Hodder withdraws sociology textbook over offensive statements

Hodder withdraws sociology textbook over offensive statements

Hodder Education has withdrawn a GCSE sociology textbook from sale after concerns were raised that it contained a number of offensive statements about minority groups.

The publisher withdrew all outstanding stock of the AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology textbook last week. The book is no longer available to purchase and a fully revised new edition will be published next year.

The move came after a Huffington Post report that the book revealed controversial statements about minorities. The book, originally approved by the national exam board, had attracted criticism for statements such as that Caribbean fathers are “largely absent” and that children in those communities are passed between relatives.

Huffington Post said it subsequently obtained a copy of the textbook and found other statements within it concerning ethnic minority families and working class children. One passage reportedly read: “The typical Chinese family is a strongly patriarchal (male-dominated) arrangement based in the three rules of obedience: a daughter obeys her father, a married woman obeys her husband, a widow obeys her son.”

It also included the statements: “In Sub-Saharan Africa, individuals belong to a wide kinship network rather than a single family unit.If a wife does not have children then she can be replaced and the husband can take another wife"; and “Different ethnic groups place different levels of importance on education. Some groups, such as Indian and Chinese, see education as important and encourage children to work hard, whereas, other ethnic groups may not show the same commitment to education."

Social media users criticised the statements as "divisive" and "racist", and as being unsupported by demonstrable research.

A spokesperson for Hodder Education told The Bookseller: "We have taken the comments we have received on content within our GCSE Sociology textbook very seriously, and we are really very sorry for any hurt and offence we have caused.  We have now reviewed the full text with our authors and feel we cannot reissue the current edition; instead we are starting work on a fully revised new edition which will be published next spring.

"We plan to reach out to groups who have contacted us to help review this new edition and will review our internal processes to ensure something like this cannot happen again.

"As part of our planned communication with customers, we will of course be dealing with requests for any further information through our dedicated email inbox: aqasociology@hoddereducation.co.uk and will be shortly uploading a helpsheet for schools at www.hoddereducation.co.uk."