Institutional Racism In The Academy by Andrew Pilkington

LeftCentral Book Review 

Wall of Books

Copright Mr.T in DC

On April 22nd 1993, Stephen Lawrence was murdered, “Stephen was stabbed to death because he was black” this highly disturbing and incontrovertible finding emanates from a judicial inquiry, the Macpherson Report (1999), set up in 1997 to examine the flawed Police investigation into Stephen Lawrence`s murder. An investigation marred by a combination of factors most notably, “institutional racism” within the Police. As Professor Pilkington outlines the inquiry went further admitting that “institutional racism was rife in British Society”. Andrew Pilkington utilises institutional racism as a conceptual tool to investigate Midshire Police and Midshire University, an ambitious endeavour producing a stimulating book.

Pilkington unravels the thorny concept of institutional racism a term initially associated with Stokely Carmichael a Black Power critic of USA racial policy. There has been significant resistance in applying this concept to the UK, for example the Scarman Report (1981) rejected the notion. This reticence may be valid given the racial landscape that Carmichael/Hamilton surveyed in 1967, with its heritage of de facto and de jure racism, making direct comparison with the UK difficult. However, Pilkington quoting Carmichael illustrates that, “Institutional racism also has another name: colonialism” a concept in which British institutions are clearly not immune.  Read more of this post

Book Review:Changing Life Chances by Robin Richardson.

Peter D`Sena

Peter D`Sena

Peter D`Sena Discipline Lead History,Higher Education Academy

According to the Department for Education (DfE), almost 1.2 million children in England live in a lower-income household (as defined by eligibility for free school meals); and from that group only 27% of the 16-year olds achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE, compared with 54% of others.

No wonder the DfE in their Equality Impact Statement (2011) came to the enormously miserable and powerful conclusion that ‘we are clearly, as a nation, still wasting talent on a scandalous scale.  It is a moral failure and an affront to social justice’.  Using government documentation such as this Robin Richardson quickly and convincingly launches into this short book, showing us that we are living in a period when, paradoxical as it may seem because things are both getting better and worse at the same time, the achievement gap is growing wider between children.

The recent Equalities Act (2010) then comes under Richardson’s microscope and the result is a succinct, yet robust rationale for practitioners working in the field.  His effective argument is that to the Act’s nine protected characteristics of disability, ethnicity and race, gender, religion and so on, we should also add socio-economic inequality, brought through poverty, low income and social class.  And, just as a core principle of the Act is that ‘due regard’ is a necessity in order to carry its objectives into practice, so too should schools and individuals develop, demonstrate and practice ‘due regard’ in all they do in order to narrow the gap. Read more of this post


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