‘Stop and Search’ – Our Classrooms

The universe is compelling me to write.

Stop and Search.jpg

In 2010-11 You were six times more like to be stopped and searched if you are a young black male. Being six times more likely to be stopped and searched based on the colour of your skin is abhorrent.

But Pran, Life is better now it’s 2019…

Random teacher

This ratio increased to 8.4 times in 2018.

When the Macpherson report (20 years ago) stated that the metropolitan police are ‘institutionally racist’. These figures were half as many.

Racism is on the decline. Things are getting better. Right?

Same Random teacher

Unsurprisingly, you are more likely to stopped search in a less diverse area. Dorset and Suffolk topped the scales with ratios 25.6 and 17.8. I’m going to say that again,

You are 25.6 more likely to stopped and searched in Dorset and 17.8 times more likely in Suffolk; if you are black than if you are white!

Pran Patel

The effect of disproportionate negative impact where you have lower numbers of people of colour is echoed in education, I write about the Gollem effect here.

 

Also, let me make clear you are less likely to carry drugs if you are black. There is no reason this should be happening. The literature also states that an increase in stop and search has no discernible impact on knife crime.

As for the use of weapons searches, the evidence is clear: increases in the use of stop and search do not lead to any discernible drop in violent crime.

Micheal Shiner

Stop and search is racist, yes I said it, stop and search is a systemic tool, which is disproportionately used by the establishment (kyriarchy) to disadvantaged PoC.

Used as an antibiotic to a resistant infection, stop and search is overly prescribed to the detriment of its own effectiveness, squandering police time and energy that could otherwise be expended on protecting the wider community.

David Lammy

‘Nobody wins when stop and search is misapplied. It is a waste of police time. It is unfair, especially to young, black men. It is bad for public confidence in the police.’

Theresa May

The statement was justified by our former prime minister with the finding that 27% of incidents in 2014 did not contain grounds to stop and search (although senior officers had authorised them). As we increase these powers, I fear we will see more of the same.

I write this as a man of colour who has endured/witnessed the indignity of being stopped and searched. The only thing I learned from that experience is we live in a world where there are people who care, and their people want to exert their power upon others. I was below those officers that day because of the colour of my skin; the power structures were made very clear. I was just playing the role of who I was expected to be.

What does that do to the psyche of a young man? Living a society in which you belittled because you look ‘dodgy’ because you look different, you deserve to be treated as less.

Parallels in Education

Teachers aren’t racist. There isn’t a teacher in the country who would regard themselves as racist.

Random Teacher 

I’d agree, with would also hope that there isn’t a police officer in the country would regard themselves as racist either. The individual label of ‘racist’ is pointless and damaging to equity (future blog coming0.

The national statistics are clear. The damage that has and is being done is clear.

A British black Caribbean boy with SEND is 168 more likely to be excluded that a British white girl without SEND. To compound this, you are twice as to be diagnosed with a SEMH needs (there is a statistical significance when factors such as social-economic, etc. are accounted for)

“Black Caribbean children may be suffering an inappropriate and narrowed curriculum, from unwarranted over-identification, particularly [in] secondary schools.

“This might mean they get less academically challenging, more vocationally orientated work perhaps,” he said, “like being shifted from maths to motor maintenance, or experience a lowered expectation of what they can do.

“From the factors that we have measured – socio-economic background, poverty and neighbourhood deprivation, and children’s development on entry to school – we can’t explain why, in particular, black Caribbean children and mixed-black-Caribbean-and-white children are more likely to be diagnosed with SEMH.”

Professor Strand

Is this unconscious bias at work? The question we should be asking is, why are we making choices that lead to these national figures?

Whether this is conscious or unconscious is irrelevant.

I have written about the impact of the Pygmalion and the Gollum impact here with regards to pupils of colour. Simply put, pupils conform to what people expect of them. Are we part of the cause of the disproportionate exclusion lower achievement and ultimately the system which propagates this as the status quo?

Please do reflect on the question ‘What do you ‘actually’ expect from your pupils’?

Things we can do as Educators

1.    Admit you are biased; without this recognition, you are likely causing harm.

3.    Analyse your behaviour records and act accordingly, which groups are receiving which sanctions? After working with a school in London, black pupils were often receiving the behaviour consequence of defiance from staff. Since the introduction of ‘words, not tone’, there has been a significant fall in the numbers and anecdotally ‘pupil-teacher relationships are much better’.

“Is it that these young people from these ethnic groups are more confrontational with their teachers because of gang culture or is it a perception of their behaviour?

