07 SES 09 A, Discussing Distributive Justice
The UK Equalities and Human Rights Committee (2010 EHRC) report showed that Britain is not as fair as we might have thought. It revealed that certain Black and Minority Ethnic (BaME) groups continue to under achieve in school and that whilst BaME groups are fairly well represented in the university sector they are not achieving as well as their White counterparts. Black Caribbean heritage students, continue to be disproportionately excluded from school which has subsequent implications for exam achievement and ultimately employment opportunities. In this period of economic austerity this situation looks likely to intensify. The first to suffer in terms of unemployment, lowering of wages, cuts in education provision for post 16 year olds and loss of other resources are young, working class and low credentialed young people (Lee 2011): many of whom are Black, Minority Ethnic (including Roma) or recent migrants .
A further dimension to the politics of race and education is the impact of globalisation and that increased migration as an associated consequence, has added to the complexity of the debate. This aspect in particular is one which impacts on Europe as a whole: witnessed for example by the overt displays of racism on the streets as well as on the football terraces and the rise of right wing groups across our nations. Moreover, racism in this new global, (relatively) borderless Europe is not necessarily defined by the signifier of colour (Sivanadan 2001). Some argue of course that this is not racism but class, often leading to a polarisation between disadvantaged groups and in effect undermining the challenge to racism. This, for example, has arguably led to the ‘end of multiculturalism’ stance taken by European nations such as Britain, Germany and France.
The focus of this paper is concerned with analysing these issues and challenging the notion of a ‘post-race’ historical period and the polarisation between disadvantaged groups or in other words a hierarchy of oppression. The paper discusses the nature of fairness or social justice and education within a framework of intersectionality. The issues addressed are of international relevance, as indicated above and examples from Britain, Europe and the USA are utilised. Drawing primarily on Iris Marion Young (1990) a discussion of the nature of ‘social justice’ is engaged with together with an analysis of the tensions between intersectional, non-hierarchical oppression and the relevance of strategic essentialism (Spivak, Crenshaw, Wing 2003). Iris Marion Young (1990) argues for the combination of a theory of distribution and relational factors attributed to social in/justice. As Young says, injustice is about oppression and domination rather than simply distribution and as Halsey (1997:638) has likewise acknowledged the “three giants in the path of equality” are ‘race’, class and gender, highlighting the need to acknowledge in any struggle against oppression and discrimination, intersectionalities. The distributional dimension refers to the principles by which the distribution of material resources-power related resources, are linked to the stratification of society and education and this in turn is based on social class differences and hierarchies.
Crozier, G. & Davies, J. (2007) Hard to Reach Parents or Hard to Reach Schools? A discussion of home-school relations, with particular reference to Bangladeshi and Pakistani parents. British Educational Research Journal, Vol:33:3, 295-313 EHRC (2010) How Fair is Britain? The First Triennial Review. London:HMSO Gewirtz, S. (2000)The Managerial School. London and New York: Routledge Gobo, F. (2000) Pedagogia interculturale. Il progetto educativo nelle societa complesse. Roma: Carocci Sivanandan, A. (2001). Poverty is the new black. Race and Class 43, no. 2: 1–5. Symeou, L.(2009) Roma and their education in Cyprus. Intercultural Education 20 (6) 511-521 Wells, A.S. and Serna,I. (1997) The Politics of Culture: Understanding Local Political Resistance to Detracking in Racially Mixed Schools. In A.H.Halsey et al (eds) Education, Culture and Society. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press Young, I. M. (1990) Justice and the Politics of Difference. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
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