What’s in a word? Modelling British history for a ‘multi-racial’ society

Claire Sutherland*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In March 2022 the United Kingdom (UK) government published Inclusive Britain: the government’s response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. This accepts the ‘bad apple’ understanding of racism but is incurious as to the historical context and existing power relations shaping racist attitudes, thereby creating a tension with its stated aim of developing a model history curriculum. This article will address two, key issues resulting from this tension: Firstly, it unpicks Inclusive Britain’s handling of race and, secondly, adopts a decolonial standpoint to critique its recommendation on how to make the school history curriculum more inclusive. The article concludes that Inclusive Britain’s vision of the UK as ‘multi-racial’ serves to re-establish racial categories as an unquestioned and unproblematic series of fixed, reified identities, without acknowledging the hierarchies and uneven power relations inherent in racial terminology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-117
Number of pages19
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


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