Investigating Gender: Contemporary Perspectives in Education

By Becky Francis; Christine Skelton | Go to book overview

9
Racialization and
gendering in the
(re)production of
educational inequalities

Ann Phoenix


Introduction

'Race' and education are long-standing subjects of debate in Britain. For example, in the 1960s black and South Asian parents campaigned against policies of bussing their children in order to disperse them among different schools. This practice started in Southall, London, and was then supported more widely by the Department of Education and Science (DES). The publication ofHow the Black Child is Made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System(Coard 1971) drew attention to the concerns that black parents and teachers had long been expressing. This disquiet eventually led to the publication of the Rampton (DES 1981) and Swann (DES 1985) reports into the educational underachievement of black children.

In the years since then, debates on 'race' and education have shifted as theoretical understandings and accepted practices have changed. It is, for example, no longer possible to speak generally of 'race' as undifferentiated in relation to education. Racialized and ethnicized differences have to be considered, and gender is now widely recognized to intersect with 'race' and ethnicity in differentiating educational experiences and attainment. However, many of the issues that concerned black and South Asian parents in the 1960s remain features of the British education system. In particular, educational attainment continues to be racialized and ethnicized.

This chapter discusses 'race' and gender in education. It first considers why an understanding of both 'race' and gender is helpful in taking forward educational debates. It then looks at current theorizations of 'race' and the terminology associated with it. The third section examines what we know

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