Trump administration recently banned agencies or contractors from “conducting training that promotes race stereotyping, for example, by portraying certain races as oppressors by virtue of their birth.”

“This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans,” Trump wrote, later calling the ideology “divisive.”

The UK government last month issued guidance that says schools shouldn’t use resources “produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters.”

Examples of unacceptable stances include “a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections,” as well as opposition to free speech or the use of racist or anti-Semitic language. Materials “promoting divisive or victim narratives that are harmful to British society,” were also included as an example.

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