Equalities Minister calls out critical race theory in education
This week, educators at the DDU were delighted to hear Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch speak out against the unbalanced teaching of critical race theory in schools. In a stirring statement, Badenoch reminded teachers of their legal responsibility to uphold political neutrality in their work and condemned the growing trend for teaching politicized ideas as uncontested fact.
Badenoch challenged the divisive tenants of critical race theory, the concept of white privilege and the disturbing projection of inherited racial guilt onto young children, in addition to reminding educators that the Black Lives Matter movement is far from a politically neutral entity. Drawing on her own experiences growing up in Nigeria, Badenoch made a compelling case for the complexity involved in understanding the motives of historical figures and condemned suggestions that we should ‘improve’ history. As Badenoch put it, “You cannot improve history, you can only learn from it. What we can improve is the future.”
The Equalities Minister is particularly to be commended for signalling her respect for the values of free speech that are foundational to our society, stating with perfect clarity that: “Any school which teaches these elements of critical 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.” Critical race theory is only one, highly contested framework for understanding race and Badenoch argued that educators must respect the Political Neutrality clause of the 1996 Education Act by ensuring that it is taught as part of a balanced curriculum, giving weight to the full range of opinion on these issues. Political neutrality in teaching and a broad curriculum are vital if we wish to educate our young people to think critically, instead of merely indoctrinating them with the latest fashionable brand of political activism. DDU signatory Tarjinder Gill has produced this outstanding guide on political neutrality in teaching for readers who would like to learn more: Teacher Political Neutrality And Other Matters
The DDU are proud to have contributed evidence to the Equalities Minister on these topics and thank all our members who have bravely shared their experiences of the toxic impact of critical race theory on our schools and young people.
Met Police drop case against Darren Grimes
In July of this year Darren Grimes, a Conservative commentator, hosted a now infamous podcast with David Starkey. During the interview Starkey made rude and racially prejudiced remarks for which he has been rightly criticised, and which led to his dismissal from Cambridge and Canterbury Christ Church University. Grimes too has issued an apology, stating that he should have used greater journalistic integrity during the interview and challenged Starkey’s comments more robustly.
Last week, Grimes was shocked to find himself subject to potential arrest by the Met Police. They alleged that he could be guilty of an offence under the Public Order Act 1986 and that his interview with Starkey could be construed as incitement to racial hatred. The Met frequently claim that they are unable to investigate common crimes like burglary and car theft due to chronic underfunding, but they evidently have sufficient money and time to investigate thought crime.
Public figures including DDU signatories Andrew Doyle, Francis Foster and Konstantin Kisin spoke out in Grimes defence, arguing that police action against a journalist for something said by an interviewee was a clear violation of the principle of free speech and set a dangerous precedent that could chill public discourse on important and controversial topics. Darren was interviewed by Francis and Konstantin for the Triggernometry podcast where he clearly articulates the essential nature of free expression.
Thanks in part to the work of the Free Speech Union, Grimes announced this week that the Met have dropped their spurious investigation. The DDU are pleased that the Met have come to their senses and support Darren in his intention to seek clarification from CPS as to why this vexatious claim was allowed to go forward in the first place.
Inaya Folarin Iman shames prejudiced critics
In response to a prejudiced attack on the credibility of black commentators who speak out against critical race theory, DDU signatory Inaya Folarin Iman wrote this week about the arrogance and hypocrisy of those who practice divisive identity politics: ‘while demanding that wider society “uplift and amplify black voices”, race-identitarians try to suppress and denigrate those “black voices” that do not support their narrow worldview.’
With customary grace, Inaya shamed those who claim to speak for all black people and condemned the derogatory culture of deindividualizing ethnic minorities by reducing them to homogenous stereotypes based on skin colour. Evoking a sentiment that the DDU holds dear to its heart, Inaya called for the recognition of our shared humanity and an end to racialised division: ‘Among those who believe in universal humanism, on the left and the right, none of us should be playing this identitarian game of claiming to speak on behalf of this or that racial group…Only when we regard one another primarily as human beings can both race-based identity politics and traditional racism be defeated.’
We at the DDU share Inaya’s unifying vision and encourage everyone to support her work at The Equiano Project, an initiative seeking to break down conflict driven narratives and forge a new dialogue about race. https://www.theequianoproject.com/about
DDU founding signatory makes her maiden speech in House of Lords
Last but not least. . .
Claire Fox, a founding signatory of Don’t Divide Us, made freedom of speech and the need to challenge a growing climate of censoriousness a main theme in her inspiring maiden speech as Baroness of Buckley – congratulations Baronness!