07 SES 16 B, School and Teacher Practices: Challenging minority ethnic educational disadvantage and exclusion. Examples from three European countries.
Since the 1960s and the recognition that Britain was a multiethnic society there have been innumerable policies aimed at addressing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people’s needs or disadvantage and yet the key concerns endure and remain the same in the 21st century (Mirza 2005). It is clear from the evidence that BAME children and young people continue to underachieve academically (DfE 2013), continue to be disproportionately excluded from school (Parsons 2009) and a recent report on jobs and prisons shows disproportionate representation of these groups (Lammy 2017, ONS 2012). In this paper I will explore the question: why is it in spite of policy changes and our developed understanding of in/equalities, BAME children and young people continue to be disadvantaged and marginalised by the education system. I will revisit some of my previous research projects and analyse the educational experiences of BAME boys, focusing, in particular, on the construction of Black Caribbean and South Asian boys as threatening to the teacher and school and contributing to their objectification. I will discuss the educational implications of this for the young people and the way the lack of recognition by the school of these implications marginalises and renders them invisible (Hill-Collins 2000). I aim to cast light on the structural obstacles to change and challenge the deficit model of low SES and BAME children and the culture of blame of the family and the child for their own underachievement. The analysis will employ the use of Critical Whiteness (Garner 2007) and Critical Race (Ladson-Billings & Tate 1995) Theories and will demonstrate the effects of the structure and context of the school that gives rise to an oppressive space for children’s educational experience (Beale-Spencer & Harpalani 2001). Whiteness theory recognises the power and impact of the normalisation and hegemony of racism (Gillborn 2008). It is not about White people per se but the socially constructed and reinforced power of White identification and interests (Ladson-Billings and Tate 1995). The use of Critical Whiteness and Critical Race Theories which foregrounds issues of racism, contributes to understanding the symbolic violence rendered on BAME children in school, inhibiting their acquisition of those resources to help them progress through the system of attainment and learning and marginalizing their voice and agency. The aforementioned studies were based on qualitative research, semi-structured interviews and participant observation and analysed through a form of grounded theory.
Beale-Spencer, M. and V. Harpalani (2001) African American adolescents’ identity, in: J. V. Lerner,R. M. Lerner (Eds) Adolescence in America: an encyclopecdia, vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA, ABCCLIO), 26–30. Department for Education (DfE). (2013). GCSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics in England: 2011 to 2012. London: HMSO. Garner, S. (2007) Whiteness: An Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge Gillborn, D. (2008). Racism and education: Coincidence or conspiracy? London/New York: Routledge. The Lammy Review (2017) An independent review into the treatment of and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the. Criminal Justice System. London: HMSO Ladson-Billings, G. & Tate, W. F. (1995) Toward a critical race theory of education, Teachers College Record, 97(1), 47–68. Hill-Collins, P. (2000) Black feminist thought (2nd edn) (London and New York, Routledge). Mirza, H.S. (2005)The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same. In Richardson, B. (Ed) Tell it Like it Is: How our schools fail Black children. Stoke-on-Trent, UK: Trentham Books Office for National Statistics, Labour Force Survey (2012) – https://www.google.co.uk search?q=dependent+children+in+families+by+family+type+and+child’s+ethnicity Parsons, C. (2009) Explaining sustained inequalities in ethnic minority school exclusions in England—passive racism in a neoliberal Grip. Oxford Review of Education, 35:2, 249-265
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