The role of White students in challenging white curriculum in Higher Education.

Kay Sidebottom posted this excellent thread, on Twitter (@KaySocLearn), of potential actions students can take to challenge the whiteness of university curriculum. It was based on discussions in their BA Issues and Ethics class.

I suggested it might benefit from stressing the role of White students at the outset, rather than wait till Point 9. In my view struggle for race equality is always more successful with white involvement.

1. Critically examine your reading list – whose voices are missing? Ask your lecturer to re-balance it if necessary.

2. Glasgow University  recently introduced a programme of reparative justice measures to acknowledge their connections to, and profit from the slave trade. Is your university doing the same? Find out!

3. Keep the momentum of Why is my Curriculum White? campaigns going by raising the issue repeatedly with your students’ union. Ask them to invest in material reminders such as mugs, posters and badges. These linger in lecturers’ staff rooms!

4. If you find sources and materials by writers of colour remember to share them. Encourage lecturers to create dynamic reading lists using sites such as Padlet, which can be added to – by you.

5. Order books from your library! (Yes, you can do this!) Why not crowd- source a list and then submit it with others?

6. Cite theorists of colour in your own work. Scrutinise your essays – are you perpetuating your own white curriculum? Remember citations are powerful – every time you quote someone and submit through turnitin, there will be algorithmic changes.

7. How many black professors are employed at your university? How many black staff are in senior management? Ask these questions and share your findings in staff-student forums. Then ask to see action plans addressing any deficit.

8. What is the ethnicity attainment gap at your university? (Difference in success rate between white and BAME students). It is usually around 13-15% 😱. Find out and again, ask to see action plans.

9. If you’re white, take time to reflect on your own privilege and complicity. Check out resources on this Whiteness resources and links padlet.

10. Keep questioning, challenging, and discussing this issue with other students and lecturers. Remember the power and agency you have.

British Pakistani boys, education and the role of religion: In the land of the Trojan Horse

“This is a must read book. Iqbal’s empirical evidence not only examines British Pakistani Boys but interrogates issues concerning mono and multi faith environments, gender issues and the realities of monoculture within the possibilities of multiculture. A key and important text for education and the wider social sciences for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.”
Richard Race, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Roehampton.
“Iqbal opens the door on the complex connections between ethnicity, religiosity and education. Drawing on both his insider’s knowledge and research expertise, he fleshes out how Pakistani and Muslim identities have been accepted, ignored and critiqued in Birmingham’s schools over recent decades; he thereby places recent controversies, such as the Trojan Horse Affair, within a nuanced account of the shifts in national and local policy and practice. This book will be invaluable for anyone – whether academic or professional, and whether in the UK or beyond – interested in these increasingly problematised debates across education.”
Nigel Fancourt, Associate Professor, University of Oxford.
“This book makes a timely contribution in questioning the received wisdom of ‘toxic Pakistani masculinity’ which often dominates most popular discourses on Muslim boys in schools. Iqbal deserves praise for writing this highly accessible, theoretically informed and empirically rich study. Moreover, Iqbal’s framing of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy takes the reader beyond simple theory and analysis by providing some useful policy recommendations.”
Dr Shamim Miah, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield, author of Muslim Schooling and Question of Self-Segregation and more recently, Muslims, Schooling and Security: Trojan Horse, Prevent and Racial Politics.

British Pakistani boys, education and the role of religion: In the land of the Trojan Horse

“This is a must read book. Iqbal’s empirical evidence not only examines British Pakistani Boys but interrogates issues concerning mono and multi faith environments, gender issues and the realities of monoculture within the possibilities of multiculture. A key and important text for education and the wider social sciences for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.”

Richard Race, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Roehampton.

“Iqbal opens the door on the complex connections between ethnicity, religiosity and education. Drawing on both his insider’s knowledge and research expertise, he fleshes out how Pakistani and Muslim identities have been accepted, ignored and critiqued in Birmingham’s schools over recent decades; he thereby places recent controversies, such as the Trojan Horse Affair, within a nuanced account of the shifts in national and local policy and practice. This book will be invaluable for anyone – whether academic or professional, and whether in the UK or beyond – interested in these increasingly problematised debates across education.”

