If racism isn’t endemic, why do many companies, institutions and organisations have anti-racist charters and policies?

I have not just a memory, but also no qualifications from school, to prove the inadequacies of the education experiences I was exposed to in the 70s and early 80s. Was this because of the colour of my skin? I believe it was. 50 years on what has changed in the education system to ensure blacks feel welcomed and equal to their white peers? 

My own insight into education continued as I entered the profession and my opinions on racism changes as quickly as the tides at Newquay shores. Ultimately the education system continues to fail many, including those that work in it, but here I am talking about how it fails black children and young people. 

When Bernard wrote his book in 1971, How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-normal in the British School System: The Scandal of the Black Child in Schools in Britainhe referred to the weapons of mass oppression that black children were exposed to. One highlight was that many blacks were placed in remedial classes and educationally subnormal streams.

Jackie McKenzie, presenter at the recent 50th-anniversary launch of How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Sub-normal …, with Bernard Coard,  Jeremy Corbyn MP and other invited guests (typically Jeremy Corbyn didn’t turn up!), found when interviewing and representing Windrush cases, generations were exposed to education systems like this. Now today, even though we do not have these types of streams, we do have sets and we do have PRUs and Alternative Provisions and typically black children have a disproportionate rate of places at these schools for children who the system has deemed mainstream has no place for them. We also have other weapons of mass oppression in the guise of exclusions, with some regions of the UK excluding black young people 5 times more than their white counterparts. Leaving many of those excluded vulnerable and exposed to county lines or drug dealing gangs.  It is very rare children who have entered a PRU  or AP or a gang to return to maintained schools and therefore this journey far too often leads them to the doors of crime and a occcasionally an unwelcome prison bed.

Baseline assessments of children at the age of 4 and 5 suggests that black Caribbean children are at on par with similar attainment with all ethnicities, including white British. But why do exclusions and poorer educational outcomes of Black African Heritage children compared to white British children, by the age of 7, happen? Governments, ministers and LAs do very little to stop the scandal. Research grants are rarely afforded, educational research bodies and universities do not fully invest in the the time or the resources to undertake any credible investigation to find out why. 

One obvious problem is not being selected for initiatives that lead to doors of exams or universities or apprenticeships, thus diminishing career aspirations and a potentially blighted life. Targeted children enter Russell Group universities under the guise of an olive branch. However, these grants and places, often fronted by a variety of organisations, are too often afforded to children and young people who would have surely gotten there if they were not black. Surely these grants and programmes should be used for supporting  black young people and children who actually need support to get there because of the challenges they face like poverty and not because of the discrimination they may face at application, exam entrances/quality of teaching and interview processes.

The Lammy Review, The Windrush Report, The McPherson Report, Grenfell Tower Report, The Race and Disparity Report, The Lawrence Report, as well as the pushback from the government on the English curriculum content so our black and brown children feel part of society, all point towards a society that is institutionally racist. Worse still a society which allows and encourages insurmountable time and energy, and in many cases money on research, to deny the extent to which racism affects blacks. Everyone I personally know who has responded to this report can see a clear picture of racism. Now imagine if this money and time was put into carefully reviewing the outcomes, setting up timelines to address the recommendations in the summaries. That’s the world I would be proud of. If racism isn’t endemic, why do many companies, institutions and organisations have an anti-racist charter, anti-racist recruitment and retention policies, or compulsory training on unconscious bias? Ghana doesn’t have such policies or mechanisms for anti-racism. When these policies and training offers mentioned are obsolete, then the governments can say that England favourably compares with other countries and not before.

