AQA approved racist imagery in GCSE Psychology guide

By The Ligali Organisation | Sun 26 July 2020

A Psychology Revision guide approved by the AQA body has been withdrawn from sale after its inclusion of an Afripobic image was publicly challenged.


When Ligali was notified via the social media platform Twitter about an Afriphobic image in a GCSE revision guide, it challenged teachers within the British education system who used such resources.

Commenting on the imagery included in an AQA approved revision guide for GCSE psychology students and highlighted by Lizzie Jordan, from mentoring organisation Think2Speak, we wrote - ‘its time to ditch examples that draw upon white supremacist, Afriphobic tropes like the "three missionaries and three cannibals" problem.’

AQA, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, is an examination qualification awarding body responsible for assessing various subjects within the education system. The organisation endorsed the publishing of the Afriphobic image in 2017.

After seeing the Ligali statement, the Labour MP, Chi Onwurah, the Shadow Minister for Digital, Science & Tech asked why AQA was ‘promoting racist narratives as the basis of GCSE examination success?’

In response to these comments the AQA promptly wrote;

‘We have zero tolerance of racism, so this cartoon should never have made it through our textbook approval process. There are no excuses, and we’re sorry. Quite simply, when we approved this textbook in 2017, our process wasn’t good enough - but we do things differently now. We’ve contacted the publisher and we’re pleased they’re working very quickly to put this right. We’ve also asked them to review their other textbooks.’

Illuminate Publishing, the publisher of the book also responded stating;

‘We apologise unreservedly for inclusion of the image and have withdrawn the book from sale. We are replacing the image and example and are disposing of existing stock. We are deeply sorry for any offence caused and are reflecting on this moment to ensure we learn from this.’

Afriphobic tropes - three missionaries and three cannibals illustration


Misguided Colour Blind Policies

Two weeks after these statements the book is still available for purchase on the online store Amazon. Toyin Agbetu from the Ligali organisation said; ‘the spreading of racist ideas in education occurs when systematic procedures that devalue African lives and promote white supremacist values through misguided ‘colour blind’ policies are institutionalised. We have written to the AQA asking them to explain why this book is still available for sale and to provide us with details of its updated review process will prevent this occurring again.’

Book with racist image still on sale after apology and promise of removal from sale


External Links
Exam board AQA approved GCSE book with image of cannibals cooking white missionary


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