‘After a long time people are finally beginning to wake up to “the long march through the institutions”—the idea that left-wing “progressives” have to infiltrate public bodies in order to push through their ideologies. The long march is now well underway’
Love him or loathe him, it’s difficult to find fault with Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, issued on September 22, 2020.
It is intended to tackle “the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans”.
Its concern is that “this malign ideology is now migrating from the fringes of American society and threatens to infect core institutions of our country”.
Therefore it prohibits the promotion of “divisive concepts”—the notion that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
It is not an attempt to stifle academic debate, or limit free speech. People and institutions are still able to discuss and critique ideas to their hearts’ content.
What they’re no longer allowed to do is “to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services”.
This Executive Order was essentially attacking “Critical Race Theory” (CRT)—a currently fashionable hotchpotch of half-baked hocus-pocus to which the notion of inherent “white privilege” is central.
If the EO was a watershed moment in the States, then the Equalities Minister’s October speech denouncing CRT in the House of Commons was our closest equivalent in the UK. Kemi Badenoch reminded educators that they would be breaking existing legislation if they teach politically contested ideas such as “white privilege” as facts.
Unfortunately, an intervention such as hers is all too rare and with Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain now out of Number 10, the government is reportedly looking to move away from the culture wars and to present Boris Johnson more in line with a Joe Biden-style approach. Why a centre-right party with an 80-strong majority in a small “c” conservative country would want to lean more towards the ideologies of a particularly left-wing politician is anyone’s guess.
It’s a great shame because after a long time people are finally beginning to wake up to what the Marxist sociologist Rudi Dutschke called “the long march through the institutions”—the idea that left-wing “progressives” have to infiltrate public bodies in order to push through their ideologies. The long march is now well underway and it will take a huge effort to reverse it, particularly in the education system.
The “woke” infiltration is evident everywhere one looks. Cambridge University recently proposed a rule which would require academics to be “respectful of the diverse identities of others” which sounds well-meaning but could essentially prevent the debate of ideas that one disagrees with. It is an attempt by the Left to stifle free speech and silence dissenting views.
Universities UK has published recommendations suggesting that universities must “go beyond” unconscious bias training and implement anti-racist training on “white privilege”, despite Badenoch’s statement.
And up at Manchester University, students are demanding the banning of the word “black”; the colour is no longer appropriate because it has been “used for bad and unsavoury situations or objects”.
Meanwhile, exam bodies, apparently unaware that “black” is verboten, propose giving GCSE History a “Black Lives Matter makeover”. Edexcel says: “While we always work hard to design history qualifications that are diverse and inclusive, this year has rightly generated a renewed focus on what history is taught to our young people, and the sector needs to keep challenging itself.” According to AQA: “We’re always looking at how we can make our qualifications as representative as they can possibly be.”
In a recent survey by Channel 5, 93 per cent of respondents said that the school curriculum was not diverse enough to reflect society. Ninety per cent believe that teachers lacked adequate training to deliver an anti-racist education. But it’s not the job of the curriculum to reflect society. It certainly shouldn’t be presented in a superficially “diverse” way. Surely, a curriculum should be knowledge-rich and planned according to educational principles, not rapidly reshaped as a reaction to current events.
In a similar vein, a recent report by the Black Curriculum (it describes itself as “a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum”) claimed that the national curriculum “systematically omits the contribution of black British history in favour of a dominant white, Eurocentric curriculum”. It will be useful to get a firm understanding of what exactly is meant by “black history”. Hitherto we haven’t taught history based on complexion but rather based on key events that have shaped our nation. And the fact is that this nation has been a majority white country for most of its history. Obviously a significant portion of the history curriculum will feature white individuals of influence. That does not make it racist, it makes it accurate.
Also, consider this. The largest number of immigrants joining our schools are of Eastern European descent. The larger groups of minorities in this country are no longer within the 13 per cent BAME category, and actually fall within the 87 per cent white group. Why do we never hear demands for more Polish history on the curriculum?
CRT really is insidious. It has seeped into our institutions like a toxic miasma. Thankfully, the general public are becoming aware of its baleful influence. Now it is time for the establishment to start standing up to it rather than pursing a policy of appeasement.