The Government’s independent Race and Disparity report of March 2021 draws extraordinary conclusions given some of the extraordinary facts and data below. What conclusions do you draw from the first 50 pages of the report?:

  • In 2019 hate crime had doubled in 5 years.
  • 50k cases of racism in schools.
  • 22% of Black people polled said they had received online racist abuse – the highest of all ethnicities.
  • The total of police recorded race-related hate crime for England and Wales increased by 131% in the 9 years to March 2020.
  • At Age 14 Black Caribbean boys had the lowest expectations of themselves of all ethnicities including white boys of going to university, at 58.5%.
  • The overall percentage of White British people living in the 10% of most deprived neighbourhoods is 9.1%, which is disproportionately low and below several groups, most notably Mixed White and Black Caribbean (17.4%) and Black African (15.6%).
  • People from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to live in households with persistent low income (after housing costs). 28% of people in Black households were on persistent low income, the highest of all groups, compared with 25% of Asian households and 12% of White households.
  • Overcrowding affected 30% of Bangladeshi households in the year to March 2016, 16% of Black African and 7% of Black Caribbean compared with just 2% of White British households.
  • Ipsos Mori found that 69% say there is “at least a fair amount of tension” in 2020 (1 in 5 say there is a great deal), but a slight improvement is registered since 2008 when 76% felt there was a fair amount of tension.
  • 69% of Black respondents saw “a lot” of prejudice against Black people compared with just 44% of ethnic minority respondents overall. Only 30% of Indian respondents saw “a lot” of prejudice against Black people, which was quite close to White respondents (25%).

Comments on the Recent Report on Race and Ethnic Disparity - Possible reasons for those extraordinary conclusions

The race report is reductive and narrow-minded – it’s white supremacy personified

This report will undermine anti-racism efforts in the UK and dismiss the lived experiences of Black, Asian, and ethnic minorities. By Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

With its report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, this government has done what it does best – divide. 

It was depressingly predictable that the report would claim institutional racism does not exist in the United Kingdom. To me, this is untrue, gaslighting an entire nation into believing that racism is not a structural issue that causes longstanding inequalities experienced by Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups. Despite the commission’s claims, the UK is not a model of racial equality to any country, and this report proves it.

The Race Commission acknowledges overt racism exists in the UK but refuses to accept that it is the product of, proof of and predicated on endemic institutional racism. Utterly diabolical. The Race Commission is wrong.

The failure to acknowledge and tackle structural racism is why London’s Metropolitan Police was found to be institutionally racist following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry 20 years ago; why the Home Office was held to be institutionally racist in 2020 following the Windrush Scandal inquiry; and why Public Health England, in its Covid-19 2020 report, pointed to “racism and discrimination as a root cause affecting health and the risk of both exposure to the virus and becoming seriously ill.” The refusal to accept the existence of structural racism means that it is allowed to fester and grow unchallenged.

However, we shouldn’t be surprised by the findings of the report. During the protests the Prime Minister declared publicly that the UK is not racist, the Home Secretary called BLM protesters thugs and denounced the destruction of slave trader Edward Colston’s statue as a criminal act. And now the UK Government wants to enact a new law that protects statues and monuments memorialising the worst of British Empire with a maximum 10-year prison sentence – a leaf straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook who did the same in the United States. Boris Johnson is showing more leadership in protecting statues of slave traders and racists than in addressing ongoing institutional racism to demonstrate that black lives matter. 

The Prime Minister appointed Tony Sewell as head of his new Race Commission, a Black British man who wrote in a 2010 article that “much of the supposed evidence of institutional racism is flimsy“. This makes me question whether the Government wanted a specific outcome from this report.

No Institutional Racism Here! 2 against the thought of institutional racism use freedom of speech to declare No Institutional Racism Here!

Commissioners allege No 10 distorted their work on inequality, after conclusions played down institutional racism

The Guardian April 11th 2021 

Downing Street rewrote ‘independent’ report on race, experts claim.

Officials at Downing Street have been accused of rewriting much of its controversial report into racial and ethnic disparities, despite appointing an independent commission to conduct an honest investigation into inequality in the UK.

The Observer has been told that significant sections of the report published on 31 March, which were criticised and debunked by health professionalsacademicsbusiness chiefs and crime experts, were not written by the 12 commissioners who were appointed last July.

