GCSE text­book claim­ing Caribbean men are ‘largely ab­sent’ from fam­i­lies is with­drawn af­ter out­rage

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

AGCSE so­ci­ol­ogy text­book which claims fa­thers and hus­bands are “largely ab­sent” from Caribbean fam­i­lies has been with­drawn fol­low­ing out­rage on so­cial me­dia. The sec­ondary school text­book, of­fi­cially ap­proved by exam board AQA, was widely crit­i­cised on Twit­ter for be­ing “racist” in its de­scrip­tion of Caribbean fam­i­lies.

Hod­der Ed­u­ca­tion, pub­lisher of the re­source, has now stopped sales of the text­book af­ter MP David Lammy and other crit­ics raised con­cerns about the re­in­force­ment of neg­a­tive stereo­types.

The text­book – AQA GCSE (9-1) So­ci­ol­ogy by Rosie Owens and Ian Wood­field – reads: “In Caribbean fam­i­lies, the fa­thers and hus­bands are largely ab­sent and women as­sume the most re­spon­si­bil­ity in chil­drea­r­ing.

“When men and women live to­gether, it is usu­ally in co­hab­it­ing or com­mon law re­la­tion­ships that re­pro­duce the tra­di­tional pa­tri­ar­chal divi­sion of labour.”

The de­scrip­tion adds: “The fam­ily sys­tem is also char­ac­terised by child­shift­ing, that is, the pass­ing of chil­dren to other rel­a­tives or ac­quain­tances if the par­ents find them­selves un­able to take care of them. As a re­sult, mul­ti­ple women are in­volved in child­hood so­cial­i­sa­tion.”

Crit­ics took to so­cial me­dia to call for ev­i­dence to back up the claims made in the so­ci­ol­ogy text­book.

Twit­ter user Mother­hood_ rx said: “See­ing as its Black His­tory Month... we are as­tounded at this text from a cur­rent GCSE so­ci­ol­ogy book ap­proved by @AQA exam board. “In Caribbean fam­i­lies the fa­thers are largely ab­sent... also child shift­ing” imag­ine be­ing in class read­ing this? Where is the ev­i­dence?”

In a tweet to AQA and Hod­der Ed­u­ca­tion, Labour MP David Lammy asked: “Why are sweep­ing gen­er­al­i­sa­tions about African Caribbean peo­ple that stereo­type com­mu­ni­ties like this in your GCSE so­ci­ol­ogy text­book?

“Some­times it feels like lit­tle has changed since I was at school in the 80s.”

Rob Fer­gu­son, a re­tired so­ci­ol­ogy lec­turer, tweeted: “I do think teach­ers and train­ing providers should use this text­book ... as an ex­am­ple to stu­dents of in­sti­tu­tional racism in ed­u­ca­tion... un­til it’s with­drawn #With­drawRacistTex­tBook”.

In a state­ment is­sued on Wed­nes­day, Hod­der Ed­u­ca­tion said: “We are tak­ing this feed­back very se­ri­ously. We will be work­ing with the au­thors and re­view­ing the en­tire text­book as a re­sult of the con­cerns raised.

“Mean­while, we have stopped sup­ply­ing the book for sale.”

An AQA spokesper­son told The In­de­pen­dent: “We ab­so­lutely don’t agree with the use of stereo­types and there’s noth­ing about Caribbean fam­i­lies in our ac­tual GCSE so­ci­ol­ogy syl­labus.

“We don’t pub­lish any text­books our­selves, but we’re speaking with the pub­lisher of this book about these con­cerns and we’re pleased to hear they’ve stopped sell­ing the book while they re­view it.”

They added: “We’re re­mov­ing the book from the page on our own web­site where it’s listed as a re­source. We’re con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate and we’ll take any other ac­tion that’s nec­es­sary.”

Last month, a sec­ondary school apol­o­gised af­ter a work­sheet handed to pupils fea­tured the sug­ges­tion UK jobs were be­ing “stolen” by EU work­ers.

Stu­dents at Waltham­stow Academy in Lon­don were handed a book­let ti­tled “es­sen­tial knowl­edge” which im­plied Pol­ish mi­grants came to Bri­tain for “free health­care” and “bet­ter schools”.

A GCSE so­ci­ol­ogy text­book has been tem­po­rar­ily with­drawn fol­low­ing crit­i­cism that it was ‘racist’. (Getty/iS­tock)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.