The attacks on the police by white racists in London, during protests on Saturday, have again raised the question of whether the relation between the white working-class community and poor education is a pivotal factor in breeding racist hatred.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the ‘racist thuggery’, in which a total of 113 people were arrested and 23 police officers injured; stating that, ‘racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality’.
But with issues surrounding racism largely left out of the school syllabus, surely the problem is poor education?
In 2019, an analysis of university admission figures showed that more than half of the universities in England have fewer than 5 per cent working-class white students in their intakes. Arguably, many working-class students are denied essential education surrounding race and equality — something that having attended university would normally have corrected. This deficiency seems to be a pivotal factor in the breeding of racist attitudes, since without appropriate education people are less aware of the consequences of their actions and how they can change their views. Education is the most important step towards fighting racism, but for the white, working-class community, getting a good education remains an obstacle and barrier to overcoming racial intolerance.
Racist attitudes among the white, working class are the key cause of racial inequalities in Britain today. The unrest in London on Saturday should be seen as a turning point in the relation between poor education and racism. The leaders of this country should act on what they’ve seen and realise that in order to combat racist hostility, the education sector needs to be addressed and quickly.
Far-right protesters clashed with the peaceful anti-racism demonstrations on Saturday, making it necessary for the police to intervene. And that’s when the violence started. Police officers were subject to injuries after being kicked, punched or hit by missiles from protesters claiming to be defending statutes. The important issue of BLM is now being taken out of context by these largely, working-class white males. The focus, originating from far-right groups such as Britain First, has bizarrely shifted to the taking down of historical statues — which is arguably a secondary matter to the central problem of racism and police brutality.
A horrifying image of a man urinating next to the memorial of murdered PC Palmer has been circulating the media, and was described by Home Secretary Priti Patel as, ‘utterly shameful’. The man, 28-year-old Andrew Banks, has now been sentenced to 14 days in custody, after he pleaded guilty to outraging public decency. Banks admitted that although he travelled to central London with groups of football supporters to ‘protect statues’, he did not know which ones. This incident is one of many that could have been avoided.
It is reasonable to say that the more negative elements of the far-right ideology derive from a lack of education. The white, working-class community are regrettably more susceptible to this kind of linear mentality of the far-right.
Saturday’s shocking behaviour of the far-right protesters emphasises the need for better education for working-class people. With greater focus on race and the history of Britain’s diverse ethnicities, in time, we should see a decline in far-right attitudes and a decline in the number of police officers assaulted and abused whilst carrying out their duties of protecting the community.
Poor education of the white working-class communities is at the heart of Britain’s racism problems.