Carrie Clark casts a critical DDU eye over three stories from the news this week – written before the appalling murder of Samuel Paty, which for now, we note, has met with a telling muted response from those who profess to be against fascistic violence, and for the right to challenge and criticise sacred cows. Our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and pupils.
Foodbank Charity Spends £62,000 on Diversity Director
This week, the Trussell Trust, a foodbank charity, placed an advertisement for a Director of Diversity and Inclusion. The lucky candidate will be paid £62,000 a year to ‘articulate complex concepts such as power, privilege, bias and intersectional injustice.’
Why is the Trussell Trust, a charity whose work has only become more vital since the Covid-19 pandemic began, endorsing the contentious language of critical race theory, intersectionality and the disproven idea that unconscious bias leads to racist acts? More to the point, why is it wasting valuable funds on employing someone to pontificate on these divisive, racialised ideologies when, as the advert itself points out, there’s been an 89% increase in families requiring emergency food assistance?
Intersectionality is a disputed academic discipline that defines people exclusively in terms of their immutable characteristics and insists that black and minority ethnic people be characterized solely as passive victims of oppression. Intersectional theory has given new life to the bigotry of low expectations.
Under the intersectional framework, white people are identified as the beneficiaries of undeserved ‘power’ and ‘privilege,’ words the Trussell Trust use prominently in their advertisement. We at the DDU wonder how poverty-stricken white families who find themselves forced to rely on Trussell Trust foodbanks will react to learning that they have ‘white privilege’ and are oppressing their black and minority ethnic friends and neighbours purely by virtue of their existence. Little research has been done on the impacts of critical race ideology, but one solid finding is that training in ‘white fragility’ has no impact on empathy for black and minority ethnic people but does reduce empathy for white people from low socio-economic backgrounds. After learning about intersectionality, people are more likely to see poverty-stricken whites as lazy, failing to utilise their supposed ‘white privilege.’[i] Is this really the ideology that the Trussell Trust wants to place at the heart of its work?
For £62,000, the Trussell Trust could have covered the weekly food expenses of over 1000 needy families, regardless of their skin colour. That’s 1000 families going hungry so that the Trust can signal its allegiance to identity politics.
We at the DDU believe that people in poverty should be supported regardless of their race. The job of the Trussell Trust is to feed hungry people, not engage in divisive racial naval gazing that assigns virtue according to skin colour.
Teaching White Privilege Disadvantages Working Class pupils – White and Black
Following the comments of Professor Matthew Goodwin to the Education Select Committee this week, DDU signatory Calvin Robinson wrote powerfully about the disastrous impact of teaching critical race theory in schools.
Calvin points out that white working-class boys have consistently worse educational outcomes than their black and minority ethnic peers, suggesting that ‘white privilege’ is a less influential factor in attainment than public discourse would have us believe. Even worse, he laments the bigotry of low expectations that now seems to pervade our education system:
‘There’s an irony too in the way that CRT, in the name of anti-racism, also contrives to hold back disadvantaged black youngsters. How can we expect children from non-white backgrounds to aspire in school if they are being fed a constant narrative of victimhood which tells them that their odds of success are slim to non-existent and that the racist society of which they are a part will never allow them to attain their ambitions?’
The DDU supports Calvin in his fight to see every child valued, regardless of race, and have put together a fantastic set of school resources for teachers seeking an alternative to critical race theory. As Calvin puts it, ‘The beauty of being British is that it’s inclusive. It’s more than a nationality, it’s a people with a common culture.’ We couldn’t agree more Calvin.
History and the Current Context
Several articles this week expose the dangers of rewriting history by tearing down public monuments and ‘decolonizing’ museums without public debate. Following the desecration of Winston Churchill’s statue during the Black Lives Matter protests, any number of historical figures have been threatened with erasure from the public square for holding views we disagree with today. The DDU finds this process quite literally Orwellian. We are condemning to the memory hole vital parts of our national history.
This week Admiral Nelson came under fire. Despite having only a tangential connection to the slave trade and having lost an eye and an arm in defence of Britain, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich plans to recontextualise their Nelson exhibit in order to acknowledge Nelson’s opposition to the abolition of slavery.Telling a fuller historical story is one thing, but this is happening at a time when cultural elites in Britain are too willing to position British history as uniquely monstrous and to erase historical figures for holding views we disagree with today. This is deeply damaging to our understanding of history, and risks sowing resentment among people, black and white, who can acknowledge the progress that has been made since the 19th century. We can acknowledge the grave moral failings of the past without decontextualising our history.
At the DDU, we wonder what views we hold today that our descendants will one day condemn us for. We hope our great grandchildren won’t erase us from the history books for failing to meet the standards of a society we will never see but will, nonetheless, have helped to build. The DDU are supporting the Save our Statues campaign and encourage everyone who values unity above division to do the same. https://saveourstatues.org.uk/