 

The 258-page document was not made available to be read in full or signed off by the group, which included scientist and BBC broadcaster Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Samir Shah, former chair of the Runnymede Trust, nor were they made aware of its 24 final recommendations. Instead, the finished report, it is alleged, was produced by No 10.

Kunle Olulode, an anti-racism activist and director of the charity Voice4Change, is the first commissioner to condemn the government publicly for its lack of transparency. In a statement to the Observer, Olulode’s charity was scathing of the way evidence was cherrypicked, distorted and denied in the final document.

 

“The report does not give enough to show its understanding of institutional or structural discrimination … evidence in sections, that assertive conclusions are based on, is selective,” it said. “The report gives no clear direction on what expectations of the role of public institutions and political leadership should be in tackling race and ethnic disparities. What is the role of the state in this?”

 

One commissioner, who spoke out on condition of anonymity, accused the government of “bending” the work of its commission to fit “a more palatable” political narrative and denying the working group the autonomy it was promised.

“We did not read Tony’s [Sewell] foreword,” they claimed. “We did not deny institutional racism or play that down as the final document did. The idea that this report was all our own work is full of holes. You can see that in the inconsistency of the ideas and data it presents and the conclusions it makes. That end product is the work of very different views.”

The commissioner revealed that they had been privy only to the section of the report they were assigned, and that it had soon become apparent the exercise was not being taken sufficiently seriously by No 10.

“Something of this magnitude takes proper time – we were only given five months to do this work, on a voluntary basis,” they said. In contrast to the landmark 1999 Macpherson report, an inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence, or the 2017 Lammy Review, both of which took 18 months to conclude, the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred) was not peer reviewed and was published just seven months after the group first met on a videocall.

 

The group, led by Sewell, was set up by Samuel Kasumu, No 10’s most senior black special adviser, who resigned from his post on the day the report was published, aghast at its final findings. Accusations that Munira Mirza, director of No 10’s policy unit, was heavily involved in steering the direction of the supposedly independent report were not directly addressed by a No 10 spokesperson, who said: “I would reiterate the report is independent and that the government is committed to tackling inequality.”

A source involved in the commission told the Observer that “basic fundamentals in putting a document like this together were ignored. When you’re producing something so historic, you have to avoid unnecessary controversy, you don’t court it like this report did. And the comms was just shocking.”

 

While the prime minister sought to distance himself from the criticism a day after its publication, unusually it was his office rather than the Cred secretariat which initially released the report to the press.

A spokesperson for the race commission said: “We reject these allegations. They are deliberately seeking to divert attention from the recommendations made in the report.

“The commission’s view is that, if implemented, these 24 recommendations can change for the better the lives of millions across the UK, whatever their ethnic or social background. That is the goal they continue to remain focused on.”

Is Identity Politics Alive?

Becoming affiliated with a particular body, even though they do not wholly align with your values and beliefs will often create a tug of war battle within yourself. I know, as I have voted for every political party going since I have been able to vote. I aim to always read the party's or the proposed referendum's manifesto and make a decision based on my life, my ambitions and beliefs and values at the time. I see the ambitions and vision of the political party which best aligns with my reality and ambitions at the time. I strongly believe in voting in general elections and, if I could have, I would have voted on the Scottish referendum. Voting for a particular party does not exclude me from challenging some of the party's core beliefs and decisions. For example, I have challenged the content of the Race and Disparity report by lobbying my MP, signing petitions, entering into online debates, researching the debate, then recording my thoughts on my website and sharing them widely.

Being part of a political party is like choosing which clan/family or tribe you want to be with.

A Story

When choosing which job I wanted to do, I considered which profession I wanted to be a part of. Disillusioned by the catering career - long hours/poor pay/hard work/ ratio, capacity to be quite an aggressive workplace, career progression difficult to navigate - I carefully considered which profession I would join, taking into account by this time I had a young family. I knew I wanted to be a professional. After having 2 children, I became more ambitious. I wanted to be someone my children could be inspired by, so they could be ambitious for themselves too.

