Monday, 19 September 2011

Is the British Education System Inherently Racist Towards British Born Chinese?

We've all had to go through the British education system, whether you are an overseas student , Hapa, or British Born Chinese.

Guess who has the potential to come out the worst?

In most British schools you are taught British history. You are lied to about how 'Great' Britain is. Britain - the home of western social engineering and China is the one country that Britain failed to conquer despite its best opium efforts, and add to its little collection of colonies that made up the British Empire.

Typically, both immigrant Chinese, Hapas, and also British Born Chinese as hard working middle class , make the best efforts to send their children to the best education.

But whilst hapas can climb the ranks of the white elite, and children of immigrants, once graduating, unless continuing their further education in a British College or university, can go home and show off their well spoken english accent to their Hong Kong or mainlander family and friends.

For us British Born Chinese, there is little advantage that can come away from a public school education except a posh accent,casual racism that is supposed to 'toughen us up', which we can either fight back against, or be temporarily beaten down by.

With the lack of parental understanding provided by 1st gen / overseas parents for your situation, despite not knowing the figures, one can only imagine the 'casual racism taunts' that with no real ethnic social group to have standing by to support your Chineseness, and the extent you may have to suffer casual racism if you dont 'toughen up' at school- whether day school, boarding school, or regular comprehensive.

Indeed the only option one has from leaving a British education, whether public or comprehensive is joining in the social life , that probably was developed during the miserable teen years spent at school, in order to 'fit in', and this is left to develop further at university where we due to our lack of chinese social groups ( typically immigrant Chinese societies, whilst hapas conveniently ignore their chinese side to climb the ranks of the in-groups) , Again we either learn to embrace this culture  such as going to magaluf, getting drunk, taking drugs. Later on this disparity can lead to identity crisis and the need to fit in, /or we are lost and the cultural anomoly continues.

For boys, unless embracing the British Culture we are left to our own devices, unless we happen to be show-offs, socially  extraverted extroadinaires, and for girls, end up with white partners in their desperate hope to fit in and eventually outbreed the socially engineered self-hatred.

Truly the British educational system is where the British Chinese destruction begins. And unless Chinese people are welcomed wholeheartedly and not just paid lip service, and the two-faced social engineering takes a rest from demonising China and it's people , without a stronger British Born culture, this travesty will continue, and sadly create many more casualties of future British Born Chinese, causing psychological damage that no untold amount of money can fix.

Now if only us Chinese/future parents truly appreciated the power of politics and cultural identity, we could maybe do something to make life easier for those future potential victims?


  1. I think your opinions are pretty strong on this and whilst i do agree that there is not enough politics geared towards BBC or chinese that live here. I think your statement that the education system is inherently racist is a tad too strong.

    I'm a history graduate, and I'm also a BBC. I don't agree that i was just taught British History, I was also taught to criticise aspects of British history or any type of history as part of my secondary school degree. There are GCSE modules that do look into communist china and yes it is a biased view of China but not directly hateful to the chinese. However, there doesn't seem to be any form of history dedicated to the British chinese, apart from Liverpool and even then they didn't stay long and assimilated with the locals. Not only that, I think although america's asian american politics are enviable in our eyes, they have suffered alot more, such as the toishan settlers in early twentieth century to mccarthyism and strong hatred against communism. Britain's chinese have assimilated quite well, although it's far from perfect, the british way of things boils beneath the surface and thus no accusations or campaigns can be formed.

    Is the education a travesty when you consider that British Chinese are the highest performing group in acheiving top GCSE grades? Because assuming you're right and it is inherently racist, are these kids not beating it to the pulp?

  2. I dnt see how a pic of a fat northern Chinese is relevant to this article. Anyway, I agree with what you said. Maybe we should set up our own schools like how Muslims does it.

  3. @Yin. A lot of the ideas here are devils advocate to provoke comments, and with me being out of touch with British school, i appreciate the update. Maybe times are changed and BBCs are better able to navigate school better.

