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Teachers’ podcast to ‘unlearn racism’ in schools bemoans ‘white nonsense’

Classroom
Classroom

An education podcast created by two teachers that urges listeners to “unlearn racism” in the classroom and also bemoans “white nonsense” has been condemned as “performative victimhood”.

“Unlearnsomethingpod” began in July 2023 and is hosted by Sharon Morgan, a design and technology teacher at a secondary school in London, and an anonymous primary school teacher also in the capital who calls herself “Ms D”.

One episode titled “Karens [widely understood as a dismissive term for white middle-class women] in the classroom” highlights the fact that “seven out of 10 teachers in the UK” are “white women”. In it, Ms Morgan (referred to as “Ms S”), discusses her Year 10 class starting their GCSE class and Ms D describes key stage 2 sats results.

Halfway through the teachers condemn what they call “white nonsense”, before attacking Katharine Birbalsingh, head of Michaela Community School, a leading educationalist who has spoken out against political correctness. Ms S says Ms Birbalsingh’s followers are “very smelly”.

“Unlearnsomethingpod” is said to be “for educators who are interested in unlearning racism and oppression” and has episodes that address “whiteness, white supremacy and what role this plays in schools in the UK”.

In their introductory episode, the podcasters say they want to “recommend people, practice and resources” to help listeners understand “the internalised, systematic and institutional oppression that we face as teachers”.

In an episode titled: “The microaggressions were really micro aggressioning: Teacher rant!”, the teachers criticise Kemi Badenoch, whom they jokingly call “sister Kemi”. “She’s supported by a really Right-wing fascist group in the UK,” says Ms D.

‘Role in upholding racism’

Other content focuses on the teachers’ attendance at a screening of “Deconstructing Karen”, a documentary about white women and “their daily role in upholding [racism], their conditioning to ignore it and the essential part they can play in tearing down the systems that are killing black and brown people every single day”, and Ms Morgan discussing “microaggressions” with her Year 7 class.

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: “It is hard to imagine a less racist environment than an English state school.

“If these teachers regard themselves as ‘oppressed’ they should try working at a school in China or North Korea.

“Their blog is just performative victimhood designed to enhance their status in the staff room.”

Ms D is the author of an Instagram account titled “decolonisingmyclassroom”, which provides sources to “help decolonise and unlearn in my primary school classrooms” and has 10,000 followers.

One post is titled “Creating an anti-oppressive school culture”, and it also offers “anti-racism questions to ask when choosing your child’s primary school”.

In a video shared on the account, a black woman tells two white women, one nodding along, that she is “unmoved by white tears”.

Commenting on the post, Ms D writes “I love the message but please stop nodding lady. It feels dismissive or maybe it’s just me”, above the hashtags “antiracistclassroom” and “decolonisededucation”.

In another post, Ms D expresses her appreciation at her account being “on a list of recommended resources for new trainee teachers here in the UK”.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This type of loaded language does not belong in the classroom. Schools are required to remain politically impartial and should be mindful of the need to not promote any partisan political views to pupils.

“Political issues relating to racial and social justice should be taught about in a balanced and factual manner. We expect all schools and teachers to strictly adhere to our guidance when discussing such issues in the classroom to promote respectful and informative discussion.”

Ms Morgan and her co-host were approached for comment.

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