Race and class in Britain: a critique of the statistical basis for critical race theory in Britain: and some political implications

Hill, Dave (2009) Race and class in Britain: a critique of the statistical basis for critical race theory in Britain: and some political implications. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 7 (2) . pp. 1-40. ISSN 2051-0969 [Article]


In this paper I critique what I analyse as the misuse of statistics in arguments put forward by some Critical Race Theorists in Britain showing that `Race‟ `trumps‟ Class in terms of underachievement at 16+ exams in England and Wales.
I ask two questions, and make these two associated criticisms, concerning the representation of these statistics:
1. With respect to `race‟ and educational attainment, what is the validity of ignoring the presence of the (high achieving) Indian/ Indian heritage group of pupils- one of the two largest minority groups in England and Wales? This group has been ignored, indeed, left completely out of statistical representations- charts- showing educational achievement levels of different ethnic groups.
2. With respect to social class and educational attainment, what is the validity of selecting two contiguous social class/ strata in order to show social class differences in educational attainment? (1)
At a theoretical level, using Marxist work (2) I argue for a notion of `raced‟ and gendered class, in which some (but not all) minority ethnic groups are racialised or xeno-racialised) and suffer a `race penalty‟ in, for example, teacher labelling and expectation, treatment by agencies of the state, such as the police, housing, judiciary, health services and in employment.
I critique some CRT treatment of social class analysis and underachievement as unduly dismissive and extraordinarily subdued (e.g. a critique I make of Gillborn, 2008a, b, 2009a, b, c). I offer a Marxist critique of Critical Race Theory from statistical and theoretical perspectives, showing that it is not `whiteness‟, a key claim of CRT, that most privileges or underprivileges school students in England and Wales.
This analysis has policy implications regarding school/ school district/ national education policies, and also wider social and economic policies such as social cohesion, exclusion/ inclusion, and addressing wider economic and power inequalities in European societies (Booth, 2008; Toynbee and Walker, 2008; Hill, 2009a, 2009b; Hill and Kumar, 2009).
Accepting the urgent need for anti-racist awareness, policy and activism- from the classroom to the street- (3) I welcome the anti-racism that CRT promulgates and analyses, while criticising its over-emphasis on `white supremacy‟- and its statistical misrepresentations.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 5055
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Hilary Cummings
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2010 09:47
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 01:42
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/5055

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