Church of England under fire over school 'white supremacy' resources

The Church of England has been criticised over racial justice resources designed for use in its primary schools. 

The criticism centres on the Diocese of Coventry's 'Responding to Racism' resource which includes a graphic called 'The Pyramid of White Supremacy' on its list of recommended resources.

The pyramid, produced by The Equality Institute, displays a spectrum of 'white supremacy', ranging from 'indifference' to 'mass murder'. 

The 'Responding to Racism' guidance recommends that teachers "teach pupils about what white privilege is and how they can become more aware of it" and use visuals like the white supremacy pyramid "to help pupils understand how bias, stereotypes and prejudice can lead to racist words and actions, leading to physical harm and death".

Writing in the Daily Mail, Catholic writer and historian Catherine Pepinster said that the pyramid "insidiously ... undermines basic Christian ideals", like the command to love our neighbour as ourselves.

She said that the Church of England should instead "avoid sowing division" and called critical race theory "a danger that faces all Christians".

"Far from helping pupils understand the importance of loving their neighbours — perhaps the most important of all Christian doctrines — it emphasises the differences between children on the basis of their skin colour and it encourages them to think of themselves as morally flawed," she said.

"It is a poisonous system, damaging young minds. And precisely because they are so young, most children will lack the critical faculties to analyse the teaching material and reject its errors.

"On the contrary, pupils in this age group assume that whatever they are taught must be correct. To inflict this 'pyramid of white supremacy' on them is an abuse of the trust they and their parents have placed in the schools."

She added, "Drawing lines through our society and telling some children that they've been born on the wrong side, because of the colour of their skin, is wrong and must be resisted."

Anglican broadcaster Calvin Robinson said on Twitter, "Every day it is something else with this lot. Neo-Marxist ideologies such as gender theory, queer theory and critical race theory are incompatible with Christianity.

"You can preach the Gospel or you can peddle woke claptrap. You cannot do both."

The Church of England has defended its approach to teaching racial justice across its schools.

In a statement, its chief education officer Nigel Genders said that decisions around the use of resources were made by each school and "we trust the judgement [of] our teachers and school leaders to do this".

"In Church of England schools we are committed to addressing the issue [of racial justice]," he said.

"Not by building up some people at the expense of others or by suggesting children are personally responsible for past injustices; rather we must face our past and by doing so build a more just society for all.

"This includes learning about the enduring impact of slavery and the reality of institutional and systemic racism."