UK politician says 'white privilege' divisive, unhelpful term: report

Portland teachers start training on ‘anti-racism,’ White privilege

Neil Mammen, founder of Every Black Life Matters, on the growing backlash to critical race theory in US schools.

A U.K. politician and member of the nation’s equality watchdog is warning that the term “white privilege” was divisive and contributed to an “unhelpful way of looking at society.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Falkner, who serves in the House of Lords, preferred civics lessons over “fretting about one group versus another.”

“If we taught rights in the curriculum, human rights, civic rights, that would be the more relevant thing to teach our young people, rather than fretting about one group versus another group, and whether one group has had innate advantages that other groups don’t have,” she said.

“I prefer a unifying discourse to a divisive discourse. And I find those expressions to be divisive.”

Falkner, who was born in Pakistan, also serves as a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. According to its website, the group is a “statutory non-departmental public body established by the Equality Act 2006” and operates independently.

“We use our unique powers to challenge discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights,” the group says. “We work with other organisations [sic] and individuals to achieve our aims, but are ready to take tough action against those who abuse the rights of others.”

Her comments touched on a simmering controversy over whether new ideas surrounding race caused more harm than good. In the U.S., activists have argued that teaching white privilege and other ideas associated with critical race theory create division and instill shame over a person’s race.

Defenders of these teachings generally argue that they shed light on systems of oppression that need to be countered in order to truly defeat bias against minorities.

This wasn’t the first time Falkner caught attention for wading into the culture wars. 

She previously caught attention for comments she made about gender. “Someone can believe that people who self-identify as a different sex are not the different sex that they self-identify,” she said.

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