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Palgrave Macmillan

Racism and Education in Britain

Addressing Structural Oppression and the Dominance of Whiteness

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Interrogates the nature of processes and the impact of racism in education
  • Examines the societal and policy contexts around 'race' and the rise of right wing populism
  • Utilises intersectionality, Whiteness Theory and Critical Race Theory to analyse young people's educational experiences

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Table of contents (10 chapters)


About this book

This book is concerned with racism and education in Britain. It aims to seek greater understanding of the nature and endurance of racism within education practice in the 21st century and to examine the relationship between racism and the educational experiences and outcomes of many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children and young people, with reference to school and university. Employing Critical Race Theory, Critical Whiteness Theory and Intersectionality, this structural analysis traces the historical and contemporary development of racism in education. White privilege and White supremacy, it is argued, are central to the perpetuation of racism and the failure to either understand or recognise the systemic nature of racial oppression. The book focuses on Britain, but the analysis locates racism as a global phenomenon. In spite of decades of policies on ‘race’ equality in Britain, BAME children and young people continue to be discriminated against and are failed by theeducation system. Applying a theoretical analysis of racism and White supremacy and privilege to an examination of government policies and research in schools and universities, the nature and extent of racism is revealed in the educational experiences of young people.


‘Using Critical Whiteness Theory, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, Crozier explores how racism and racist practices continue to be an everyday feature in education. She eloquently argues that White privilege is a feature of the education system which is used to uphold White supremacy through policy making, pedagogical practice and curricula. Through exclusionary processes, racism simply continues as business as usual. A powerful and compelling book which completely dispels the myth of post-racism, and a must-read for anyone interested in the perpetuation of normative Whiteness in education.’

 – Kalwant Bhopal, Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham, UK

 ‘Race and education have become big business once again, mostly through the efforts of government and right-wing think tanks to shift blame, normalise White supremacy and portray anti-racists as divisive troublemakers. This book offers a passionate, clear and thoroughly researched answer to the lies that pretend we live in a post-racial or colourblind world. Gill Crozier is one of the UK's leading antiracist scholars and this book pulls together different strands of her work to present a challenging and compelling analysis of the racism at the heart of education policy and practice. The book has many strengths, including an important account of Whiteness within the research process and a crucial discussion of the importance of both race and class, without falling into the trap of allowing class conscious research to silence a focus on racism. The voices of parents play a major role in the book, providing perceptive and powerful insights into the everyday processes that give racism such a central role in the education system.’ 

 –  David Gillborn, Emeritus Professor of Critical Race Studies, University of Birmingham, UK, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal 'Race Ethnicity and Education'. 


‘This inspiring, insightful and thought-provoking book uncovers how racism operates in and through education in the British context and beyond – and why so little has changed despite the pressure of obvious inequalities and discrimination. Using Critical Race Theory and Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of symbolic violence as analytical tools, Gill Crozier comprehensively traces how racism and White dominance permeate education policymaking, curriculum and teachers' practice and how they shape educational experiences, trajectories and outcomes in school and university. The central thesis is carefully and convincingly underpinned by disturbing evidence of the existence and experiences of racism from her own academic research, that of others and a wide range of political reports. Also, in view of the corrosive effects of neoliberal statehood on the possibilities of combating racism, an outlook on collective perspectives for action is given. The book is clearly writtenand has a reader-friendly structure. Beyond its important contribution to international academic discourse, it is also recommended reading for policymakers, practitioners and other interested parties.’

 – Mechtild Gomolla, Professor of Intercultural Pedagogy and Educational Justice, University of Education Karlsruhe, Germany


‘Racism and Education in Britain: Addressing Structural Oppression and the Dominance of Whiteness is a timely book. It comes at a juncture when the British government continues to rage against and seeks to silence educators daring to bring a focus on race within English classrooms.  A culmination of the author’s longstanding commitment to anti-racism in schools and higher education, this book offers a unique opportunity to engage with critical Whiteness, race and intersectionality theories as they are critically applied to the educational experiences of ethnically diverse students from the 1970s to present day, and parents from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in England. For anyone in doubt about the entrenchment of Whiteness and White knowledge in British education, analyses of literature and art alongside educational policy analyses dispel such misgivings. Crucially, the book demonstrates that the responsibility for challenging institutional racism in education is not confined to Minority Ethnic communities and cannot be done without shining the lens on Whiteness. As such, the book has much to offer educators, graduates, researchers and policymakers alike.’

 – Uvanney Maylor, Professor at the Institute for Research in Education, University of Bedfordshire, UK



‘In Racism and Education in Britain: Addressing Structural Oppression and the Dominance of Whiteness, Gill Crozier invites us to think beyond what we take for granted by exploring the subtle, hidden and multiple ways in which education, from teaching to policy,disadvantages BAME people in the UK. Written in a very accessible style, this book brings together decades of critical, educational research on race and ethnic inequalities, focusing on highly contemporary issues, such as the decolonisation of the curriculum, the role of racialisation in doing research, the resistance of BAME parents and the importance of including social class and gender in developing an understanding of race and ethnic inequalities in education. Although focusing on the UK, it offers a wealth of inspiration for critical researchers working in different national contexts. A great starting point for anyone interested in this field.’

–     Peter Stevens, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Ghent University, Belgium



Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Education, Froebel College, University of Roehampton, London, UK

    Gill Crozier

About the author

Gill Crozier is Emerita Professor of the Sociology of Education at the University of Roehampton, UK. She was formerly Director of the Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy. She has researched and published on ‘race’ and racism, parents and schools, children’s school experiences, and students social and learning experiences in higher education.

Bibliographic Information

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