Nigel Fancourt, Associate Professor, University of Oxford.

“This book makes a timely contribution in questioning the received wisdom of ‘toxic Pakistani masculinity’ which often dominates most popular discourses on Muslim boys in schools. Iqbal deserves praise for writing this highly accessible, theoretically informed and empirically rich study. Moreover, Iqbal’s framing of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy takes the reader beyond simple theory and analysis by providing some useful policy recommendations.”

Dr Shamim Miah, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield, author of Muslim Schooling and Question of Self-Segregation and more recently, Muslims, Schooling and Security: Trojan Horse, Prevent and Racial Politics.

Javed Iqbal 1961-2018

It’s a sad day. Javed Iqbal has left us, hopefully to go to a better place, without pain and sickness.

I have fond memories of Javed. I met him only twice. The second occasion was when he interviewed me at The Drum, after I wrote my book, Dear Birmingham. My one regret is that I did not get to know him better while he was still with us. I hope to make up for it however I can.

A few years ago Javed and I were included in a heritage project ‘Four Fathers’ which had been set up by Faisal Hussain. Listening to the interview is a good start in getting to know something of the person Javed was.

In addition, the following entry on Facebook, by Mukhtar Dar, who had brought us together also provides a glimpse into Javed’s life.

JAVED IQBAL
1961 – 2018
REST IN POWER
My dear Comrade & friend

It is with deep sadness that I heard of the passing of my dear friend and comrade Javed Iqbal. Javed had fought cancer over the last year and a half with the same fighting spirit that he had, throughout his life, fought injustice. He was courageous, dignified, compassionate and focused – this is why I will miss him and love him always.

It was in 1981, on a coach, heading towards Leeds to demonstrate in support of the Bradford 12, that I first met Javed. We exchanged views, he was learned, thoughtful and incredibly humble – we had so much in common. We both came to England at the age of 11, with our mothers to join our fathers who worked in the steel smelting foundries of the northern cities – our political awaking in the 80s was forged out of the anti-racist struggles in the belly of the beast and we understood the need to connect and support the struggles of our peoples back home in Pakistan.

Javed was born in Mirpur, Kashmir, he was a member of UK’s Militant Tendency and The Jadojehad group (The Struggle) in Pakistan; he returned to Pakistan in 85 and spent several years helping to build the movement. He was instrumental in forming the Labour Party Pakistan and worked closely with Dr Lal Khan’s Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. As a Marxist socialist he worked tirelessly for the socialist transformation of Pakistan and supported the worldwide struggles of workers, peasants, women and the downtrodden oppressed peoples and minorities.

I was fortunate along with my comrades to have worked with Javed as members of the Birmingham based South Asian Alliance. Javed’s easygoing chilled-out demeanour along with his welcoming smile made him the natural choice for hosting and chairing many of our events. Amongst the many of the events that he helped to organise and chair included the Faiz Ahmed Faiz Centenary symposium in 2011, the international conference on the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising, the 70th anniversary of Partition with international speakers, as well as many meetings with invited guest speakers from Pakistan, he was also the longstanding chairperson of the Asian Resource Centre.

Javed engaged and brought together socialists from across the ideological divides, Trotskyites, Marxist Leninists, Maoists, liberals, believers and non believers, he was a humble organiser, a movement builder and not an egotistical limelight seeker, he brought us together when we fell out and knocked our heads together to focus on the bigger picture, he was fondly described by our women comrades as a gentleman and a feminist and to us all he was ‘Yaraan da Yaar’.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Javed’s wife Miriam, his daughter, his family, his comrades and his friends – we salute you with Lal Salaam comrade Javed!

This article by Lal Khan in Asian Marxist Review gives an insight into the political activism of Javed Iqbal.

Here is the above article in Urdu.