The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is dishonest, offensive and duplicitous. This is why so many individuals, groups and organisations have been so critical of the report.
Its dishonest because it is a deliberate attempt to change the narrative around race and colour by disregarding previous research, studies and other formal investigations. All of these reports have concluded with the existence of institutional racism within the structures and systems across UK society.
The report on Race and Ethnic Disparities also seeks to undermine the work of countless selfless individuals and organisations. Individuals and organisations who have fought for the right of black and ethnic minority people to live and work free from the stain of discrimination and racism.
The report does not provide any solutions to the problem of a society that is still deeply affected by race and colour. Its fundamental tenet is that institutional racism doesn’t really exist. What the report is implying is that as long as you attain a good education and work hard, you will then be treated/accepted as an equal citizen of the UK. But as the data shows this is not the case.
For example, if this was true why do we continue to have historical data which shows the disparities in stop and search, the justice system, health, school exclusions, employment rates, housing, etc. In addition to this we have the Windrush scandal which reveals how race and colour continues to influence government policy.
The report suggests that organisations should cease using unconscious bias training because it doesn’t change attitudes. This is blatantly untrue because the emphasis of the training is to change behaviour not attitude. However, it does not suggest an alternative. Why is that?
The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is offensive on a number of levels. One example is that it suggests that we should tell a different story about slavery. How can you tell a different story about human chatel slavery, mass murder and rape? They would never in a report say we need to tell a different story about the holocaust. The people on the commission deserve all the criticism they are getting.
It is duplicitous for the members of the commission to deny the lived experience of the vast majority of black and ethnic minority people in the UK.
The views of the commission appear to be rooted in the belief that their personal success is an indication that racism and discrimination doesn’t really exist!
Finally, there is one concept which has been touted by the Chair of the commission and other committee members which is the notion of ‘victimhood’.
Their view is that those who consistently complain about their experience of discrimination and racism is somehow a sign that they are suffering from victimhood and less likely to succeed in life. How does this explain the many successful black and minority people who are championing racial equality? Are they suffering from victimhood?
Is it not conceivable that those black and ethnic minorities who lack empathy about the lived experience of members of their own community could be suffering from a form of victimhood as they chose to join forces with people who do not have our best interest at heart?
We do not advocate that all ethnic minorities are the same or should think the same, but the least we should expect is that they should not be complicit in the government so called ‘culture wars”
on behalf of the Trustees of Enfield Caribbean Association