A Jewish teacher has been told by his trade union that he is black, even as he insists that he is not.
Jason Wardill, a design technology teacher of Mediterranean and Jewish heritage, was invited by the National Education Union (NEU) to a meeting of black teachers and for a year since then has been trying unsuccessfully to correct his ethnicity.
The NEU claims that because he does not consider himself white, he had to be registered as black.
He reportedly told the Daily Mail: “It made me feel pretty helpless. BAME would be absolutely fine, as it encompasses everything.” He went on to note that when he joined the NEU, he ticked “mixed other” in the ethnicity box, as this was “the only option available for me”, adding: “Jewish was an option in the religion section only, which leads me to believe the NEU doesn’t recognise Jewish as a race. They only appear to recognise it as a religion.”
He observed that the ‘black’ category was no longer an ethnic marker but a political label. “They said they could put an asterisk next to black to show it was political. I said that shouldn’t make a difference, because I am not black. I don’t feel that a black member would necessarily want me down as a black member, and rightly so.”
A spokesman for the NEU reportedly said that it “uses the term ‘black’ when communicating about some union activities to members who self-identify as black, Asian or any other minority ethnic groups who do not identify as white. There are also other times and projects, events or policy initiatives where we would engage specific groups of members such as Asian women members, Jewish members or Roma groups.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “At the NEU, the once noble practice of identifying minorities in order to enable their advancement has now degenerated into an absurd and dangerous inverted form of Aryanism. Under the NEU’s contorted logic, ‘white’ and ‘black’ are no longer useful or meaningful categories of racial identity but are instead political labels used to promote a divisive agenda. Rather than lifting minorities up, these politicised tick-boxes belittle them, and they deny individuals, including Jews, their right to identify as they choose. The NEU must recognise that any policy that orders Jews to identify as black, regardless of whether they actually are, is discriminatory, and erases their true identity.”