ABSTRACT

There are three broadly identifiable approaches to education in multicultural Britain: monocultural, multicultural and antiracist education.1 Monocultural education has the aim of propagating and implementing the values of the White British male ruling class and, as such, represents a continuity with the pro­ imperialist curriculum of the early twentieth century.2 Multicultural educators set out to teach about other cultures, other people’s ways of life, thereby hoping to improve Black people’s self-image and instill respect for Black and other ethnic minority cultures. Antiracist education starts from the premise that Britain is an institutionally racist society, that racism cannot be understood without reference to economic, political and ideological factors, nor without reference to class and gender, and that educators should aim to dismantle racism.3 As such, it addresses itself to a theoretical lacuna in classical Marxism, at least in the realm of education.4 However, it is wrong to equate it with Marxism or neo-Marxism, as some writers have done.5 Radical multicultural education, at least that advocated by Mai Leicester (which I critique in this chapter), distinguishes structure and content. For the former, it commends antiracism and, for the latter, a culturally relativist (more recently, a limited relativist) multiculturalism (which claims to avoid the superficiality and implicit or explicit transmission of British cultural superiority of the more traditional multicultural approach).