Antiracism is based on the belief that racism rationalises and maintains injustices and differential power accorded to particular racial groups. In contrast to the multiculturalist strategy of reducing prejudice
through teaching about 'other cultures', the antiracist approach is to tackle structural racism. This requires a dismantling of institutionalized practices of racism - whether in employment or education or in social welfare. It also entails a direct confrontation
with racist ideologies which are manifest within the overt and hidden curricula; the ethos and organisation of schooling and education.

In the 1980s there were intense debates between multiculturalists and antiracists. Antiracists argued that multicultural education was counter-productive and often exacerbated racial stereotyping. However, antiracists were also criticised for simplistic analyses and essentialism. Understanding of these complex issues has developed and antiracist education now embodies an understanding of the ways that people are not merely ‘racialised’ or 'ethnicised’ beings but that their lives and life experiences will also be influenced  by social class factors, gender and sexuality, physical ability/disability and so on. Antiracist strategies therefore need to take this into account.

Authors :

Fiona Jamieson, University of Sunderland

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