Term ‘White Privilege’ Might Have Contributed to ‘Systemic Neglect’ of Poor White Pupils: Govt Report

ALTRINCHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Children of key workers take part in school activities at Oldfield Brow Primary School on April 08, 2020 in Altrincham, England. The government announced the closure of UK schools from March 20 except for the children of key workers, such as NHS staff, and vulnerable …
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A government committee has said that terms like “white privilege” may have contributed to a “systemic neglect” of poor white people, including children, who do not benefit from an “industry” of support systems that are readily available to ethnic minorities.

In a report published on Tuesday, Members of Parliament on the Education Committee agreed with the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities — which concluded in March that the UK is not a systematically racist country “rigged” against minorities — that terms like “white privilege” are “divisive”.

In the inquiry report, entitled: “The forgotten: how White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it”, MPs said they were “concerned that the phrase [white pivilege] may be alienating to disadvantaged White communities, and it may have contributed towards a systemic neglect of White people facing hardship who also need specific support.

“It was noted during our evidence hearings that a lot of children in these disadvantaged white communities aren’t aware of their own disadvantage. This is a problem. As a committee we believe that the use of terms such as ‘White Privilege’ doesn’t help this matter.”

Statistics shared in the report revealed the striking disparity between the academic progress of poor, white British pupils on the free school meals (FSM) programme who were found to be outperformed academically by black and almost all other minority groups also on FSM.

In terms of access to higher education (university), in 2018/19, the proportion of white British FSM-eligible pupils who had started university by the age of 19 was 16 per cent — the lowest of any other ethnic group apart from Gypsy/Roma or traveller of Irish heritage children, who, by definition, tend to live itinerant lifestyles.

‘White other’ pupils in the category had a participation rate of 37.2 per cent. Sixty-nine per cent black African and 31.8 per cent of black Caribbean FSM pupils also enrolled at university by the age of 19.

Meanwhile, Chinese heritage pupils eligible for free lunches were attending university at a rate of 72.8 per cent.

White children are also being let down at the other end of the developmental scale, with 47 per cent of FSM-eligible white British pupils not meeting the expected standard of development in their “early years” (aged to five) education.

“This is particularly striking because White people are the ethnic majority in the country, and most disadvantaged pupils are White,” the report remarked of the disparities.

The committee also described what it called an “industry” of support mechanisms that exist to support ethnic minorities which simply do not exist for poor white people, continuing: “This is coupled with the fact that there is an industry which has emerged to support these other groups in a form that isn’t available for disadvantaged white pupils.”

Authors of the report also criticised the Department for Education (DofE) and the “educational establishment” for having “fallen victim to muddled thinking” with regards to disadvantage, saying the DofE “must first acknowledge the extent of the problem and recognise that its current approach is not working” and “do more to support disadvantaged White families”.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP and the committee’s chairman, said: “Privilege is the very opposite to what disadvantaged white children enjoy or benefit from in an education system which is now leaving far too many behind.”

Mr Halfon continued: “For decades now white working-class pupils have been let down and neglected by an education system that condemns them to falling behind their peers every step of the way.

“White working-class pupils under-perform significantly compared to other ethnic groups, but there has been muddled thinking from all governments and a lack of attention and care to help these disadvantaged white pupils in towns across our country.

“If the government is serious about closing the overall attainment gap, then the problems faced by the biggest group of disadvantaged pupils can no longer be swept under the carpet.”

Grievance merchants who claim to be anti-racists denied that poor, white children are being let down while ethnic minority pupils in the same socio-economic bracket are excelling.

The self-described “black liberation” All Black Lives UK group — a splinter group of the Black Lives Matter UK which led many of the Marxist-inspired protests in the past year — claimed: “All white people have white privilege. If you do not understand that you are a racist. The UK government continues to gaslight black people and other people of colour and they have the cheek to say this country is not institutionally racist.”

But actor and Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox declared that “White Privilege is a myth. It’s a divisive lie peddled by those who seek to divide rather than unite. We must be colour blind if we wish to address inequality. Race hustlers are getting in the way of the overwhelming majority who want a fairer and more equal society.”

Journalist and former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney observed: “To all saying white people have never suffered as a direct result of their skin colour: The neediest white pupils have never been helped for 20+ years precisely because of their skin colour. Because the toxic myth of White Privilege became accepted as real.”

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