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The Disadvantage of Being Called Disadvantage

Updated: Aug 15, 2018





Why call a group of young inner-city black people a disadvantaged group? It stinks of irony.

The UK GOV who labels these groups as such is in part responsible for the group's status. Here's the definition:

"Disadvantaged groups are groups of persons that experience a higher risk of poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and violence than the general population... not a quality inherent to certain groups of persons."

I'm not arguing so much the definition, rather I'm disputing the term itself and it's used on BME (including mix-d¹ children i.e. children from the black diversity). And anyway "not a quality inherent?" Despite the fact that 45% of black children live in poverty compared with 25% of white children (Centre for Labour and Social Studies, 2011 consensus). Since when have white children as whole been more at risk of discrimination than BMEs? I would say being less at risk of poverty and discrimination is a privilege of some white children.

Black people in Britain are subject to structural racism and its effects. It's this structure that labels them as disadvantaged. A white system that imposes a white racist standard on these black inner-city kids.This structural system benefits certain groups at the expense of others. In other words, the advantaged who are predominantly and disproportionately white benefit from a system that advantages them and consequently disadvantages others such as black inner-city children.

"Disadvantaged groups include but are not limited to ethnic minorities... and children." So if you're black and a child living in an inner city, you're more likely to be disadvantaged than say a white child. Black is the most defining characteristic here of disadvantage.


It's a government problem. It's not a disadvantaged group problem. It's a disentitling term given by the entitled to the unentitled. It's not the disadvantaged calling themselves disadvantaged it's the advantaged naming them such.

The disadvantages can only exist where there are advantages right? In the absence of an advantaged group, there would be no disadvantaged black inner-city kids. By virtue of being in a so-called advantaged group, it's putting others in disadvantaged groups. In other words, the advantaged are indirectly responsible for those who are disadvantaged. Advantage and disadvantage are inextricably linked.

So why call them disadvantaged? Does that help them feel better, be better and do better? Calling someone, anyone, disadvantaged is both self-fulfilling and negative. To the disadvantaged, this status could seem like a permanent, if not the hopeless determiner.


Add-on labels to disadvantaged kids  (which usually go hand in hand with disadvantaged group) such as you're  a problem, you're naughty and these children will go through life believing that is what they are. At a certain point, they're going to say, "maybe I am that person then". I think it's a complete lack of understanding of people from BAME groups in the mainstream. 


As the economist Thomas Sowell said, "It is so easy to be wrong—and to persist in being wrong—when the costs of being wrong are paid by others."

¹mix-d means mixed race, check out www.mix-d.org

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