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A critical view of racism and higher education David Gillborn Professor of Critical Race Studies in Education Institute of Education, London.

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Presentation on theme: "A critical view of racism and higher education David Gillborn Professor of Critical Race Studies in Education Institute of Education, London."— Presentation transcript:

1 a critical view of racism and higher education David Gillborn Professor of Critical Race Studies in Education Institute of Education, London

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3 Stephen Lawrence Timeline 2002 (May) The Race Relations (Amendment) Act becomes active 2003 (January) Home Secretary says that institutional racism … missed the point the slogan created a year or two ago about institutional racism missed the point (…) it isnt institutions, its patterns of work and processes that have grown up. Its people that make the difference. David Blunkett MP, Home Secretary Interview in The Guardian newspaper

4 Stephen Lawrence Timeline 2002 (May) The Race Relations (Amendment) Act becomes active 2003 (January) Home Secretary says that institutional racism … missed the point The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999, p. 28)

5 Stephen Lawrence Timeline 2002 (May) The Race Relations (Amendment) Act becomes active 2003 (January) Home Secretary says that institutional racism … missed the point 2003 (February) One in three universities not complying with legal duties 2003 (July) Two thirds of schools have not set any specific targets for change

6 Stephen Lawrence Timeline 2002 (May) The Race Relations (Amendment) Act becomes active 2003 (January) Home Secretary says that institutional racism … missed the point The publication of today's report on the killing of Stephen Lawrence is a very important moment in the life of our country. It is a moment to reflect, to learn and to change. It will certainly lead to new laws but, more than that, it must lead to new attitudes, to a new era in race relations, and to a new more tolerant and more inclusive Britain. … The test of our sincerity as law makers in this House is not how well we can express sympathy with the Lawrence family, but how well we implement the recommendations … Tony Blair, Prime Minister, February 1999

7 Contradiction-closing cases …a shield against excesses in the exercise of white power, yet they bring about no real changes in the status of blacks (Derrick Bell 1986: 32) They are a little like the thermostat in your home or office. They assure that there is just the right amount of racism. Too much would be destabilizing – the victims would rebel. Too little would forfeit important pecuniary and psychic advantages for those in power (Richard Delgado 1995: 80)

8 Contradiction-closing cases … allow business as usual to go on even more smoothly than before, because now we can point to the exceptional case and say, See, our system is really fair and just. See what we just did for minorities or the poor. Richard Delgado (1999: 445)

9 …after the celebration dies down, the great victory is quietly cut back by narrow interpretation, administrative obstruction, or delay. In the end, the minority group is left little better than it was before, if not worse. Its friends, the liberals, believing the problem has been solved, go on to something else … while its adversaries, the conservatives, furious that the Supreme Court has given way once again to undeserving minorities, step up their resistance. Delgado & Stefancic (2001) p. 24

10 Critical Race Theory Derrick BellRichard DelgadoKimberlé Crenshaw Gloria Ladson-BillingsWilliam Tate IV

11 CRT begins with a number of basic insights. One is that racism is normal, not aberrant, in American society. Because racism is an ingrained feature of our landscape, it looks ordinary and natural to persons in the culture. Formal equal opportunity – rules and laws that insist on treating blacks and whites (for example) alike – can thus remedy only the more extreme and shocking forms of injustice, the ones that do stand out. It can do little about the business-as-usual forms of racism that people of color confront every day … Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic (2000, p. xvi)

12 Conceptions of racism in education Traditional Perspective racism is an exceptional occurrence willingly enacted and driven by race hatred. Critical Perspective racism is extensive and taken-for-granted enacted through colour blind policy and rhetoric sustained by actions that are assumed to apply fairly to all.

13 The Colour of Ability the experiences of Black students Under-estimate academic ability Over-estimate challenge & threat Discipline Black students more severely Disproportionately place Black students in lower ranked teaching groups View Black families as disrupted & unsupportive

14 The gifted and talented scheme will identify children by looking at ability, rather than attainment, to capitalise on the talents of the individual child, regardless of ethnic background Departmental rebuttal on BBC News On-Line (2002)

15 Gifted & Talented White Black Caribbean Black African

16 Racism… business as usual Access Assessment: formal & informal Marking of known students (formative & summative) Tutorial guidance Promotion Peer review (for publication, for jobs) Personal mentoring Co-authorship opportunities? Inside advice (jobs, publishing) Honorary positions (board memberships) Co-applications for funding?

17 middle managers, heads of school or departments to whom key human resource functions are often devolved, sometimes have a (perhaps complacent) view, despite some evidence to the contrary, that EO issues have no place in a meritocracy. Hefce (2005) quoted in A. Pilkington (2009) The impact of government initiatives in promoting racial equality in higher education, Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World, 1(2): (p. 19)

18 Relative to their share in the population…ethnic minorities overall are now better represented in HE than whites Coffield & Vignoles (1997, para 1.1) Many ethnic groups continue to be over-represented in higher education compared to their population share Universities UK (2005, quoted in Aimhigher (2006) : 2) Those from non-white ethnic groups are better represented than white people National Audit Office (2008: para 5)

19 Minoritized students in HE tend to: Attend less prestigious institutions; Study lower status subjects; Are more likely to drop out; And less likely to attain the highest qualifications

20 Universities with the largest number of Black* Students 2007/08 Source: Raw data from Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (HEIDI) * Number of first year students identified as Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British African and Other Black background: England (excluding Open University).

21 Black and White Students as Proportion of First Years* Russell Group Universities, 2007/08 Source: Raw data from Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (HEIDI) * Proportion of first year UK students of known ethnicity identified as White and Black (Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British African and Other Black background).

22 Professors in UK HEIs by Ethnic Origin,* 2007/08 White 95% Black 0.2% Indian 1.3% Pakistani/Bangladeshi 0.1% Chinese 1.2% Other Asian 0.7% Other 1.5% Source: Raw data from Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (HEIDI). * Professors where ethnicity known in 167 HEIs

23 Professors in Top Ten Universities 2007/08 > Not a single Black, Pakistani or Bangladeshi professor > In 3 of the top 10 universities, EVERY professor is White.

24 Source: Raw data from Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (HEIDI) * No university lists any Bangladeshi professors * Only 1 university lists any Black professors * Only 1 (different) university lists any Pakistani professors Russell Group Professors 2007/08

25 further reading……… Racism and Education: coincidence or conspiracy? David Gillborn (2008) published by Routledge Book of the Year


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