• Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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‘We could not be colour blind’, Barnardo’s responds to ‘white privilege’ row

Dr Javed Khan

By: Pramod Thomas

THE UK’s biggest children’s charity, Barnardo’s, has hit back at Tory MPs who were upset about its blogpost discussing racial inequality and white privilege.

Barnardo’s said its chief executive Javed Khan, who is of Asian origin, had been the target of “explicit racism” following the blogpost.

The row was sparked after a post on the charity’s website offered parents tips on how to discuss ‘white privilege’ with their children.

Explaining the meaning of the term ‘white privilege’, the post also noted the systemic racism faced by BAME people in the UK.

“For the one in five Barnardo’s service users who are black, Asian or minority ethnic, the colour of their skin is an additional factor that negatively affects them and their families in a  multitude of well documented ways.

“Helping children and those who nurture them, to understand what white privilege really means will not only prevent future generations from growing up to ignore race as an issue – but to be actively anti-racist through their actions,” Barnardo’s said.

Following this, 12 Conservative MPs wrote to Khan expressing their ‘concern and disappointment’ last Friday (4) and said they asked the Charity Commission chair to investigate the post.

According to them, “The irrational notion that privilege or prejudice are the exclusive preserve of a particular ethnic group is as spiteful as it is silly.”

Conservative MP and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, who spent four years in a Barnardo’s home, wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that the charity “would do better keeping to its long trusted tradition of helping the most vulnerable children in society –irrespective of colour or ethnic background.”

She added, “Barnardo’s is sowing the seeds of guilt into lives already filled with guilt. This is such a misguided and misjudged move away from what the charity is about and what it ought to be doing.

“Not only is it totally inappropriate, this political activism could have a hugely detrimental effect on Barnardo’s fundraising.”

Last Sunday, Barnardo’s said, “We certainly don’t believe Britain is racist or that anyone should feel guilt about being from a particular background.

“We do know that in our country in 2020 being non-white creates particular and additional  needs – indeed the blog itself was written based on what children in our services told us they wanted to convey.

“To be ‘colour blind’ would be to fundamentally fail in our duty to address the needs of these children.”

Barnardo’s vice-president, Dr David Barnardo, said; “Whilst poverty and disadvantage are a reality for children from all backgrounds, colours and creeds – across our UK services, day in  day out we see that black, Asian and minority ethnic children face additional challenges as well.”

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