Black people are not automatically victims says Kemi Badeno

Black people are not automatically victims and white people not oppressors says Tory women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch as she insists school curriculums do not need ‘decolonising’

  • Kemi Badenoch has warned against decolonising of the school curriculum
  • Warned against teaching pupils about ‘white privilege’ and ‘inherited racial guilt’ 
  • Comes as schools are asked to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum and examine courses

Teaching pupils about ‘white privilege and their inherited racial guilt’ will see a ‘dangerous trend in race relations’, the women and equalities minister has warned.   

Speaking in the Commons debate on Black History Month, Kemi Badenoch called out ‘the teaching of contested political ideas as if they are accepted facts’ and ‘an ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression’. 

The Tory MP also warned against the decolonising of the curriculum for ‘the simple reason that it is not colonised’ and said schools teaching ‘elements of political race theory as fact’ were breaking the law.

Her comments come as schools and universities across the UK are urged to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum and examine their courses in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.   

Kemi Badenoch warned against the decolonising of the curriculum for ‘the simple reason that it is not colonised’

Ms Badenoch, who was responding to the Labour MP Dawn Butler’s calls to decolonise history, told MPs: ‘Our curriculum does not need decolonising for the simple reason that it is not colonised.

‘We should not apologise for the fact that British children primarily study the history of these islands, and it goes without saying that the recent fad to decolonise maths, decolonise engineering, decolonise the sciences that we’ve seen across our universities to make race the defining principle of what is studied is not just misguided but actively opposed to the fundamental purpose of education.

‘I want to speak about a dangerous trend in race relations that has come far too close to home in my life and it is the promotion of critical race theory – an ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression.

‘I want to be absolutely clear: this Government stands unequivocally against critical race theory.’ 

During her speech, Ms Badenoch added that the Black Lives Matter movement was ‘anti-capitalist’ and ‘political’.

She told MPs: ‘Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group – often fully aware that they have the statutory duty to be politically impartial.

‘Black lives do matter, of course they do, but we know that the Black Lives Matter movement – capital B, L, M – is political.

‘I know this, because at the height of the protest, I’ve been told of white Black Lives Matter protesters calling – and I apologise for saying this word – calling a black armed police officer guarding Downing Street a ‘pet n*****’.

‘That is why we do not endorse that movement on this side of the House. It is a political movement and what would be nice would be for members on the opposite side to condemn many of the actions that we see of this political movement, instead of pretending that it is a completely wholesome anti-racist organisation.

‘There is a lot of pernicious stuff that is being pushed and we stand against that.’ 

The Tory MP went on to say that schools that taught elements of political race theory were breaking the law.

She continued: ‘We do not want to see teachers teaching their pupils about white privilege and their inherited racial guilt.

‘And let me be clear, any school which teaches these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.

The Tory MP said schools teaching ‘elements of political race theory as fact’ were breaking the law.

Her comments come as schools and universities across the UK are urged to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement

Ms Badenoch was responding to the Labour MP Dawn Butler on the decolonising of the curriculum

‘But why does this issue mean so much to me? It is not just because I’m a first generation immigrant, it is because my daughter came home from school this month and said ‘we’re learning Black History Month because every other month is about white history’.

‘This is wrong and this is not what our children should be picking up. These are not the values I have taught her.’

During the debate, Conservative MP for Ipswich Tom Hunt told MPs that while he agreed that individuals who harbour racist views within key organisations needed to be ‘rooted out’, people should be ‘a little bit careful’ about using the term institutional racism.   

Mr Hunt also criticised some of the leadership figures of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement for ‘straying into cultural Marxism’.

Mr Hunt told MPs: ‘Touching upon current issues in the media, like other honourable members, I was appalled by the death of George Floyd. I was absolutely appalled.

‘But I would say I found it slightly disappointing… I think that the vast majority of people who have gone on the protests I think are well-meaning and I agree with (Tory MP Steve Baker) that we should listen to their strength of feeling and how they feel.

‘But I do think it is unfortunate that some of the leadership figures of BLM have at times strayed beyond what should be a powerful yet simple and unified message in opposition to racism that still exists in our society, straying into cultural Marxism, the abolition of the nuclear family, defunding the police, overthrowing capitalism.

‘So in some senses, I find it quite regretful that a message and an agenda that should have been used to unify at times has been allowed to become very divisive.

‘But ultimately it is our duty to make sure the right messages are learnt from that horrific incident, and I think it needs to be one of unity and moderation and looking to improve upon the situation we have today where we know that racism still exists.’

The Ipswich MP added: ‘I’d also, looking at a petition, like to be a little bit careful about the term institutional racism.

‘Yes, I think we need to be alive for the fact that there will be individuals who harbour racist views within key institutions, whether they be schools or the police, and they need to be rooted out.

‘But I think to smear an entire organisation as being institutionally racist, again I think is incredibly unhelpful and divisive.’ 

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