Teaching children that white privilege is a fact is breaking the law, says minister

Camilla Turner
·2-min read
Kemi Badenoch said the Government 'stands unequivocally against critical race theory' - Rex/Shutterstock
Kemi Badenoch said the Government 'stands unequivocally against critical race theory' - Rex/Shutterstock

Teachers who tell their pupils that white privilege is a fact are breaking the law, the women and equalities minister has said.

Kemi Badenoch told the Commons there was a "dangerous trend" in race relations that should not be taught in schools. 

She said: "It is the promotion of critical race theory – an ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression. I want to be absolutely clear – this Government stands unequivocally against critical race theory."

Ms Badenoch was speaking in response to the Labour MP Dawn Butler, who said history needs to be "decolonised". 

Calls to decolonise the curriculum have been gaining pace at universities, where students have urged professors to examine whether courses are too dominated by white male European points of view. They have also been growing in schools, where many teachers are keen for pupils to learn the history of colonialism and the slave trade from a less Eurocentric perspective. 

But Ms Badenock said the curriculum did not need decolonising for "the simple reason that it is not colonised", adding: "We should not apologise for the fact that British children primarily study the history of these islands.

"And it goes without saying that the recent fad to decolonise maths, decolonise engineering, decolonise the sciences that we've seen across our universities, to make race the defining principle of what is studied, is not just misguided but actively opposed to the fundamental purpose of education." 

She said pupils should not be learning about "white privilege and their inherited racial guilt", telling the Commons any school which teaches "these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law".

Last week, MPs were told that white working class boys will continue to be left behind because notions of "toxic masculinity" and "white privilege" suggest they are the problem. Professor Matthew Goodwin told a select committee the national conversation had become "preoccupied" with issues around gender, race and ethnicity and focused around "historic grievances".

In the USA, Donald Trump has directed the Office of Management and Budget to crack down on federal agencies' anti-racism training sessions, calling them "divisive, anti-American propaganda".

The OMB director, Russell Vought, directed executive branch agencies to identify spending related to any training on "critical race theory", "white privilege" or any other material that teaches or suggests that the United States or any race or ethnicity is "inherently racist or evil".