Sign In for Full Access

Quick access through the institutional single sign-on Manchester Met Sign In
Skip this for now
Public Access Here

Sign In for Free Access

Login with email for free guest access to a range of Rise content
Logging You In!
Incorrect Password (Click Here to Reset)! Passwords Must Match Password must be more than 8 characters
Skip this for now
Man Met Access Here

Controversies and Debates around Inclusion and Equality

The Concept of ‘Wokeism’

The term ‘woke’ is at the centre of many of the fiercest political and cultural debates at the moment. Some people say being woke is a sign of awareness to social issues, or issues around social justice such as inclusion. And this is how the term originated. Others have begun to use the term as an insult, weaponising the term to criticise people’s views particularly around identity politics. It is a term increasingly used as an insult to people who support inclusion, diversity and equality. It is a central focus of a series of essays recently written by a group of Conservative MPs, who call themselves, The Common Sense Group.

The Common Sense Group

The Common Sense Group is a group of Conservative Parliamentarians chaired by John Hayes MP. Their book, Common Sense. Conservative Thinking for a Post Liberal Age is a series of essays setting out a vision of how the party should adopt ‘common sense’ solutions to a range of identified challenges. Within the book, in his essay, What is Wokeism and How Can it Be Defeated?, Gareth Bacon MP, writes of the concept of ‘wokeism’ and the ‘woke ideology’ and comments on what he sees are the failings of the Equality Act (2010)

‘Interpretation of existing law has added considerable momentum to the impact of ‘woke’ campaigns. For example, judicial interpretation of the Equality Act 2010 has had the effect of enshrining the notion that if one says one has been offended on grounds of race, religion, sexuality, gender etc., then one almost automatically has been. This gives huge power to activists and forces the leaders of organisations to fight endless fires of grievance, stifling freedom, embittering the workplace and sowing division. Language is a key weapon in the war the ‘woke’ activists.’ (Bacon, 2021:25).

He takes this further and advocates change to the Equality Act (2010).

‘Changes in the law will almost certainly be required – for example, definitive amendments to the 2010 Equality Act as will new laws guaranteeing the freedom of speech. Government funded institutions should be required to promote British values, traditions and history. ‘ (Bacon, 2021:26)

He also feels that ‘wokeism’ is reinterpreting history.

‘In modern day Britain, this amounts to attacking the historical concept of Britain by reinterpreting British history in a slanted and de-contextualised manner, using modern viewpoints and value judgements. Thus, the British Empire is no longer seen as a modernising, civilising force that spread trade, wealth and the rule of law around the globe – instead, it is a racist, colonialist, oppressive force that invaded sovereign foreign countries, plundered them and enslaved their people en masse.’ (Bacon,2021:23)

What is your attitude to Bacon’s views?

What is Bacon saying about inclusion or exclusion? What changes to the 2010 Equality Act is Bacon asking for? What do you feel about his attitudes to the interpretation of history? You can read the full essay, using the link below:


<strong>Reflect on the two documents below. In these documents you will read the case for inclusion in schools and against inclusion in schools. List the key points of each argument and decide on your own viewpoint. </strong>


As we have seen, Inclusion is an elusive and confusing concept due to the many definitions and interpretations. It is an ongoing process. Whether we are referring to inclusive education or the much broader perspective of social inclusion, it provokes emotional responses and debates. It also presents complex challenges to existing structures such as schools and workplaces.

We will end the course with a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah – The British Poem

The British Poem
Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.
Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.
Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
And Pakistanis,
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.
Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
And Palestinians
Then add to the melting pot.
Leave the ingredients to simmer.
As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
Binding them together with English.
Allow time to be cool.
Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
Serve with justice
And enjoy.
Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than
another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.
Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause pain. Give
justice and equality to all.
Benjamin Zephaniah