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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity hits back in white privilege row

This news post is about 2 years old

Barnardo's faced online abuse - and criticism from Tory MPs - after a blog offered parents tips on how to discuss white privilege with their children

A children’s charity has hit back after receiving criticism for offering advice on discussing ‘white privilege’ with children.

Barnardo’s received online abuse and a letter from 12 Conservative MPs expressing ‘concern and disappointment’ after a blog post had offered parents tips on how to discuss white privilege with their children.

The post acknowledged that, while the charity’s white service users faced “inequality and disadvantage” on a daily basis, service users from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds faced additional challenges due to the colour of their skin.

On Friday (4 Dec), 12 Conservative MPs wrote to Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, expressing their concern and disappointment at the blogpost.

The MPs claimed that the term “white privilege” did “great damage to the cause of the poor and marginalised”.

They described the post as “ideological dogma” and “divisive militancy”, and said they had asked the chair of the Charity Commission to investigate the post.

Barnardo’s vice-president, Dr David Barnardo, hit back at the letter, saying the charity was “as committed as ever to representing and advocating for all vulnerable children”, but could not be “colour blind”.

“Whilst poverty and disadvantage is a reality for children from all backgrounds, colours and creeds – across our UK services, day in day out we see that black, Asian and minority ethnic children face additional challenges as well,” he said.

“On top of experiencing poverty, lack of access to opportunity, childhood trauma, multiple forms of abuse, and criminal exploitation, this group are also treated less fairly at school, by employers, and by the criminal justice system. They have poorer housing, and poorer health outcomes.”

Barnardo also said Javed Khan – the charity’s chief executive, who is from a BAME background – had been the target of “explicit racism” following the blogpost.

A statement published by charity leaders body Acevo and signed by the leaders of more than 70 charities backed the work being done by Barnardo’s.

“The anti-racism work of Barnardo’s and any other organisation meaningfully tackling racism, will always receive our support,” it said.

“In particular we offer our support to Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan and all other black, Asian and minoritised ethnic leaders for the racism directed at them because of their organisations’ important work on white privilege.”

The letter from the MPs came only days after Charity Commission chair Baroness Stowell said charities should avoid “straying into party politics”.



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