Robert Halfon MP says he has been accused of “racism” after announcing a parliamentary inquiry into white working-class pupils, especially boys, falling behind in schools.
“The whole premise of the committee is to look at left behind cohorts, those who are falling way behind,” said Halfon, who chairs the influential Commons Select Committee for Education.
“One of those groups sadly is white working-class pupils from poor background, and within that group, boys do worse than girls,” he explained in comments to The Telegraph.
“I have been accused of racism, which I find really hard to fathom. Other ethnic groups are outperforming white, so I can’t see why this is racist.”
The Telegraph cited a study by the University of Cambridge suggesting that “Black and Asian parents are more ambitious in their attempts to get their children into good schools” as a reason why white pupils might be falling behind — a sharp contrast with the reasons unusually offered when minorities perform poorly, which tend to centre on outside factors such as economic disadvantage and alleged racism and discrimination.
We’ve launched an inquiry into the educational performance of disadvantaged white pupils and how best to support them
— Education Committee (@CommonsEd) April 17, 2020
Halfon, a worker-oriented Conservative politician noted for his past campaigns to freeze fuel duty and revive the 10 per cent income tax band for lower earners eliminated by the last Labour government — who has even gone so far as to suggest the Tories should rebrand as “The Workers’ Party” — has been pressing the issue of white working-class disadvantage for some time.
“There are many reasons for the underachievement of disadvantaged white boys. Some people like to talk about a lack of aspiration. I disagree. It is not that white disadvantaged boys themselves do not want to succeed,” he wrote in a 2018 article for ConservativeHome.
“[R]ather than obsess about lack of aspiration, it is the lack of social capital that we should be focusing on. White disadvantaged boys cannot even play the game that is the competitive jobs market, whilst their wealthier peers win every time,” he wrote.
WHITES NEED NOT APPLY: Brits of English Heritage Banned from Paid Training Posts… at English Heritage https://t.co/vmZkt4ovUy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 9, 2018
Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) youngsters, on the other hand — whether rich or poor — are much more likely to be able to benefit from the wealth of paid “internships” from which white people, and sometimes straight white males exclusively, and excluded, as public institutions and businesses seek to boost diversity.
White people can also be legally turned down for jobs in favour of minority candidates of equal merit — a provision in Britain’s equality legislation which has been abused in the hiring practices of at least one police force.
Theresa May’s government also excluded young white youths from a £90 million government fund for young people acquired by raiding dormant bank accounts in 2018.
Police Unlawfully Rejected ‘Exceptional’ Recruit for Being Straight White Male, Tribunal Finds https://t.co/tAmMxye4eC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 23, 2019