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Controversial race report draws ire and criticism across British society

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Last summer's anti-racism protests in London and other major cities shocked the British establishment to the core prompting the commissioning of an essentially rigged report into racism and inequality in the UK

As widely expected the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities review on  racism in the UK has proven to be a whitewash, with the government-appointed body concluding that the UK is “no longer” a country where the “system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”.

The Commission was appointed by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in London and other major British cities.

In its 258-page report the Commission concludes that while the UK is not yet a “post-racial country”, nevertheless its “success” in “removing race-based disparity” in education and the employment sector “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries”.

The Commission is chaired by controversial education consultant and ex-charity boss, Tony Sewell, who has consistently denied that institutional racism constitutes a major problem in the UK.

In his foreword to the report Sewell said that while "impediments and disparities do exist [in British society]", these are "varied and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism".

Negative reactions 

Beyond the Tory Party and its supporters, the Commission’s report has been met by negative reactions by key stakeholders in the racism and inequalities debate.

The Labor Party’s shadow women and equalities secretary, Marsha de Cordova described the report as a "divisive polemic" which downplays institutional racism.

Leading Labor MP, David Lammy, who has led a review on racial bias in the criminal justice system, tweeted that the UK’s black community was being “gaslighted” and that there is “little desire” to address the challenge of “structural racism” in Britain.

For my own mental well-being I am not doing media interviews on the race commission today. Like so many in Britain’s Black community I’m tired! Tired of the endless debate about whether structural racism exists with little desire to actually address it. We are being gaslighted.

— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 31, 2021

Meanwhile, the national officer of GMB (one of the UK’s leading trade unions), Rehana Azam, dismissed the Commission’s “deeply cynical report” before adding it is “completely irresponsible and immoral” to ignore black and ethnic minority workers’ concerns.

The report has also drawn strong criticism from the world of academia with Kehinde Andrews, a professor of black studies at Birmingham University, telling BBC News the Commission’s findings are “not a genuine attempt to understand racism in Britain”.  

 

 

 

 

 


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