“It’s important for schools to look at their policies and see that there isn’t anything that would cause a systematic bias in the way special needs and SEMH is identified.”

Professor Strand

3.    Analyse your biases. Teacher assess where you think your pupils are then blind mark your assessments (or even better swop with a colleague) and then compare. (We know pupils of colour are often disadvantaged as their teacher think they are below where they are. link). Then act to change your expectations.

 

References

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/13/racial-bias-police-stop-and-search-policy-black-people-report

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/apr/30/theresa-may-reform-police-stop-and-search-powers

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/13/stop-and-search-is-unjust-unfair-ineffectual-david-lammy

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47240580

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Guest Post: Teacher Ear

This is a guest post, well sort of…

As I am not supposed to be posting over the summer, I’m allowing people to catch up.

Today I’m posting something different. Darren Chetty’s ‘Beyond the Secret Garden’ at The Royal Opera House #ThrivingChild Conference is below. Chetty explores issues around identity and representation as they relate to how children thrive at ‘The Thriving Child’

He literally moved me to tears, tears which should have been cried years ago.

 

Change is in your hands. One teacher, one lesson and one pupil at a time.

 

No Outsiders:​ Our Strength

After the recent news around Anderton Park School in my native West Midlands. Protests against the Birmingham school’s equalities education. Protesters, most of them Muslim, moved on to Anderton Park after other schools nearby dropped their “no outsiders” LGBT education programme.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-47738863/school-lgbt-teaching-row-what-is-in-the-no-outsiders-books-that-sparked-protests

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/sarah-hewitt-clarkson-headteacher-anderton-park-primary-school-birmingham/

I feel compelled to write something.

I will not use the argument that those in glass houses should not throw stones. Marginalised groups have a right to protest whatever their views; this should not impinge on their rights.

My message is one of solidarity, this is not a simple case of I like this, but I don’t like this. All discrimination is a product of systemic problem, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. These are all derived from a system which ‘other’ groups to keep the majority together.

All collectives are doomed to fail (Von Mises).

Collectives cannot create meaning. Individuals create their meaning within the group. Remember, all collectives are a group of individuals.

As a Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, I like all football fans want my football club to succeed. However, there are apparent differences between fans. Some will wish success at any means others will favour the quality of football over everything. The way all collectives stay together is through the process of othering. Othering provides the premise that all ‘decent’ people would be part of our collective and therefore provides meaning to the whole.

Your choice is clear, you either support the freedoms of all or you support the same system which oppresses us all. Through the othering of groups, we make all of our struggles more difficult.

Your choice is clear, you either support the freedoms of all or you support the same system which oppresses us all. Through the othering of groups, we make all of our struggles more difficult. Click To Tweet

The Logo is available here for free. Please do share, retweet and show your solidarity.

The No Outsider resources are here.

Fighting the Norm #NotMyAriel

Here is one of the many dangers of having an ethnocentric curriculum.

If we live in a world which constantly assures you that you are the norm. I have asked educators to complete a similar this task previously.

Think about the last 5 people you mentioned in the stories in your lessons, people you credited, people who wrote the books you are reading,

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

Now remove all the people that are men, then all who are white, heterosexual, middle class, able-bodied, etc. Who are you left with? I will not accept that less than 20% of the world population (white) have contributed so largely to the sum of all human knowledge that this would warrant these proportion of our curriculum and wider society.

With the wider media also being whitewashed, through poor representation and the white saviour and magical negro tropes. All of these factors lead to those racialised as white expecting they are the norm.

This was called out by Star Wars actor John Boyega,

“There are no black people on Game of Thrones,”

“You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings.”

With the same argument with a fan, George RR Martin responded with.

georgerrmartin.png

This is fiction, if you can write about ice zombies, resurrections and red witches. I’m sure you can write about people of colour. Unless you’re saying that in your made-up world with your made-up population you’ve chosen to make it wildly white supremacist. It also begs the question of the inclusion of people of colour at all, who are, as usual, depicted as rape loving savages. The Dothraki are portrayed as a savage uncivilised horde who need to rescued and civilised by a saviour.

So, the #NotMyAriel hashtag trended, with the most ridiculous arguments around melanin and exposure to sunlight, etc. This is the problem, if you see your face in everything, you will ‘other’ everybody else and when presented with alternatives to your truth and the knowledge you are taught. People may reject them as out of hand because of course, they’re superior in their knowledge and truth. Superior.