With a love for working with children and the desire to be a professional, I looked to which courses at university and which professions best suited me. Lots of choices later and working in 3 different countries and 8 different counties means that each time I changed job I had to do a research into the background of their values and beliefs and offset this with my reality and ambitions and then make the decision on whether I could or would apply for a role with them. By working with them (choosing a new tribe/family/party/clan etc) didn't mean that I liked everything about them or that they liked everything about me, it meant that we would give each other a chance and rub along with each other until it was time to move on or even challenge each other's status quo.


At least once in every role I have been in, there were times when I discovered something that risked me negating my values and beliefs and I would have to make further decisions, quite often resulting in staying (negating my values) or leaving. Ironically, nowhere I have been more challenged in my career than by the work I did as a consequence of the Academy legislation; legislation that I often questioned, but equally this work created the highest highs and lowest lows in my career. After working with 3 different academy chains I have made certain conclusions and consequently made the decision to work more with local authorities than academy chains.


Ultimately, choosing your tribe or your clan or your team or your family will create conflict at some point. We live in an imperfect world. It is how you manage that conflict and behave during your affiliation that is more of a reflection of who you are and that is what should define you, not how some interpret the shop window of that party/family/tribe/clan/workplace etc.

More than Representation is Needed to Engineer Equity and Dispel Disparities

Institutional Racism

Purpose of the Report - Provide a Suitable (Fictional) Narrative to Support the Government

As Long as There are People, There is Hope for the Future

CRED_Report Race Disparity post GF 2021

March 2021 Race Disparity Report denying institutional racism exists any longer in the UK.

Racial disparities in the UK: key findings of the report - The Guardian Newspaper

From the Guardian Newspaper - Racial disparities in the UK: key findings of the report – and what its critics say | Race | The Guardian

The government has released the full 264-page report by a commission set up by Downing Street to investigate racial disparities in the UK. These are its main findings:

 Overall view

The commission says that while racism and racial injustice still exist, “we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”. More than 200 pages later, the conclusion says “a degree of optimism is justified” and that “too many people in the progressive and anti-racism movements seem reluctant to acknowledge their own past achievements”.

The approach has brought criticism from some campaigners about a complacent attitude. The conclusion offers one clue to this, noting that in contrast to most Black Lives Matters protesters, the bulk of the commission are from “an older generation whose views were formed by growing up in the 1970s and 1980s”. That could be a key divide: just because there is less racism than 40 years ago, should it be viewed as no longer a pressing problem?

Institutional racism

Pre-publicity for the report suggested it would dismiss the idea of institutional racism altogether. The reality is more nuanced: it argues that overuse of the term, sometimes when there is no evidence of an inbuilt institutional bias in that context, has “diluted its credibility”. Where such claims are made, the report suggests, they should be proved – which campaigners will argue is not necessarily an easy thing to do.

The report calls for a broader use of terminology, including phrases such as systematic or structural racism.

Teaching of colonialism/slavery

One section of the report – on teaching about Britain’s colonial past – says this should include material about the Caribbean experience “which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering, but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain”. Labour said the government “must urgently explain how they came to publish content that glorifies the slave trade”.

Halima Begum, at the equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust, said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted to see the slave trade apparently redefined as ‘the Caribbean Experience’, as though it’s something Thomas Cook should be selling – a one-way shackled cruise to purgatory.

“The cultural deafness of this report is only going to become clearer in the coming days and weeks.”

Individual/community responsibility

On a similar theme of moving away from structural issues, the report calls for more focus on “the extent individuals and their communities could help themselves through their own agency, rather than wait for invisible external forces to assemble to do the job”. The report notes differing levels of single-parent families between varying communities, suggesting this as a factor to be examined. While it stresses that this is “not about allocating blame” or stigmatising single parents, such a focus risks accusations of a return to earlier attitudes when this did happen.

Campaign groups

In one of the more openly culture war-based elements of the report, it accuses “well-organised single-issue identity lobby groups” of reinforcing “pessimistic narratives about race” through over-emotive, non-data-based approaches to their work.

