Barnardo’s sparks row after suggesting parents and grandparents should teach children about ‘white privilege’
- Tory MPs claimed Barnardo’s ‘political activism’ threatened its charitable status
- Esther McVey said the charity’s guidance was ‘misguided and misjudged’
- Vice-president Dr David Barnardo said the charity could not be ‘colour blind’
Britain’s biggest children’s charity was at the centre of a storm last night after it suggested parents and grandparents should teach children about ‘white privilege’.
Barnardo’s was reported to the official charity regulator after Tory MPs claimed that its ‘political activism’ could be incompatible with its charitable status.
The attack came from a dozen MPs, including ex-Tory Cabinet Minister Esther McVey who spent four years in a Barnardo’s home.
She told The Sunday Telegraph she was ‘deeply troubled’ by the charity’s guidance, saying it was a ‘misguided and misjudged move away from what the charity is about and what it ought to be doing’.
Barnardo’s was at the centre of a storm last night after it suggested parents and grandparents should teach children about ‘white privilege’
The intervention by the Tory MPs comes after Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch said in October that teaching children about ‘white privilege and their inherited racial guilt’ could be breaking the law.
But the charity hit back yesterday, with vice-president Dr David Barnardo saying the organisation could not be ‘colour blind’, and that ‘black, Asian and minority ethnic children face additional challenges’.
The row centres on new guidance from Barnado’s entitled ‘White privilege – a guide for parents.’
Posted online a few weeks ago, it says: ‘We believe educating children about white privilege is a part of [teaching them about the world], and so is talking to them about how to be actively anti-racist.’
It adds: ‘You might have heard the phrase “white privilege” before – it’s very common across the pond in the US. You might also think that it doesn’t exist in the UK. But racism is very real here too.’
More than a dozen Tory MPs – including Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense group at Westminster – wrote to Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan warning that they had asked Charity Commission chairman Baroness Stowell to investigate ‘whether this departure into political activism is compatible with Barnardo’s noble purpose and charitable status’.
The attack came from a dozen MPs, including ex-Tory Cabinet Minister Esther McVey (pictured) who spent four years in a Barnardo’s home
They added: ‘We were deeply saddened to discover that Barnardo’s of all organisations should have allowed ideological dogma to displace the compassion and generosity which, for many years, Barnardo’s has been known.
‘The irrational notion that privilege or prejudice are the exclusive preserve of a particular ethnic group is as spiteful as it is silly…’
Barnardo’s said in a statement last night that throughout its 154-year history it had ‘constantly raised awareness of the plight of the most vulnerable children in society’ and that it ‘wasn’t political activism to remove barriers for the most vulnerable children.’
But it added: ‘We certainly don’t believe Britain is racist or that anyone should feel guilt about being from a particular background.’
A spokesman for the Charity Commission last night said they would consider the complaint.