I’m going to leave you with a little bit about mermaids (and their like). This is a picture of the Matsya Bhagwaan the first avatar of Vishnu. Who appears in the Matsya Purana (as well as various other text) which was written around 2000 years ago.

220px-Matsya_avatar.jpg

 

 

Reference

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danidiplacido/2017/07/19/john-boyega-criticizes-game-of-thrones-for-lack-of-diversity/#7aba84c9137c

Anti Racism Vs Representation

This is a summer post, I know I was going to let people catch up with reading over the summer. I’m writing this after the announcement that Boris Johnson has become the UK’s new prime minister and he has included a Hindu, a Muslim and a Jew into the great offices of state.

boriscrew.png

How we are seen determines in part how we are treated; how we treat others is based on how we see them; such seeing comes from representation.

(Dyer 1993: 1) in Gilbourn 2000

I have already seen people comment that this diversity is something to be applauded and to be completely fair, this is a more diverse set of people. Similar parallels were made with respect to Obama in the US. However, this means very little. I have also heard in our own field that sexism cannot exist as our current headteacher is a woman… discourse is important.

‘Not only is discourse always implicated in power, discourse is one of the ‘systems through which power circulates’

Hall 1992a: 294, original emphasis in Gilbourn 2000

Representation is a small incremental step towards equity. Nobody has ever said that oppression can be dispelled by individual acts. I will state what racism actually is. Acts of violence, discrimination and white solidarity are symptoms of the root cause of this oppression, this is the power structures and through the will of those to protect the status quo.

Racism is systemic oppression decided on the basis of race, the lines of power flow from oppressor to oppressed. By systemic oppression, I mean health care, judicial service, education, employment, etc. (reference the world or various previous blogs).

Racism is systemic oppression decided on the basis of race, the lines of power flow from oppressor to oppressed. By systemic oppression, I mean health care, judicial service, education, employment, etc.  Click To Tweet

The appointment of these people above may be a gesture in the right direction but it serves no purpose when the faced with these structures. Yes, representation is important, however, if having a melanated person in role serves only to discriminate against people of colour, the vessel is yet another force which maintains the status quo regardless of its colour.

Sajid Javid: In his role as Home Secretary removed the citizenship of a British born woman of colour leaving her stateless. The same was and has not been done to scores of white British fighters. This along with his refusal to call Donald Trump racist after his now-famous  ‘sent her back’ speech.

Priti Patel: This former disgraced has repeated against the 2013 Same-Sex couples marriage bill. Her work with foreign aid is interesting…

Dominic Raab: Until February 2018, was a member of British Ultra Liberal Youth facebook group which advocated that those in debt be sent to the workhouses.

Gilbourn states that when talking about equality, deracialisation (the removal of specific words) should only be employed when race is not genuinely implicated in the issues at stake.

Having read the above 3 statements, is the race of the members here really implicated in the issues at stake? The issues being systemic oppression.

image

The test is simple, do these actions lead to the oppression of people? If your answer yes then it is a problem rather than a godsend.

What do we do?

  1. Stop linking racism or any other oppression to individual act, think systemically and about structure.
  2. Shout the above statement to every single person in the range, people need to understand that the representation simply serves to fog efforts to redress the balance.
  3. Disrupt the discourse. The discourse, in this case, a systematic tool for oppression.
  4. Use your power to support those who are underprivileged, whether that is by making sure you cite their work when you use it, or offering to support them.
The test is simple, do these actions lead to the oppression of people? If your answer yes then it is a problem rather than a godsend. Click To Tweet

References

Gilbourn 2000 Racism and Anti Racism in Real School. Chapter 2.

 

TedXNorwichED: Decolonise the Curriculum

IMG_5290

The reason I’m Mr Patel the school teacher and not Pran Patel the famous scientist is because of one question I could not answer on my first day at university.

 

But to help me understand why I did not have the answer back then, I went back into the school system I grew up in – the British school system – to see it from a teacher’s perspective, and then a school leader’s perspective, and as a curriculum lead and mental health advocate…

 

I’m from a working-class town in the Midlands and I was blessed with a great upbringing and an amazing family structure so I learnt and learnt and learnt everything my teachers had to teach me and then went onto university. My first lecture was on quantum physics.

 

…and this lecture included ideas, thoughts, and provocations on the advancement of knowledge.

 

But in today’s TALK we are going to deconstruct the knowledge that is taught in British schools so that TOGETHER we can find a better way to reconstruct it.