    However school as i see it is not only about getting grades but also providing a Chinese support group. School is where as a young adult you are 'educated' into the western way of thinking, socialising etc that can hinder your Chinese pride.

    Tell me, did you find little racism at school, more Chinese support groups,higher numbers of Chinese attending your school,lots of Chinese friends?

    If the answer is YES to the above, then I guess times have changed dramatically.

  4. @Kai. I dont see how a korean girl wearing a pink sweater is relevant to your google ID, but you still use it.

    Again maybe some generous Chinese businessman would do that, but knowing how short-sighted Chinese are with their money, probably not, even though its a good idea.

    Come to think of it, why dont we have Chinese tycoons sponsoring British Education or Universities or sponsorships? Are there any? If there are, its not enough to just give money, we need real appreciation of Chinese culture and a wider influence of education, not just a one-off course.

  5. Social aspects, or after school clubs, particularly.

  6. I think different schools have different ways of dealing with things. As with the primary and secondary schools I've attended they were predominantly white so it's not possible for such support groups to happen. To be fair schools these days take racism very seriously, I remember reading a report about on how they tackle the problem. Most of the younger Chinese that I know who are still in school seem to get by very well.

    @Kai. I think the Chinese schools we've got are more or less the equivalent. But the thing is they're more focused on reading and writing Chinese rather than studying the cultural aspect of it. Even if they do, it's all about rote learning rather than something that engages young people's interest. IMO this is extremely important. From my brief experience some of the teachers there are half arsed at their jobs and don't really care about the students. No wonder a lot of the kids would've forgotten most of what they've learnt when they left. But my experience doesn't necessarily represent all Chinese schools.

  7. @BBC Ronin. Thats great to hear Chinese kids in British schools are getting much more support, I guess i AM out of touch.

    Re: Chinese schools, I read somewhere ( 2003 report) that PRC gov are encouraging more creativity in schools. If it were true, that would be great for China's future. Creativity is the key missing element IMO.

  8. Ahh I thought the comments were a little extreme.
    In reply, Yes there was racism but there was so much support for anti-bullying which overrided the racism.

    I actually did have a chinese extracurricular group that I used to volunteer after school. There was also alot of hype about chinese new year. I understand that I went to a pretty priviledged state grammar school (lots of chinese kids strive and do get accepted) that was in touch with other races that aren't associated with black history month. I also understand that perhaps my former school was only one of a kind.

    On the subject of Black History month, I think THAT hindered the fact that many chinese nowadays feel the system is inadequate. Yes slavery, but there was also slavery in sanfrancisco over the toishan settlers. Asian history month should also be advocated e.g: Hong Kong, the independence of India. It shouldn't be JUST black history month, but sadly in both indian and chinese cultures, I don't think there is enough push to give us a month.
    Back to the system, I don't think it is hindering 'chinese pride' because a lot of school allow their students to be able to take chinese GCSEs and Alevels within the school exam period, they would actually book it in for you. I know mine did and i did my GCSE like 7 years ago. And past papers of chinese gcse and alevels have featured the chinese space expedition and some cultural history on confucious.

    Also, Universities run a tight ship and keep money rolling in from Alumni, Im not surprised if there are a few chinese tycoons sponsering British Unis, as a way of saying thank you to the uni. I had a friend who worked in these offices and most of the large contributions are from overseas.

  9. ^ I think you'll find the way the British system works is the most equality goes to the most screwed peoples. In other words, africa was colonised and pillaged by the monarchy and co so Blacks get their history month. This is the same as in america.Pakistan and India is pretty much in the pocket of the brits or at least dont provide so much of a threat, India with its ministers emulating the white colonial masters and huge rich poor divide and Pakistan, not really much of a threat with so much easy false demonisation of terrorism, so asians have integrated better. I guess with Chinese, China wasnt colonised or pillaged or occupied as much so our identity in the UK is more as Chinese in Britain, even though we may be British Born Chinese.

    In some ways, clinging to your cultural roots becomes more important once you have been occupied by the west. This also includes other east asian countries eg Japan ,Korea.

    Taiwan and Singapore im not too sure about.

