Playing the race card

education, livingroom

In a recent interview the “Head of Britain’s ‘strictest school” claimed that black children were using the ‘race card’ when in trouble.

The rhetoric is that of an aging, white, conservative male trying to dismiss the divisive legacy of the British empire but the words belong to a youngish “women of colour” (pictured above).

I wonder how she can feel so comfortable with her blackness being used to validate the notion that racism does not exist in the education system.

I wonder how her family feels when her words are used as ammunition to shoot down the varied and valid experiences of BAME people. How confortable they feel that knowing she has told parents to ignore reports of racism from their children. 

With her claim that troublesome black children play “the race card’, I wonder if the irony that her race is the only reason she’s being given air time is lost on her?  Does she realise that she’s the black ace being played by racists?

Racists who use her words as soundbites to prevent education reform.

And as school “Punishments”  which disproportionately affect BAME students, align more and more with prison systems (solitary/isolation booths, saturday detentions, detentions for low level behaviours etc) our schools need reforming.

Our National Curriculum, underpinned by Britain’s perspective of history as a PR exercise – needs reforming.

Testing methods which rely on teacher assessment, easily suspectable to teacher bias – needs resisting.

Catchment areas of *good schools*drawn around property prices – needs revising.

The reduced government funding – needs reversing.

Obviously, this not a post discussing whether teachers are or are not racist. I am referring to the structural racism in our education system (see below for further reading) harming our children.  The children that head teachers should be trying to protect, not further alienate.

TBH xx

Recommended Reads x

Tell It Like It Is-How Our Schools Fail Black children

Natives by Akala

 “How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System”

 

Was The Hate U Give, given enough love?

demonstrations, livingroom, politics, protests, review, society

****SPOILER ALERT*****.

This post is really for anyone who has seen the film, read the book or is not planning to do either.

The Hate U Give is a powerful film but has the book’s original message been scarificed for commercial backing. For me, it was the incredible performances,  rather than the writing and direction of the adaptation that stole the show.

I left the cinema teary eyed but with a distinct Pepsi Max after taste and a thirst to read the book.

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After a couple of chapters, it was clear that the plot had been dramatically simplified and the core theme of racial injustice played down making gang influence the predominate malfactor to the storyline.

Poverty, race, family and love are not simply black or white, good vs bad affairs.   Even with a teen audience in mind, the simplistic retelling is a missed opportunity to explore the issues that are killing our society.  Considering the choice of screen writer,  best known for writing George of the Jungle, production and distribution companies- I question how deliberate that choice was.

There are always ommissions and changes in film adaptations, but changes should be made for artistic not political reasons.

In the book for example, Uncle Carlos (A black police detective) concludes that HE WOULDN’T have shot the victim, but in the film, he said he WOULD.

I can’t see how this change, which undermines the #blacklivesmatters cause, could ever be justified. Especially thinking about Thomas’s motivation behind writing the book.

In the story, the officer murdered a 17 year old boy based on his perceived fear of a young black man.  These fears have been deliberately cultivated by society to criminalise black identity and are maintained and reinforced by systematic racism. 

By editing out the uglier side of our boys in blue, it’s not just an injustice to the fictional characters of Garden Heights, but the lives of the thousands of innocent people who have had their life stolen by an officer’s foot, fist or barrel.

Many people do hate the police.  But the hate that killed the victim was the hatred and misrepresentation of black people in our society.  A point that I think the film underplayed, particulary with a speech given by the main character.

“…It’s us, we are the ones full of hate!..”

And that’s where the story ends.  The community comes together, “snitching” on the gang leader to see him incarcerated.

Apparently, not wanting to “snitch” is the reason for gangs in communities –  not the lack of employment opportunities, education, access to healthcare or substandard social housing.

The end has no mention of the continued police brutality either.  Another deviation from the book.

This film is being lauded as a bold, policital statement about the Black Lives Matter movement- but that better describes the book than the film.

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Joyfully, the film is a beautiful depiction of a black family and at the very least,  a great starting place for discussion about the more complex issues.

BH xx

 

If you would like to challenge police brutality in the UK, the United Friends and Family Campaign work to challenge, hold to account and end deaths in custody.

http://uffcampaign.org/

 

 

 

THUG LIFE X

 

Vote For Me and other stories

Nursery

The story is based around two children Alex and Evie. Alex’s parents support the Stripy Party and Evie’s the Spotty Party.  No spoilers however, you’ll simply have to read the book to find out who wins..  The story uses simple  language and child friendly illustrations to introduce key aspects of the election process including canvassing, voting and results night.  The Election is a great conversation starter for parents and teachers to introduce political concepts to the future rulers of the world.