 

This conversation matters for all current teachers, all future teachers and anyone who has or will ever be educated in the British school system. So that only about 66, 67 million people, and counting.

 

Here we go!

 

What is knowledge?

 

What do we accept as knowledge?

 

And the question I couldn’t answer…

 

What have Indians ever done for the advancement of human knowledge?

 

Another student asked me this in our friendly chat after our first lecture. Before he asked, he just wanted to check one thing, ‘Is your dad Indian?’ He said. I said yea. This doesn’t rub off.

 

I shook off that question to answer the other one on knowledge. I thought I’ve got this:

 

‘I’m pretty sure Mahatma Gandhi is /’ ‘No no no no no,’ he said. ‘Gandhi was an activist…’

 

he repeated the question for me:

 

‘How have YOU Indians ever contributed to the sum of human knowledge?’

 

The answer was not obvious to this white-British student at a British university.

 

And it wasn’t obvious to me a British-Indian student on a physics course.

 

Because I didn’t have an answer, I felt ashamed of who I was. I thought it meant I couldn’t contribute to human knowledge, no matter how much I wanted to.

 

To this day I have never felt more Inferior.

 

Is this what education is for?

 

I was 18 years old product of the British school system. The only people I could think of who had contributed to the sum of human knowledge were white and British, perhaps European origin

 

It was like there had been no other players.

 

Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Tesla, Galileo.

 

I knew what scientists like these had contributed like the back of my hand. I could talk about them all day. But ask me what people who looked like me had contributed…

I knew what scientists like these had contributed like the back of my hand. I could talk about them all day. But ask me what people who looked like me had contributed… Click To Tweet

 

 

I had nothing to draw on.

 

If we agree that this isn’t right and that the purpose of our education system is much more… we have work to do…

 

If we say ‘No! This is not what education is for!’ Then we have work to do.

 

The thing is…

 

Saying to teachers ‘we have work to do!’ (no matter how much energy I put into those words) – it’s like asking footballers to juggle as they run. We are flat out already. I get it. The BBC have literally interviewed me about the anxiety, sleeplessness and depression that seem to come with this amazing job. Like a whole range of anti-bonuses!

 

What I say to teachers is…

 

Make changes that inspire you.

 

Because when you do that you get energy. When you do something because you believe it is right and you see the difference it makes for your students, everything else becomes a little bit easier.

 

I’m calling this project ‘Decolonise the Curriculum’ and to make it easy for everyone I’m going to tell you about some great scientists I think all British students should know about too…

 

Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman: Indian. Ever wonder why the sea is blue? These scientists did and he discovered why. His discovery became the well known the Raman effect and this earned him a Nobel Prize for Physics.

 

Flossie Wong-Staal: An Asian immigrant to the US, in the during 1980s AIDS epidemic, became the first person to clone HIV and genetically map the virus, a critical step in developing blood tests for the virus

 

Charles Richard Drew, This African American doctor was the first to create a blood bank during world war 2 and his work and expertise in plasma preservation is still used today.

 

It’s time for British schools to acknowledge and celebrate all the players in the game of advancing human knowledge.

 

I first realised how easy it was to uncover all this hidden knowledge about where our knowledge has come from right after that conversation on my first day at university.

 

Instead of following all the other students to the pub,

 

I went to the library.

 

Get this, there I learnt that ‘zero’ was discovered in India in the 6th or 7th century and that changed everything. Our number system (12345) is Hindu-Arabic and it was introduced to Europe through the writings of Middle Eastern mathematicians. Who were they? I found out.

 

I hope you see how easy it would be to mention this in school, at home, wherever. I mean, teachers had only been teaching me maths since I was 5 years old!

 

What I want to leave you with is news that the work to decolonise the curriculum has already started.

 

Researchers and teachers are becoming uncomfortably aware of how white our Literature curriculum is and how nationalistic the History we teach is. It’s time to acknowledge the valuable contributions from all nationalities in the wider curriculum too.

Researchers and teachers are becoming uncomfortably aware of how white our Literature curriculum is and how nationalistic the History we teach is. It’s time to acknowledge the valuable contributions from all nationalities in the wider… Click To Tweet

One teacher, one lesson, one classroom at a time we can decolonise the curriculum.

 

Just think about it. You could be teaching the next Raman, Wong-Staal or Drew.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Will to Change

Written by @CarrieStarbucks

When Pran Patel explained his main drive to create HeforSheEd was to provide a platform for male allyship to gender equality within education and asked if I would write an article on the topic, I was like Bambi’s mother caught in headlights.

