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Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Governments denial of institutional racism

The long awaited Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was finally published this week. It explored ethnic and race disparities within health, employment, education, and the criminal justice system. When we were first notified that there would be a report, we were sceptical, but engaged by submitting evidence. This said, on reading the full report, Jabeer Butt in a BBC interview confirmed suspicions by saying “this is what we expected, we fully thought it was going to deny the existence of institutional racism.” 

The commission made a total of 24 recommendations to the government and went as far to say Britain was no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged” against ethnic minorities which incited allegations of “deeply cynical” complacency. There are many criticisms to be made about the report, the dismissal of institutional racism is poorly evidenced and suggests a general lack of understanding of what it is and how it is related to factors such as geography and poverty. 

With this in mind it is difficult to see how any of its proposals will have an impact or are worth supporting. It lays blame for inequality on individuals and families and to add insult to injury one of the report’s chief conclusions was that issues surrounding race and racism are becoming less important and, in some cases, are no longer a significant factor in explaining disparities. 

We have shared some of our thoughts here:

BBC Article

We will be sharing other comments over the next few weeks.