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Posts Tagged ‘trevor phillips’

Rumour has it that Sir Trevor the Younger (i.e.Phillips , not McDonald) has some funds to use for Legacy of the slave trade abolition.

Sir Trevor

Did this money come from banks? from the corporate sector?

And how much? Was it really for reparations? And what will it be used for?

And does that mean it was in the trillions as calculated by Dr Robert Beckford when researching the issue of back pay for Africans building up the British empire? Or something less?

Is it true? Initial searches on the net reveal little, even though it is said he announced this windfall. (Gee it’s hard to find kind things being said about this man, with his head so far above the parapet – being hated on by black and white in equal measure)

Well seems like some more research needed here?

So what do YOU know? Any comments?

Is this just a rumour??

 

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Trevor Phillips at BBAP  

Sir Trevor Phillips was in Bristol today, at the invitation of Paul Stephenson to look at two of Bristol’s 2007 offerings.

The former Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, current Chairperson of the new Commission for Equalities and Human Rights came to see the Breaking The Chains exhibition and the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum.

After a tour around the the exhibition he spoke to some of the council’s chiefs (those the Bristol Blogger would rip to shreds) ,  and some ‘equalities partners’.  Phillips spoke about the thinking behind the new Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and exchanged freindly noises with the leader of the council and their partners, before taking a couple of questions.  The issue of support for elders, and Caribbean elders, was kept in profile by  Princess Campbell.

I put the question of ‘Black Schools’ to him, referring directly to the meeting on Abolition 200, and asking  whether he would stand by the idea today.  He wasn’t having it. The basic answer was

No – he would not advocate black schools, but would advocate specific attention to be paid to 1) gypsy/traveller communities, 2)African-Caribbean boys, and 3)poor white boys [heavily edited and paraphrased].

There wasn’t time to follow up there. The group had to scoot. And I did not want to hog the floor with the question of his statements suggesting we look at the option of black schools in 2005.  So off we went (our separate ways) to rendezvous at the Bristol Record Office, and hear about the Bristol Black Archives Partnership and hear a new poem by Miles Chambers. I thought I’d check out Sir Trevor there about the black schools thing.

I wondered if it was the peerage that was making him back-track on black schools. It would not have been intimidation by the guys in this room, because he surely knows that the people to be scared of are the real public. Not this well-trained room of liberals and city officials.

Google “(Sir) Trevor Phillips”, and you get lots of strong reactions to lots he has said, in his high profile public posts.  He’s getting cussed left, right and centre for his statements,  various positions on race, religion, and on his career track.

Later, searching the web, I was hard pushed to find his actual statement. But there was a lot of “wake”. Seemed that bulletin boards and discussion groups are teeming with people’s  strong reactions to his statements – [google:trevor phillips”black schools”].

Then it becomes clearer, and maybe fairer to him about whether or not he was back-tracking.  It seems he may have suggested separate classes for black boys rather than whole black schools.

Schools and classes of boys are not the same of course. If it was indeed black boy classes suggested, as a plaster in a ‘white’ school, then this would indeed be a bad idea.  It is not the same as having an African-centred school , or similar. Something that has a cultural root surrounding the ethos, practice and curriculum of the place.   Equally this is not the same as a school with a black pupil base in a poor neighbourhood, which is founded on the mainstream state model – of which the country has a number.  So as it turns out, he chose back in 2005, to moot the idea of black boy classes, not necessarily black schools.

Any culturally specific school idea cannot be about forcing segregation. It would have to be more about having an offer of a cultural and academic alternative, in an culturally relevant school, for those who wanted it. Horses for courses and all that. And it’s proposed in the light of the ongoing disappointment in the area of educating some of these children.

It’s interesting to note amongst some of the bulletin board contributions, from –

Segregation will solve nothing but will lead to racism as whites may regard the black class as some kind of “dunce” class. Students should be streamed on academic ability not skin colour.

to the more culturally specific –

..why is it wrong to have African-Caribbean boys educated separately if the result is an improvement in the overall levels of attainment of African-Caribbean boys.

I didn’t get to ask Trevor Phillips about this apparent u-turn after all.  I’d forgotten what the worth was of asking the question, or what it was going to change. I’d had my ego moment in front of the council chiefs. Although, they heard a ‘no black schools’ from the Equalities Chief and were, I assume, relieved. Though I am sure that on pressing the arguments of a culturally specific offer, he might have seen it different.

Though the death of ‘multiculturalism’ is one of Phillips’ own trumpet calls during his time at the head of the CRE, which still generates press today. So maybe he wouldn’t even go with culturally specific schools. I speculate.

It was also interesting to note his mention of the ‘poor, white boys’ as a group in need of attention. This characterises a lot of the interactions between the African, Caribbean experience and its impact and interaction with the white underclasses. There is stuff in common. And black figures often appear in the history of wider workers’ struggles in Britain.

Adopting a strategy, of provoking the big headlines, Sir Trevor Phillips generates a lot of static from many sides, so he won’t be getting more on this occassion.

So today in Bristol, city leaders and some movers and shakers in the “traditional” black community, shook hands and nodded heads with the country’s Equalities Chief.   It’s hard to say what comes of these hand-shaking and head-nodding interactions. Maybe business was done.  With statements to the press and a whoosh round the city’s idea of its racial awareness in the light of 2007, that was his visit done.

One stop on a regional tour.

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In the debate(12 Nov ’07, Bristol), the issue of Black schools was raised by Lisa Blackwood. Drawing on evidence that ‘black boys are…you know what’, then why not schools for black boys?

There are such things around and they are proven to make a difference to some African children.  In the light of growing interest in faith schools and the recognition of single-gender schools to have a positive impact on educational achievement, then the logic bears out.

Trevor Phillips caused a storm in the media when he announced that the country should try such things if forty years of interventions are otherwise failing.

Meanwhile Cllr Peter Hammond was not keen on the idea of black schools. Since he believed school was a place we went for the opportunity to meet other cultures that lived around us. He was not the only one. The motion fell down on a straw poll.

In our 2000s mentality in the UK,  it doesn’t sound right to the ear. Surely that’s what we’ve been fighting and legislating against isn’t it. Leaving us all confused. 

And…”Ok then, what about if I said lets have a school for white boys then? ” – is the next reaction. “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that would I?”.  On on…

However, if you ask me school is for white boys. Everything about the system reflects the creator. Note the emphasis on boys too!  They are Euro-Masculo-centric systems. (don’t be fooled by the over-representation of female teaching staff!, I don’t think the system’s designed by women). Oh and ignoring the fact they do better at it then we boys.  In fact Cllr. Peter Hammond seemed to suggest that white working class boys were the only group consistently under-peforming the black boys. But if that’s what the new measuring tools say.  Does that mean a chnage in empahsis ahead?

Now don’t get me wrong I have lots of white friends. And male friends! But I know that ‘black’ schools. Let’s say African-centred then, can work well for some African children and their families.

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