 I do not have a clue what male allyship looks like. The #metoomovement has changed everything; men are walking a tightrope and women have taken away the safety net of their silence. It has thrown the whole system out of sync and we are scurrying around like rats in a maze trying to find the centre. I do, however, know what male allyship does not look like.

On International Women’s Day, Head of Content at TES, Ed Dorrell, wrote about his ‘mea culpa on how, despite 74% of teachers being women, the majority of their external contributors are male, and I’m willing to bet, white, middle-to-upper-class males at that.  

In fairness, Ed Dorrell addresses the lack of female writers could be down to his unconscious bias in the opening lines of the article but soon dismisses it because, “if the words are golden, the argument is strong, and the article adds to one of the many debates that engulf education,” it doesn’t matter to him. Ah, if only women were more talented it would make his ‘passive gender blindness’ so much easier, I can hear him sigh.

It also acknowledged that women may have less time to write because although they are strong, intelligent women responsible for shaping future generations, they are after all, still domestic servants with duties at home. The TES team muse that men are more likely to put themselves forward than women and in their busy 24-hour-news-cycle environment they want quick opinion pieces, from well, those that have the guts to put themselves forward.

The message is clear; women are solely responsible for changing an inherently sexist institution and we are the merciful patriarchs opening the doors for you to finally join our little boy’s club. 

 Click To Tweet

Dorrell’s ‘idea of no excuses’ and a promise to seek out talented female writers, may have just about saved the day, but it was quickly demolished by a thoughtless tweet from one of his teammates calling for women to get in touch, which once again proves the belief that the political football of achieving gender equality is firmly at the feet of women.

 That, coupled with the fact the TES team had to suddenly create submission guidelines following the response, shows they had given little thought on what their supposed call for change actually looked like.

While I have no doubt the intentions behind the article were good, it doesn’t detract from the fact it was a clumsy, ill-thought-out, see-through attempt to jump on the bandwagon of female empowerment on International Women’s Day.

That is not allyship. That is men flouting their dominance in the disguise of being charitable patriarchs.

Of course, there is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, exasperation to all this. I get it. I’m tired too. The men in my life often say they feel like they are walking on eggshells, desperate to not offend, eager to help but are unsure what the rules are now. And I, like many women since #metoo and #timesup, feel a rage that has been suppressed for years bubble uncontrollably over, which makes conversations about allyship difficult.

I’m not perfect either and recently, I have been acting like a bull in a china shop. I am an intersectional feminist. This is such an integral part of my identity I’m pretty sure my heart beats to the rhythm of the saying, “your feminism isn’t feminism unless it’s intersectional.”

But yet, I am researching masculinity in men’s mental health. I am asked almost daily, “why men?”I carry with me the most cutting remark I have ever received, like a broken shield on my back, “when you’re done, have a look at women yeah?”It’s hardly abusive but the acidic accusation of betrayal drips from every syllable and burns my skin.

When I stumble over my words to explain why I choose to focus on men’s mental health, I have

Bell Hooks’ words echo in my ears;

“We were the feminists who could not be trusted because we cared about the fate of men.” 

I may get that tattooed on my arse.

The thing is, the deep divide between the sexes and our subsequent muddled attempts to come together, is something like Harry Potter’s he-who-shall-not-be-named. We rarely discuss it. We give it many names – sexism, chauvinism, misogyny– but we rarely recognise that it creates victims of both men and women. We never name it for what it truly is. But like Harry naming it diminishes its power; Lord Voldemort, The Patriarchy.

Or if we really want go in hard, imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

The words may feel heavy, unnatural, even radical; reserved for the man-hating, bra-burning of the 1960s. My alienation from the word is why I have been making a conscious effort to use patriarchy over other terms such as sexism. I do this because words like sexism is so closely aligned with the female experience that it can be easily dismissed by men as irrelevant to them, which is at the heart of the problem of male allyship. The Patriarchy is a male problem as much as it is a feminine one.

 The Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists males are inherently dominant and powerful. Patriarchal thinking shapes the values of our culture and we are socialised into this system, females as well as, males. Patriarchy with its rigid gender roles demands of men that they become and remain emotionless, which is deeply harmful to not only their emotional development but how they form relationships and is that not the source of happiness – fulfilling relationships from best friends to lovers?

Patriarchy imprisons men in a system that undermines their mental health, and ultimately, patriarchy brainwashes men to believe domination over others is a privilege, a privilege they do not want to or cannot give up.