It is particularly scathing – critics would say patronising – about Black Lives Matter campaigners, noting the “idealism of those well-intentioned young people” but saying that “a narrative that claims nothing has changed for the better” will mainly end up just alienating “the decent centre ground” of all ethnicities.

BAME

As widely reported in advance, the report suggest this acronym – referring to black, Asian and minority ethnic people – be ditched, calling it a “reductionist idea [that] forces us to think the principle cause of all disparities must be majority versus minority discrimination”.

Employment

In what critics called a deliberate failure to acknowledge institutional and structural racism in the labour market, the study says the pay gap between ethnic minority and white workers has been falling and is at its lowest level in almost a decade, at 2.3%, and that over the past 50 years several ethnic groups have made exceptional progress in the UK.

It also says diversity has increased in professions such as law and medicine and that unemployment rates between ethnic groups have been declining, and it recommends scrapping unconscious bias training.

Unemployment in 2019 was 4% among white people and 7% among minority groups combined. For people aged 16 to 24 the gap was more pronounced, with rates of 10% and 19% respectively. Black African and Bangladeshi ethnic groups had the highest rates of youth unemployment, at 26% and 24%.

Other findings include that employees from the white Irish, Indian and Chinese ethnic groups on average had higher hourly earnings than the white British ethnic group, and although ethnic minorities have been making progress up the professional ladder, there remains under-representation at the very top.

Unions described it as a “deeply cynical” study that ignored black and ethnic minority workers’ concerns. Rehana Azam, of the GMB union, said: “Institutional racism exists – it’s the lived experience of millions of black and ethnic minority workers.”

Education

In one of the most controversial sections of the report, it argues that education has been the single most emphatic success story of the British ethnic minority experience, where children from many ethnic communities largely do as well as or better than white pupils, with black Caribbean students the only group to perform less well.

The tone is in marked contrast to a Guardian investigation this week into race and UK education, which found more than 60,000 racist incidents recorded in the past five years, and notably higher exclusion rates for children from some minority communities.

The report recommends research into the varying academic performance of different ethnic groups, particularly focused on why black Caribbean pupils still tend to do worse.

Crime and policing

A significant section of the report, about 60 pages, is devoted to this, but it is notable that it is almost all about policing, with virtually no mention of courts or racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Much of the section on policing focuses on stop and search. While broadly supportive of the tactic, it does stress the way it can often be used to target minority ethnic youths for minor drug offences, pushing them towards the courts. Among recommendations are for police forces to improve the use of stop and search, including via body-worn cameras, and to divert low-level drug arrests away from the justice system. It also calls for all police forces in England and Wales to better represent their communities.

Health

 Another long section, this brings one of the major suggestions of the report, for the establishment of an Office for Health Disparities to look into the issue and to work along the NHS to reduce differences in areas such as healthy life expectancy, and the propensity to develop some conditions.

On Covid, the report is similarly tentative, noting that while death rates were notably higher among some minority groups, this is mainly due to external factors such as a greater likelihood to live in deprivation or to do a public-facing job. Campaign groups would argue that these are just the sorts of structural factors that feed into health inequalities.

Windrush_Lessons_Learned_Review

Windrush Review - should be renamed 'lessons learned and lessons we will forget and ignore within one generation'

Revised_RDA_report_March_2018

Race Disparity Audit of 2018 summary of recommendations

McPherson Report - SL

The Stephen Lawrence Report - detailing that the justice and police service are institutionally racist.

Lammy Review on Justice System

David Lammy. review and recommendation report on the justice system and how it is unfair to blacks and browns.

GTI - Phase 1 report Executive Summary

Grenfell Tower Investigative Report

David Lammy - open-letter-to-prime-minister

David Lammy's open letter to the PM setting out his stall and recommendations to level up the justice system.

Covid - 19 An Avoidable Crisis

Doreen Lawrence's report on the Covid-19 disparity outcomes.