Institutional Racism Through Education: A Comment

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Institutional Racism Through Education: A Comment

Institutional racism has been an integral role-playing part in social class division. But how so? Institutional racism refers to racial discrimination that has become established as normal behaviour within a society or organisation, in this case, the institution being school.

In the early 1940s there was an early division in social class, with the introduction of the tripartite school system, this consisted of secondary schools which were mainly for the working class, less fortunate and those who lacked economic capital compared to the introduction of grammar schools which were mainly suited for the middle class, predominantly white students in those times. In addition, technology schools which there were not many of and only available to the gifted few. Social class divisions had started to rise through the induction of the tripartite system, secondary schools socialised pupils, the working class, into labouring jobs, preparing them to acquire skills of the labour force. Whereas grammar schools socialised and taught students skills they’d need to equip for advanced jobs, in Technology or businesses. This stemmed the division as both classes were not adequate enough to do each other’s jobs, leading to the legitimisation of inequality.

However, Marxist sociologists realised this and raised awareness of the issue, leading to the abolishment of the tripartite system and the new invention of the comprehensive schools – schools which were available to anyone in a certain locality which teaches the same curriculum giving everyone equal opportunities. This was proposed to move away from the institutionalised racism as it was predominantly whites in leading jobs and black were stopped by a ‘glass ceiling’ – an invisible barrier which takes toll on relishing certain opportunities – due to mainly their race. However not all schools decided to go comprehensive which still portrayed schools discrimination of minority ethnic and social groups, which is the mid 19th century was the blacks and working class. Policies were put into place to try and create equality in not only schools but also in society. But how has that panned out?

Fast forward to contemporary society, 2017, is there still institutional racism? Most people would say no there isn’t, due to the idea of diversity in schools, and essentially equal opportunities in vocational courses, people now have choices and freedoms to pick and choose what they do with their lives, policies put forward by New Labour and carried over by Conservative governments added so much funding to the UK educational system to give many equal opportunities. Moving from a predominantly English curriculum to an ethnocentric curriculum which embraces all ethnicities and social groups. How can a school still perform institutional racism? Furthermore, if there was how so can there be when now there is the production of league tables and OFSTED reports which give in-depth analysis on schools performances, reviews on schools behaviours and achievements of all ethnic groups in that school, allowing parents to see the flourish of ethnic minorities and the choice to pick which school is best for them?

However, this is not the so the case, reports are questioned for their credibility and validity – no school will publish poor results of minority ethnic groups or exclusion statistics of those, it would ruin their reputation and league tables and OFSTED, won’t be able to access that information. Institutional racism still occurs behind closed doors, policies such as reveal names on UCAS applications soon to be put into place enhance the probability of it getting worse, why do you need to know a students name, can’t you go by their grades and personal statement? Names revealed are chances for universities to be able to discriminate those with names that fit into certain ethnic groups, which people don’t realise now.

People are fooled and defrauded by the system, there has been limited opportunities for ethnic minorities to reach the top, and there always will be. Everyone may have same 24hrs to make something of themselves, however, the tasks’ that need to be completed within 24hrs Between the social groups are completely different, I believe those of blacks and Asians, metaphorically, cannot be completed in the set time frame.

By Donell Kyeremeh

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