That is why despite the many gains we have achieved – greater equality of women in the workforce, same-sex marriage, and more tolerance for the relinquishing of rigid gender roles – patriarchy, as a system, remains intact.

The press is full of ‘crisis in masculinity’ headlines and pundits like Piers Morgan, claim women have gone too far in their demands and trying to take power away from men. Much like Carol Dweck’s, Growth Mindset, workshops to help boys and men escape the ‘man box’ are the latest ticket in town with a fancy price tag to match.

The crisis facing men is not the crisis of masculinity, it is the crisis of patriarchal masculinity. Until we can make this distinction clear, men will continue to perceive any critique of the patriarchy as a threat and any attempts of change will be met with fear.

Until we can collectively acknowledge the damage the patriarchy causes and the suffering it creates, we cannot change.

Until men realise that they must save themselves from their own oppression, we cannot change.

Until we realise the two perspectives of men as oppressors and that people are people who are all hurt by rigid sex roles, coexist, the sooner we can begin to work together to dismantle a system that harms us all.

Allyship won’t even be a thing, it will be just people coming together with the indestructible will to change.

_________________________________________________

 

From @CarrieStarbuck. If you would like to support Carrie’s work researching men’s mental health and her writing then please do consider becoming a Patreon from as little as $1 or 77p per month.

White Saviour Complex / Syndrome / Trope Part 3

White Saviour in the Curriculum

Part 1 and part 2 can be found hereand here. First, let me thank you for engaging with this content, to willingly put yourself in a position that challenges your mindset and encourages growth is simply brave.

This 3 part blog now leads me to the curriculum, both implicit and explicit. I will reiterate my mantra and call to ‘Decolonise the Curriculum‘ the only reason teachers are so misinformed and propagate these inconsistencies about African/BAME poverty and thus a superiority over people of colour is because they were taught by and still are taught by a system to do so.

Do we really teach pupils about the truth? Whose truth? Whose world? Whose World history? What is the impact of the of this?

Activity 1

Who discovered the Americas?

Who discovered Australia?

If you’re tempted to answer with a couple of white European men. I would point out that civilisation lived in these places long before any European set eyes on them. Yet, even I am tempted to answer and know the stories of Cook and Columbus well.

With my own schooling and my experience of many schools as an adult is that very little is taught about the British empire and its consequent legacy.

Myself, mother, father, both sets of grandparents their parents, were all British subjects/citizens.

If I asked you who were the British Subjects? How did the freedom of movement work post and pre-war? How many of us would be able to answer from our education at school?

If I asked you who were the British Subjects? How did the freedom of movement work post and pre-war? How many of us would be able to answer from our education at school? Click To Tweet

I would posit that many of you fall into the ‘better off’ and ‘proud bars’ in the charts below. Which is absolutely fine.

I would, however, direct you to the following:

‘At the beginning of the 18th Century, India’s share of the world economy was 23%, as large as all of Europe put together. By the time the British departed India, it had dropped to less than 4%. (From the BBC)

 India’s famines during the Raj: Between 1770 and 1947, the oppressed suffered at least 11 major ones and many minor ones, resulting in 35 million deaths. For comparison, Stalin’s purge killed 25 million, Mao’s Cultural Revolution killed 45 million, and World War II killed 55 million. (Quartz and Shashi Tharoor)

How can we be sure that the British were to blame for those hunger deaths? Simple. There’s been no major famine in India since independence. Worse still, the British notion at the time was that governmental interference to prevent a famine was a bad idea. The Economist, for instance, attacked an official for letting Indians think “it is the duty of the government to keep them alive.” (The Canadian author, Malcolm Gladwell)’

When I normally deliver a ‘Decolonise the Curriculum’ session this is the point where I see the realisation that we may have been sold solely one view of the world and simultaneously fragility rises – this ‘bearded brown man must be lying’. This shouldn’t be a surprise that we are all prone to fragility we are after all unpicking a lifetime of learning.

How do we move away from these experiences that we have been indoctrinated with through our formative years and our adulthood? This starts with awareness and then to active allyship and finally to becoming an accomplice.

On to things we can actually change today.

  1. Accept that you are biased (as teachers we need to accept this to ameliorate the impact).
  2. Accept this has come from a system that iteratively pushes toxic associations into our minds. We are part of this system.
  3. As educators, we have the power to change minds and society as we know it as a whole. It starts in your classrooms.
  4. Interrogate your thinking and consequent actions.

