There is a strong view in Britain and elsewhere that the production of verifiable knowledge is in itself significant in the effort to reduce racial discrimination. In part, this came from the American experience of fighting Jim Crowism in the states south of the Mason-Dixon line in the state of Virginia and which formally sanctioned the universal incorporation of black Americans into the wider society. More generally, the belief appears to be rooted in an assumption that knowledge is likely to erase prejudicial values and therefore obnoxious and unacceptable social behaviour based on ignorance. It is worth remembering, however, that whilst this view has continued to be a fundamental assumption in British race relations theory and policy, some of the most knowledgeable sections of British and American societies — the academic and intellectual establishments — furthered racial theories and colluded with plans to discriminate against vulnerable groups. Fortunately, as we have seen, the view that knowledge is a corrective to the injustices of discrimination, has been balanced since 1965 by legislation against racial discrimination in British public life. None the less, the propositions that racial discrimination in Britain can and will be undermined by verifiable knowledge and that this knowledge is likely to inform policy, remain basic but partly erroneous principles. This is a disturbing hypothesis. It raises questions over the realisation of the multi-cultural society, because, as we noted earlier, education is at the centre of the effort to accomplish the ideals of multi-culturalism.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- ‘Good Race Relations’ and the Production of Knowledge
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number