According to the National Geographic the average American will look like this in 2050

The Problem with Being Labelled Black – Part 2

The picture attached to this blog is from National Geographic and apparently the look of the average American in 2050.

Many years ago I sat down with a friend of mine. She is biracial. I was lamenting the fact that I disliked when other black people or bi-racial with black in them looked down their nose at other blacks. She asked me why I would consider biracial as other blacks. That hit me in the gut for a minute that on a subconscious level I was guilty of applying the 1% rule and automatically co-opting someone who was biracial as black.  On reflection when writing this series of articles it made me realise that so much is done on a subconscious level from media and the wider community to further install that kind of thinking.

Many proponents of black history don’t even realise that many of the icons, especially in American history held up as black icons are indeed mixed race. Frederick Douglas. Booker T Washington. W E Dubois. Mary Seacole. Samuel Coleridge Taylor, etc. Indeed let’s look at some modern ones and ask the question why are bi-racial people like Obama, Halle Berry, etc defined as black Continue reading


This Week in Education | 07.02.2015

This week I made the decision to restart the weekly curation of education blogs that have got my attention. Mostly focusing on the political aspect of education than the classroom practice here are some of the ones that got my attention. By that I mean I read them more than once.

Tom Bennett leads with his post Don’t Stay in School – Inspirational Teacher Bashing. A response to this popular youtube video

The College of Teaching is a body that has been championed (and rejected) by a number of teachers in the UK. One whose aims is to provide professionalism and a voice for teachers. Former teacher David Weston argues an all inclusive membership model whilst a current teacher wants none of it, if it includes none teachers in its membership.

I am always skeptical of those who push education as a leveller for social mobility. Especially in class driven cultures where private education prevails as much as state schools. That said this piece in the New York times about The Power of a Simple Nudge definitely leaves food for thought and in addressing some of this. Conversely this article shows how one supposed leveller, that of coding for free, is far from equal.

Talking of technology this article by Wired about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the Classroom, looks at the value of students using devices in class. Being a tech mag it is in favour of course but it’s an interesting insight none the less.

BBC Education looks at the concern that “Too many teenagers in England are dropping out of school or college or failing to pass their courses, because of poor advice”. That being advice being career advice.

Being me it’s hard not to read education pieces without discussing race as well as class. The independent raises a point that there are 17 female black professors across the UK! The broadcaster Dotun Adebayo laments the advice that black parents give to their kids that “a good education will give you a good job”.

Finally blogger Leading Learner addresses the whole issue around British values in education and the Guardian ponders why so many universities are in fear of real free speech on campus


Testing, Testing, 1×3

I often wonder the point of Education Secretaries.
I wonder if they exist just to wind schools, teachers and parents up
I wonder if they actually do add value to the direction of our education system.

Personally I think that educational policy in the UK should be a cross party affair. Not just with the sitting government in power but a coalition (that words seems so distasteful now) of policy makers and politicians carefully thinking through the direction they want Britain to go beyond biased party politics. Kenneth Baker kind of hinted at this at a conference I attended in December, but we always only hear these kinds of things AFTER the politician or secretary has left. Continue reading


The Problem With Being Labelled Black – Part 1

I am brown. A mahogany deep brown. I get darker when exposed to intense sunlight, and take on a more reddish deeper dark brown. Come the winter months, I become a bit wan. The lack of vitamin D changes the pantone somewhat from mahogany brown to chestnut. And yet if I was to fill in a census, application form or other kind of information gathering tool, the demographic I would have to select is black. I would have to chose between Black Caribbean, Black African, Black British or Black Other. Not brown.

You see I have a problem with the label of black. I find it a label that actually seeps into more stereotypes and biases around such a label than we care to imagine.

What if I don’t want to define as black? Continue reading