Here is a previous blog which sums up Decolonising the Curriculum for you to start unpicking. Now let’s go a step further in recognising some of the toxic associations that are prevalent within our schools. I will provide some examples here but it would be much more effective if teachers questioned their own thinking before propagating these types of toxic (and obviously false) associations,

  1. Black people in Africa are all poor and starving.
  2. Black people are more likely to commit a crime.
  3. Immigrants are arriving in their masses and contribute very little to society.
  4. All terrorists are brown and/or Muslim.
  5. Gang members are poor and black.
  6. Gangs are prevalent in London and no other city in the UK.
  7. Knife crime is associated with gangs.
  8. There are jobs for women and there are jobs for men.

In Conclusion: Things to do

  1. When talking about charity work, think about what you are sharing and consider why you are doing what you are doing?
  2. Remove the fallacy of poor starving children of colour from your consciousness. Stop propagating this mythical sense of superiority. No more band-aid style assemblies, please.
  3. Call out white saviour in films and the wider media when you see it.
  4. Consider decolonising your curriculum.

References

TW: Assault. NDAs – Tools for Oppression

Come with me on this journey, you’re a teacher who breaks through the doors of a science prep room at the end of a hard day and a colleague (a woman of colour) is bent over, cowering in the corner. She is physically shaken. Marks on her hands and wrists, in fits of tears. Let me set the scene, she is 5 ft tall and with a petite frame around half the size of my own.

TW: Assault. Come with me on this journey, you're a teacher who breaks through the doors of a science prep room at the end of a hard day and a colleague (a woman of colour) is bent over, cowering in the corner. Click To Tweet

She is inconsolable, the headteacher had come into the department to find her after she asked for external representation, he’d started by grabbing her hands trying to get a hold of her paperwork, he apparently thought it was advice from her union. What she then went on to describe was simply abuse, I will not go into further details.

She was visibly distraught, after being attacked, yes attacked is the right word. A female deputy head enters into the room and asked what has happened? I’m sitting next to her thinking this isn’t helping.

My colleague had already told me what had happened. Now, she was being gaslighted by a member of senior staff who wasn’t in the room. When my colleague went to reach for the phone to call for help (the police) the female deputy placed herself in front of the phone.

That was the last time I saw my colleague.

I urged her to fight that afternoon, as an old union representative this felt like my duty. This was, in fact, my own privilege talking, as for me there is nothing more important than fighting for justice there were no other considerations.

She called me the day later, she said nothing but:

“Please don’t say anything to anyone Pran, I won’t get any money, if anyone does, I can’t afford for this to drag out. I’m a good teacher, hopefully, I’ll get another job before I run out of money”.

Yes, later she signed the non-disclosure agreement because she had very little choice. Nothing happened to that headteacher, no reprimands, no assault charges, nothing. In this case, a headteacher had power over a vulnerable woman of colour. This is not justice. This is oppression. An example of insidious systemic oppression where a middle-class white man can physically attack a woman of colour and still have the power to silence her without fear of any consequences.

Although to this day I wished she would have fought. She could not.

TW: Assault. There are ways of gathering evidence around the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements. It may be the right time to work out who is using them. Click To Tweet

My current thinking: There are ways of gathering evidence around the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements. It may be the right time to work out who are using them. I for one would not like to be working in an organisation that is using them prevalently. Why would a school leader need a non-disclosure agreement is beyond me, we are teachers and leaders ultimately charge with the welfare of children.

Those days are over. Misogyny, racism and classism may be alive and well in our society but we, together, are now much better placed to fight them.

 

Please do not assume the identity of the school, I have worked in, consulted and visited hundreds of schools over the last 15 years.

Guide: What is Male Allyship?

From: Claire Nicholls @Bristol_teacher

Also posted here https://heforsheed.co.uk/2019/02/18/what-is-male-allyship/

Seriously if you aren’t following the writing of @Bristol_teacher. I cannot recommend it enough.

What do Women want from Male Allies?

Well, what this woman wants.

I can’t speak for all women, but when Pran asked me to write something about male allyship, I jumped at the chance because it’s been something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

I’ve written a little about men before, here and here, but this post is specifically, as asked, about what men can do to be good allies to women. Much of it also applies to other marginalised groups, but I’m staying in my lane here.

So, this is what I want:

Recognise that women aren’t all the same

This sounds obvious. However, it’s clear that most feminism centres around middle class white women. I’m not saying some of those campaigns aren’t hugely valuable, but understand that trans women, women of colour, poor women, disabled women (etc) face more complex issues than others. Wherever you can, support these women. You can learn more about intersectionality by watching Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Ted Talk.

