Top BAME Teacher: BLM Encouraging Institutional Racism, ‘Decolonising’ Education ‘Divides Us’

decolonise
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Leading British educator Katharine Birbalsingh has warned that “decolonising” the school curriculum will not help pupils progress in life and will, in fact, create more social divisions.

Ms Birbalsingh, who founded and leads the high-performing Michaela Community School in London, also said that Black Lives Matter’s call to “decolonise” education by replacing white men with minorities is itself “a big example of institutional racism”.

Birbalsingh said that the compulsory teaching of minority ethnic figures in British history would only serve to “divide us”.

She said: “Nothing in our schools is compulsory, apart from the Holocaust. In my opinion, a big example of institutional racism is exactly what Black Lives Matter wants to encourage, they want schools to teach fewer dead white men like Dickens or Churchill and more black authors and historical figures.”

The outspoken free school headmistress, who puts academia at the forefront in training her pupils, made the remarks during a webinar of The Equiano Project, reported by The Times on Wednesday.

The Equiano Project is a debate forum which aims to “promote the values of freedom, humanism, and universalism”, focusing on issues of culture, politics, and race. It was founded by Inaya Folarin Iman, who is on the board of Toby Young’s Free Speech Union.

Black Lives Matter has been at the fore of demands to slash representations of white people in public places — sometimes doing so forcibly themselves — over past ties to slavery or allegations of racism.

Ms Birbalsingh also criticised calls to dumb down musical education by prioritising grime rappers like Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo — or “Stormzy” — over Mozart, which she said will not aid the intellectual development of pupils.

Last month, the leading educator — whose free school receives government funding but is not controlled by local authorities — had criticised American university Rutgers’ decision to stop teaching proper grammar in favour of so-called “critical grammar” in response to Black Lives Matter protests.

“‘Proper English is racist,'” Ms Birbalsingh paraphrased the policy.

She continued: “What is our world coming to? I have a school full of black and brown kids who are taught proper English and doing well at it, thanks very much.

“To deny children the opportunity to write and speak well is a SCANDAL! How dare you all behave like this.”

She further said during The Equiano Project webinar that hyper-focus on racism is a distraction from a person’s personal and professional development. Birbalsingh said: “Anyone who has ever overcome any obstacle in life knows that if you spend all your time worrying about how insurmountable it is, you will never overcome it.

“I am not going to spend my time begging the white man to undergo unconscious bias training, it’ll distract me from doing what does work, which is getting kids to learn their algebra, turn up on time, and deliver.

“The problem with getting angry about racism is it’s distracting. It leaves you with less energy to help you succeed, like working hard, getting married, and being a good parent.”

Speaking to Spiked in June, the educator said that while it was important to talk about racism in society, she did not want to “encourage our children to be victims”.

“And that is something that I think the Black Lives Matter movement does and it undermines much of the work we do at school in trying to empower our children to take personal responsibility and grab life by the horns.

“Yes, there are obstacles, and yes, there is racism. But the way to succeed is to find a way to jump over those obstacles, not to sit and complain that life is hard, not to put your hand out to the white man and tell him to give you something. I want kids to take control of their lives, and victimhood does not help anybody,” the teacher concluded.

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