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It’s time to ditch ‘white privilege’ or risk putting people off backing social justice causes


Study shows woke activists should ditch the term ‘white privilege’ or risk putting people off to their social justice causes

  • ‘Racial inequality’ was found to be better at creating a sense of shared purpose
  • White privilege refers to the idea that white people enjoy unearned benefits
  • University of Michigan spoke to 1,000 people – 82 per cent of whom were white

Using the term ‘white privilege’ puts people off campaigning for social justice, a study has found.

The phrase made discussions ‘less constructive, more polarised, and less supporting over racially progressive policies’, researchers said.

A more inclusive term such as ‘racial inequality’ was found to be better at creating a sense of shared purpose.

White privilege refers to the idea that white people enjoy unearned benefits over other ethnicities due to biases in society.

Using the term ‘white privilege’ puts people off campaigning for social justice, a study has found (stock image) 

The University of Michigan spoke to nearly 1,000 people – 82 per cent of whom were white. 

They were asked: ‘Should colleges rename buildings that were named after people who actively supported X?’

For half the group X was replaced with the phrase ‘racial inequality’ and for the others it was replaced with ‘white privilege’. 

The research – in the journal PLOS One – found the number supporting the cause fell by 26 percentage points when the latter was used.

The University of Michigan (pictured) spoke to nearly 1,000 people ¿ 82 per cent of whom were white

The University of Michigan (pictured) spoke to nearly 1,000 people – 82 per cent of whom were white

The study’s lead author Christopher Quarles said: ‘Mentioning white privilege was enough to flip white support for renaming college buildings from primarily supportive to primarily opposing.’

The term first appeared in academia in the 1980s but became more widely used over the past decade amid heightened racial tensions, the study said.

It came under the spotlight in the UK last year after a parliamentary report suggested teaching it in schools was ‘divisive’ and pitted pupils against each other.

Last year, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said schools must not teach children about ¿white privilege¿ as if it were fact

Last year, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said schools must not teach children about ‘white privilege’ as if it were fact

Last year, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said schools must not teach children about ‘white privilege’ as if it were fact.

He warned it was a ‘contested view’ and teachers who promote it risk pushing ‘partisan’ politics on to pupils.

The minister spoke out after a report by the Commons education committee suggested that teaching white privilege could be against the equality act.

It highlighted how white working-class pupils had been neglected by the education system for ‘decades’

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