I'm not saying some of those campaigns aren't hugely valuable, but understand that trans women, women of colour, poor women, disabled women (etc) face more complex issues than others. Wherever you can, support these women. Click To Tweet

Magnify our voices

Women don’t get adequate recognition for their ideas and labour (source: the whole of history). If you read a great book by a woman, share it. If you know a woman who is an expert in a certain field, recommend her. See a great tweet by a woman? You can simply retweet it. Not quote tweet it, with your ideas added, but retweeting the original tweet. Even just adding “this 👇🏻” means that you’re generating traffic for your own tweet rather than hers.

If you read a great book by a woman, share it. If you know a woman who is an expert in a certain field, recommend her. See a great tweet by a woman? You can simply retweet it.. Click To Tweet

Give up some of your platforms

This is a tough one. But sitting on an all-male panel legitimises it, no matter how much you later say it was a shame there weren’t any women involved. The more you take action, the more the message gets out. If you notice you’re one of several men asked to do something, ask if they’ve considered asking a woman. If you’re organising an event, ask women to be an equal part. If you don’t know any women who are experts in the field, ask around. Organisations like Women Ed can help.

But sitting on an all-male panel legitimises it, no matter how much you later say it was a shame there weren't any women involved. The more you take action, the more the message gets out. Click To Tweet

Don’t take it personally 

I’m white. Unpacking my whiteness has been, and continues to be uncomfortable. I’ve often felt defensive. But in order to strive to be an ally, I need to do this. I imagine it’s the same for men striving to be good allies to women. You’re going to feel attacked. You’re going to want to defend yourself as different and distant from the toxic masculinity that women like me talk about. Please understand that it usually isn’t about you. It’s about systems. It’s about power. But you as an individual can make a difference. Sit with your discomfort and listen to what women are saying.

I'm white. Unpacking my whiteness has been, and continues to be uncomfortable. I've often felt defensive. But in order to strive to be an ally, I need to do this. I imagine it's the same for men striving to be good allies to women Click To Tweet

Respect all women

Women deserve respect because they’re people. Some men only seem to realise this once they have a daughter. Or relate ill-treatment to female relatives (‘imagine if that was your mother!’) Women don’t need to be wives, mothers or sisters to be respected. Relate to us as people. Respect our ‘no’ on its own, without the need for a (real or imagined) male partner to defer to. No woman should have to use ‘I have a boyfriend’ as a reason to turn you down.

Women don't need to be wives, mothers or sisters to be respected. Relate to us as people. Respect our 'no' on its own, without the need for a (real or imagined) male partner to defer to. Click To Tweet

It’s also very obvious if you’re not following Lisa Simpson’s advice:

lisaAttachment1

Don’t use a woman to prove your bad point

Women disagree with each other. Passionately. If you try hard enough, you’ll find women who agree with your opinion, even if on the face of it, that opinion is strongly anti-woman. Let us have those arguments. If a woman calls you out on something, ‘but my wife/mother/boss/friend thinks so too’ isn’t a justification. If you’re talking about issues which affect women, then you need to listen to women. Repeatedly telling a woman she’s wrong about women’s issues is not a good look.

If a woman calls you out on something, 'but my wife/mother/boss/friend thinks so too' isn't a justification. Click To Tweet

Focus your energy on men

Related to the above, if you think a woman holds a wrong opinion on something related to women’s issues, leave it. You’re either (a) wrong, or (b) right but it’s not your lane. If it’s the latter, you’ll be unlikely to be effective as you’ll get told you’re being patronising, mansplaining or shouldn’t have a voice in the debate. A good strategy in this situation is to ask a woman for her advice. We can have those conversations ourselves. What we need you to do is challenge other men. Unfortunately, most of the men who need challenging are more likely to listen to and respect the opinions of a man. Use that to your advantage.

if you think a woman holds a wrong opinion on something related to women's issues, leave it. You're either (a) wrong, or (b) right but it's not your lane. Click To Tweet

Know better, do better

It’s ok to have a less than perfect history. It’s ok to have made mistakes and continue to do so. Own them, apologise sincerely (I’m sorry that you were hurt/offended is not an apology) and do better next time. We don’t expect you to be perfect. We shoulder enough internalised misogyny to understand that it’s hard to change the messages you’ve received your whole life. We’d like you to try though. Preferably without drawing attention to how much of a great ally you are. If you’re out there doing the work, we’ll see you.

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