Is Pride in White Culture So Wrong?

By Heffer, Simon | Daily Mail (London), February 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Is Pride in White Culture So Wrong?


Heffer, Simon, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: SIMON HEFFER

THERE has been more damage done to children by 'educationists' in the past 20 or 30 years than by any other malevolent force.

However, it seems that, at last, these people are learning their lesson.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which is drawing up a national antiracist policy for schools, appears to be coping sensibly with a project packed with opportunities for absurdity.

It has told the Government that 'antiracist' teaching has 'left white pupils feeling they could not be proud of their own culture and identity'.

The advice continues: 'The challenge here is for teachers to instil their pupils with pride in white culture without it becoming nationalistic or racist.' Let us pass over the point that while there is everything wrong with being racist, there is nothing wrong with being nationalistic (we would have been stuck without nationalism in 1940): the thrust of what the QCA is saying is absolutely right.

The Government, though, has rejected the proposal: children from other cultures will not feel 'included' if they have to be taught about ours - despite their families having made this country their home.

This, in effect, guarantees a continuation of the poisonous, ignorant and wicked philosophy about British culture that robs schoolchildren of stimulating, elevating instruction about their country and its history and way of life.

To perpetuate this stupidity is not merely bad for children of indigenous descent, but also gravely harms those from the ethnic minorities.

It also helps stifle cultural achievement. The last generation before so-called multiculturalism was astonishingly culturally rich, not least because it had a clear sense of its identity. FIFTY years ago, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene were writing novels. Vaughan Williams, Britten and Walton were composing music. Ealing Studios and the team of Powell and Pressburger were turning out some of the finest and most literate films ever made.

In architecture, Giles Gilbert Scott was finishing Liverpool Cathedral, and Lutyens had only just died. Augustus John was still painting, T. S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas still writing poetry and plays. It might have been an age of austerity, but not in terms of talent or its output.

Now, by contrast, we search in vain for great achievement in art and literature. Our culture, rooted in celebrity and superficiality, is now an empty vessel.

To make British people feel their wonderful inherited culture is in some way embarrassing or dangerous perverts the truth. It also, as the QCA manifestly realises, fosters resentment among those of us who feel, like the victims of an occupying power, we are being forced to repudiate our identity.

To deny the children of immigrants the opportunity to be educated about their adopted home is a sure-fire way to isolate them. That the Government should wish to do this, against even the advice of experts, beggars belief.

This blindness stems from the Government's view that Britain is a multicultural society. It is not. It is a monocultural society - 94 per cent white European by descent and 96 per cent Christian - that, quite correctly, welcomes the cultures of others. …

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