1st Edition

Racism and Education Coincidence or Conspiracy?

By David Gillborn Copyright 2008
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    Education policy is not designed to eliminate race inequality but to sustain it at manageable levels. This is the inescapable conclusion of the first major study of the English education system using ‘critical race theory’.

    David Gillborn has been described as Britain’s ‘most influential race theorist in education’. In this book he dissects the role of racism across the education system; from national policies to school-level decisions about discipline and academic selection.

    Race inequality is not accidental and things are not getting better. Despite occasional ‘good news’ stories about fluctuations in statistics, the reality is that race inequality is so deeply entrenched that it is effectively ‘locked in’ as a permanent feature of the system.

    Built on a foundation of compelling evidence, from national statistics to studies of classroom life, this book shows how race inequality is shaped and legitimized across the system. The study explores a series of key issues including:

    • the impact of the ‘War on Terror’ and how policy privileges the interests of white people
    • how assessment systems produce race inequality
    • exposes the ‘gifted and talented’ programme as a form of eugenic thinking based on discredited and racist myths about intelligence and ability
    • documents the Stephen Lawrence case revealing how policy makers have betrayed earlier commitments to race equality
    • shows how ‘model minorities’ are created and used to counter anti-racism
    • how education policy is implicated in the defence of white power.

    Conspiracy? Racism & Education takes critical antiracist analyses to a new level and represents a fundamental challenge to current assumptions in the field. With a preface by Richard Delgado, one of the founders of critical race theory.

    1. Introduction  2. Critical Race Theory: A New Approach to an Old Problem  3. Inequality, Inequality, Inequality: The Material Reality of Racial Injustice in Education  4. Policy: Changing Language, Constant Inequality  5. Assessment: Measuring Injustice or Creating it?  6. The Stephen Lawrence Case: An Exception that Proves the Rule?  7. Model Minorities: The Creation & Significance of 'Ethnic' Success Stories  8. Whiteworld: Whiteness and the Performance of Racial Domination  9. Conclusion: Understanding Race Inequality in Education.  Appendix: Some Thoughts on Whiteness, Critical Scholarship and Political Struggle


    Professor David Gillborn is currently Head of the School of Educational Foundations & Policy Studies (EFPS) and Chair of the Race Equality Committee at the Institute of Education, University of London.

    David Gillborn is best known for his research on race inequality and education. His work combines an analysis of official statistics with qualitative research in schools. He has written several books and numerous papers drawing on his own research; plus, he is author of two official reviews of research on race and education (published by the Office for Standards in Education); and he is founding editor of the international journal, ‘Race Ethnicity & Education’ which is taken by more than 9,000 libraries in 133 countries.

    '...a wonderful, rich book with a bold, audacious premise, clear writing, and a reader-friendly structure and plot line.' - Richard Delgado, University of Pittsburgh, USA

    'This is a thorough and detailed analysis of the education system which does not just cite racism as the reason for educational inequalities but also explains in clear terms and with ample evidence exactly how white supremacy functions in the education system to maintain social disadvantage.' - Deborah Gabriel, iamcolourful.com

    '... this book stands outs from the plethora of studies in this area as a result of the innovative and thought-provoking approach it adopts for its analysis.' ... there is much to praise in this book. It is well written, well argued and thought-provoking.'
    Tracey Reynolds, London South Bank University - British Journal of Sociology of Education

    ... the book excels at bringing together a number of issues that constitute the larger web of conversations about race and education. Gillborn has amassed an impressive array of statistical information and corralled it to make a compelling argument.
    Nadine Dolby, Purdue University - British Journal of Sociology of Education

    "The result of Gillborn’s labors is one of the most honest and thoughtful examinations of the assumptions that stand behind English educational policies and of the ways race fully funds them and is implicated in their actions, meanings, and even their (supposed) reform"
    Michael Apple, Educational Policy 2009; 23; 651