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Now PE is RACIST says taxpayer-funded study that claims that teaching children to play football, rugby, cricket and netball favours 'white privilege'

School PE lessons are racist, according to an astonishing taxpayer-funded study.
Teaching children to play football, rugby, cricket, netball and rounders favours ‘privileged’ white students, the politically correct 20-page report claims.

The research, which was criticised last night as ‘ludicrous’ and ‘patronising’ by a top black footballer, says sports that have been taught in schools for generations hark back to Britain’s colonial past and make ‘whiteness’ the norm.


Its authors, who were given a grant of nearly £10,000 to examine PE classes in England and Norway, suggest that learning dances from different cultures should be given greater prominence.

They add that the emphasis in PE on health and fitness could even be imposing Western ideals of how people’s bodies should look.

They also claim that ‘character-building’ practises such as ‘fair play’ have European roots.
But last night former England football star Les Ferdinand, a black player who is now director of football at Queens Park Rangers, derided the study as ‘ridiculous’.

He said he had never been aware of racism during his ten years of school PE and added: ‘Ethnic minorities have gone on to play football and rugby for England and they have all gone through the same PE curriculum.

‘This research is a waste of money and a waste of time. It is ludicrous.’
Lord Ouseley, who chairs the anti-racism football campaign Kick It Out, said it was ‘crazy’ to put such sports in ‘a context of ethnicity and racism’ as they were played all over the world.
He added: ‘This research is an irrelevance and also patronising because people make their own decisions about their involvement in sport.’

The report – called A Whitewashed Curriculum? The Construction of Race in Contemporary PE Curriculum Policy – says traditional games were developed in the Victorian era by ‘white privileged males’ at elite public schools that often discriminated against minorities.

The study, written in often baffling jargon and published in the journal Sport, Education and Society, says the games have been used by the British as ‘part of a civilising process’ and transported around the world ‘as an extension of nationalism and the Empire’.

The authors say they can trace ‘the legacies of colonialism and Eurocentric ways of reasoning’ in PE curriculums, particularly with regard to team games and ‘character-building’ practices such as ‘fair play’. They add that PE classes are ‘whitewashed’ because they are based on values that had predominantly white historical roots. ‘Certain white people and their practices are privileged and valued,’ they say.

The study was conducted by Anne Flintoff, Professor of Physical Education and Sport at Leeds Beckett University, and Fiona Dowling from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo. They received a grant of £9,940 from the largely taxpayer-funded British Academy to support their work.

The authors claim that English educationalists prefer to ‘pander to the feelings and fears of white people rather than aim to eradicate racism’. They also criticise the PE curriculum for portraying ‘traditional’ sports – rugby, cricket, football, tennis, hockey, netball and rounders – as the ideal ‘bearers of culture’ and as representing the ‘best that has been thought and said’. They claim this emphasis results in pupils who did not conform to the prevailing values of a ‘whitewashed PE’ being seen as ‘lacking’ or ‘deficient’.

Bizarrely, they say that by focusing on the need for ‘healthy, active lives’ there is ‘a danger PE lessons can contribute to a recolonisation of ethnic minorities’ physicality’.
Quoting from other research, they say: ‘It is through the monocultural and ahistorical language of discourses of fatness and fitness in schools that young people’s bodies, in subtle ways, are pedagogized to white ideals of the body.’

The report also states that PE is ‘constructed as a predominantly white, unmarked space’.

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