‘The university professor is always white’

February 2, 2013 in Blog

"Empty Seats" by Benson Kua (Flickr - BY-SA 2.0)

“Empty Seats” by Benson Kua (Flickr – BY-SA 2.0)

Rachel Williams’ disturbing feature (‘The university professor is always white’) comes at a time when this government is hell bent on removing the public sector equality duty from the compliance requirements of the Equality Act 2010. Already, the Coalition Government has effectively neutered the Equality and Human Rights Commission and rendered it a hollow shell that could easily be made to disappear without anyone missing it.

Williams’ piece rightly pointed to the bold initiative the chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies took 18 months ago in pursuit of gender equality by requiring medical schools seeking biomedical research grants to demonstrate evidence of supporting women’s career progression.

One of the dangers some of us foresaw in joining up the various equality strands into a single equality act was that public bodies that had shown so little evidence of engagement with anti-discrimination legislation and of promoting gender, race and disability equality would be even less focused on improving their performance in respect of those three strands, let alone promoting equality for the additional number of groups (6) with protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Read the rest of this entry →

Intercultural dialogue between Europe and Islam

November 1, 2012 in Gus talks, Lectures

On October 31st, professor Gus John delivered a research seminar entitled “Intercultural Dialogue and Mutual Respect between Europe and Islam – The challenge for Education” at the University of Birmingham. Here is the lecture in full:

Let me thank my friend and comrade Dave Gillborn for nominating me to deliver this lecture and thank the School of Education for the invitation to do so.

Professor David Gillborn is one of the few academics in this country who has courageously and consistently engaged education practitioners, policymakers and fellow academics on the issue of race, ethnicity and education in the last period, especially in this era of neo-liberalism and the marketization of schooling and education.  We owe a lot to him for his clarity of vision, the incisiveness of his analysis, the relevance of his research and his perseverance in encouraging teachers, students and voluntary education projects to be bold, to think outside the box and to challenge establishment ‘wisdom’. Activists for children’s education rights, like myself, in communities across the country, continue to look to him for academic research evidence and policy analysis to support our perennial struggles.  For me, and I dare to say it in this forum, that is an even more critical endorsement for any academic than the validation of one’s peers.  It therefore gives me great pleasure to be able to share some thoughts with you today to mark the start of Prof Gillborn’s professorship at this university.

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Serious Youth Violence in the Capital

December 14, 2010 in Gus talks, Papers

The following paper was submitted  for consideration by the London Mayor’s ‘Time for Action’ and Community Safety Teams and the London Mayor’s Expert Advisory Group.

Context:

On 13 December 2010, the Mayor’s Expert Advisory Group (MEAG) received and discussed a paper:  Serious Youth Violence in London – a brief retrospective on recent action that was written on its behalf and circulated by Ray Lewis.  Members of the MEAG present at that meeting were:  Ray Lewis, Bevan Powell, Richard Taylor and Gus John (for part of the agenda).  Apologies had been received from other MEAG members.

At that meeting, Gus John provided a verbal critique of the paper and attempted to examine both the GLA’s response and that of the African heritage community to the issue of serious youth violence, assessing the role of the MEAG in the context of the latter.  After some discussion, Gus John offered to write a paper and set out his views of the issues and challenges which the Mayor and his team as well as the MEAG need to address.

These are therefore the views of Gus John and not necessarily of the MEAG.  The latter are invited to state whether they are in agreement that this paper should form the basis of a discussion with the Mayor on 21 December 2010, acknowledging the fact that both MEAG and the Mayor’s team(s) may wish to  have a wider ranging discussion of the issues once the paper has been given due consideration. Read the rest of this entry →

The state we’re in 10 years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

April 21, 2009 in Blog

In February 1999 Sir William Macpherson reported to the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, on the inquiry he led into matters arising from the murder of Stephen Lawrence almost six years earlier.  The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, as Macpherson preferred us to call it, was widely seen as a watershed in race relations in Britain.

That was mainly because government, the media and the chattering classes had not been listening to the evidence and to the shrill demands of generations of black people regarding police abuse of their powers, the racism in British policing that was systemic and not just the aberrations of the few ‘rotten apples’ that, so we are told, are to be found in every police force as in other institutions in society; racism that led to preconceived ideas about black witnesses and to the deeply flawed operational decisions that flowed from them. Read the rest of this entry →