chapter  4
22 Pages

Racism and education: from Empire to ConDem: Mike Cole


In this chapter, I begin by stressing that Britain has always been a multicultural society. I go on to examine Britain’s historical legacy of ‘race’,1 class, gender and Empire, and look at the way this was represented in the school curriculum of the early twentieth century. I argue that the attitudes and images projected by school texts at this time and reinforced in government statements and policies served in part to racialize2 the children of colonial and post-colonial immigrants as ‘a problem’, after mass immigration in the post-Second World War period. I then look at the educational experiences of Asian and black pupils/students,3

before looking at some ways that were adopted to address ‘the problems’,which I argue lay in the education system itself and not in the pupils/students. In so doing I look at superficial multicultural education and antiracist education. In the chapter I also address some historical and contemporary threats to antiracism and to multiculturalism.My suggestion for ways in which racism can be undermined within education is through a radical and critical multicultural antiracist education along with anti-imperialist education.