  10. Hi guys!Back temporarily, hiding behind yesterdays typhoon! Nice article Happy British Chinese, keep up the good work!

    I'm not aware of Communist China being statutory on the history curriculum, as far as I'm aware, different schools follow different exam boards, if they choose not to cover it, they wont. Besides, I really don't see the connection, studying communist chinese history will usually be taught in such a way that is very anti-Chinese, or anti-CCP, anti-communist, it will be extremely negative.

    The curriculum will reflect the interests of the nation state, the bias is towards Europe, there is very little if any far east history on the school curriculum. Mao if taught will simply be taught alongside Hitler and Stalin/Lenin as Tyrants / dictators, which is music to the ears of the Brit's.

    Incidently, Chinese tycoon and their schools...perhaps that isn;t such a good idea. Only today whilst having lunch in the dai pai dong, a couple of school kids from the local school came in wearing school shirts with the name of the school Li Ka Shing on the back. IS this really how you want BBC's to develop, into capitalistic material driven apolitical types just like their far east counter parts? Isn't that part of the problem already we have with BBC's?

    RE: ronin. I dont agree, schools only take racism seriously if they have a high ethnic student population,its usually reflected in the equal opportunities policies which is obligatory, it doesn't mean they will take action against racism. Hemdean House school article and the Todmorden articles are good examples. The Chinese are always dispersed in schools, always a tiny minority, they don't any influence upon consideration of school policy.

  11. Yin, you are fortunate to entered a very good selective Grammar school, you are in the minority of course. There are UK schools now that teach Chinese, Chinese mandarin putonghua that is, that is not the language of my family tongue. Indeed for the BBC's of the comonwealth generation who learnt Cantonese in Sunday school, they learnt it for the purpose of speaking to their family, their parents, otherwise they'd be learning mandarin only. Why is mandarin taught in Uk schools and not cantonese which has never been taught in uk schools? For money and business and finance opportunities in the far east, they're betting on China being the next super power,this does not bode well for the cantonese speaking BBC's of the commonwealth generation.

  12. I've never heard of one case of multiple bullies being permanently expelled whilst the victim stays in the school, isn't it usually the case that the bullied victim is removed from the school, whilst the perpetrators remain in the school? I believe so...

  13. @BBCz glad to see you back and surviving that typhoon which i googled is now on its way to vietnam...

    'capitalistic material driven apolitical types' ha that is a bit..harsh. im guessing that by having his name on the back of the shirts, to me, the only reason tycoons sponsor is their ego - its typical chinese businessman mentality to get their name out there. i think bbcs do lack a branding however, maybe we are the 'easygoing brand'...sorry going off topic here.

    'why isnt cantonese taught in uk schools' that would be brilliant taking down white racists with cantonese swear words and getting a grade A for respect. imagine.

    school bullying was a topic i shouldve ventured more on this article, but on retrospect most of us probably dont really want to share past painful memories. but yes, its the procedure is that the victim is removed from school for safety.the worst victims of chinese bullying may well be in the boarding schools, behind closed doors, but i guess it can happen anywhere. at least for some us as potential future parents its something worth considering.i did read on an asian american blog that a mother wanted her young son to have an asian american 'leadership coach' for her children and said there would be good money in western-chinese male adult being like some kind of personal trainer/tutor/coach. i guess she was quite affluent,to even think of an idea, but its not a bad idea to implement over here seeing as young bbc males grow up lacking so many male role models, apart from ( presumably ) their own father.

  14. haha, theres another stormy typhoon on the way. level 3 warning at the moment as I write this.

    schools are actually required to report cases of hate speech to the local authorities. in fact there more thaN 20,000 UNDER-11S who were reprimanded for such behaviour in england and wales in 2008-2009, but I would hazard a guess that its largely homophobic and religious hatred rather than racial hatred, again I must repeat reprimanded simply means being told... "you've been a naughty boy" and thats it. Schools will do their utmost to not report such behaviour because they don't want bad publicity.

  15. @ ronin, i agree about the chinese sunday schools, overly mechanical way of learning chinese