Education and Inequality: Experiences of Black Teachers in British White Education System

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

The purpose of this article is to depict inequality cases and examine the complexity of black teachers' experiences in the British white system. For this reason, the researchers of this article applied concepts of whiteness, intersectionality, and battle fatigue to Boakye's I Heard What You Said (2022).


  This is qualitative research and its nature is deductive. The theoretical framework primarily was based on Crenshaw and Bradbury's definitions of intersectionality, Kincheloe’s of whiteness, and Smith’s of battle fatigue. Loden and Rosener's diversity wheel was also used to clarify various cases of intersectionality. I Heard What You Said (2022) contains 56 experiences of a black teacher in the British white education system.  The sample size includes all 56 experiences of the black teacher.


Finding shows that Whiteness and the internalization of white characteristics play a significant role in defining black identities. They are inferior not only because of their different skin color but also because of numerous criteria and the differences from whites. In this educational system, all learning is also consistent with white beliefs and the norms that define them within the system. Boakye mentions that “‘white is light’ imagery and ‘white is right’ ideology” is imposed on students from the early days of attending schools which demonstrates white supremacy in the British education system. In the British educational system, not only are teachers marginalized, but also they have to make an effort in order to institutionalize white beliefs and ideas in students’ minds. The British education system ignores diversity in its curriculum, wanting to follow the concept of “sameness” in education. The narrator criticized the aim of the National Curriculum of England in the late 1860s, based on the view of Mattew Arnowl, citing some ambiguous concepts such as “essential knowledge”, “educated citizens”, “the best that has been thought and said”, and “…engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievements …” He explained the condition in Arnold's time in 1860. It highlighted that the white education system shows no changes in its aim through time. It seeks to stabilize its characteristics in the educational system in relation to ignorance of differences and white supremacy in all parts of the educational system in British. Furthermore, applying the concept of intersectionality, it becomes clear that each proof emphasizes the connection of the particular sections, which to some extent differs from others. Considering the concept of intersectionality in the context of whites being superior, makes the causes more complex. Applying the concept of battle fatigue shows that the black teachers fight against racism even if they believe they could bring insignificant changes to the British educational system.


The research shows that black teachers' experiences of discrimination in the British education system are based not only on their skin color as black but on the connection between different dimensions of diversity and criteria in different areas of the personal, sociocultural, and organizational sphere. There is a need to revise the National Curriculum of Britain to start work on eliminating inequalities in the education document and to extend it to the whole education system.

Iranian Journal of Educational Sociology, Volume:6 Issue: 4, Dec 2023
172 to 185  
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