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GCSE book pulled after stereotyping Caribbean dads as 'largely absent'

AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology

A publisher has said it will stop selling a GCSE textbook after it was found to contain stereotypes about Caribbean families.

AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology says Caribbean men are "largely absent" from family situations.

The comments have been called "really dangerous" as there's no social or historical context.

Hodder Education says it's taking concerns "extremely seriously" and will stop supplying the book for sale.

Image caption This passage appears on page 94 of the AQA-approved exam text

The paragraph in the sociology of families section of the book reads: "In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing.

"When men and women live together, it is usually in cohabiting or common law relationships that reproduce the traditional patriarchal division of labour."

It adds: "The family system is also characterised by child-shifting, that is, the passing of children to other relatives or acquaintances if the parents find themselves unable to take care of them. As a result, multiple women are involved in childhood socialisation."

People on social media have called the text "racist".

Tamu Thomas is from Motherhood Reconstructed, which celebrates black British mothers.

"This is a book which has been approved by an exam board that's supposed to be credible and progressive," she told Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"I couldn't imagine what it would feel like if you were a black child, sitting in class and reading a statement like that.

"I do acknowledge that the number of families with absent fathers is higher in the black community, proportionally. But when something is put forward as fact like that without explaining the historical reasons why that might be the case, without any context, that's really dangerous."

Image copyright Tamu Thomas
Image caption "This textbook just implied black fathers are feckless," Tamu Thomas says

"If we had an educational system that actually studied and analysed the black experience, including the impact of the slave trade and racism in society, it would be different," Tamu says.

The GCSE textbook was originally released in 2014 and an updated version, which still includes the paragraph, was published in 2017.

AQA said in a statement: "We don't agree with any stereotypes and there's nothing about Caribbean families in our actual GCSE Sociology syllabus.

"We don't produce textbooks ourselves - but we'll be speaking with the publisher of this book about these concerns, investigating thoroughly and taking any necessary action."

Publisher Hodder Education has responded: "We are taking this feedback very seriously; we will be working with the authors and reviewing the entire textbook as a result of the concerns raised. Meanwhile we have stopped supplying the book for sale."

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