According to Commission Chair Tony Sewell, racism is present in British society, but there is no evidence of institutional, structural or systemic racism. The report is seen as an attack on the so-called “critical race theory,” a theory that assumes that racism is a structural problem arising from “white hegemony”. There was a lot of criticism from the progressive angle of the report and of the individual committee members.
The UK government will be pleased with the report’s conclusion. Sewell echoes the words of British Nigerian Foreign Minister Kimi Badenouch, who said last year that for a black person, Britain might be the best western country to live in. Conservative London mayor candidate Sean Bailey, a descendant of Jill Windrush, has made similar claims. The present cabinet is the most multicultural in British history.
A multi-ethnic society
Although racism is an ongoing problem, the commission states the emergence of a “multi-ethnic and multicultural society” on the island, which is an example “for the rest of Europe and the world.” By claiming that nothing has improved in the area of racism in recent decades and insisting on “white privilege,” there is a risk that nothing will be achieved, it is said, except for alienation from the average citizen. Class and family structures play a greater role in social inequality than ethnic origin, and governance is.
The committee consists of ten members, nine of whom are from ethnic minorities, and have extensive experience in education, care and policing. The show emphasized education, the area in which the success of multiculturalism is most clearly demonstrated. For example, he says that children from ethnic backgrounds do well and in many cases do better in school than their white classmates. The figures showed that the main extremists were children from white working-class environments.
In his report, Sewell, an educational consultant of Jamaican descent, makes recommendations. He wants to get rid of the abbreviation BAME, which stands for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic. According to him, this blanket term does not do justice to the experiences of different ethnic groups. Nor does he see little benefit in “training in unconscious bias.” British government departments have already discontinued these courses. Labor leader Keir Starmer is disappointed that he denies institutional racism.
Even before publication, there was criticism, including from Satnam Sangira, author of the recently published book Imperialland. He claimed on Twitter that everyone who participated in this report had previously criticized the concept of “institutional racism” and “a culture of victimization.” Sangira refers to Sewell himself, but also to Munira Mirza, a British Asian who works on Downing Street as the head of politics. There was also an accusation that the government was not looking for the truth, but rather looking for controversy.
The potential existence of institutional racism has been the subject of debate for decades. In the late 1990s, investigative judge William Macpherson found in a groundbreaking report that racism was rampant within the London police. The McPherson report was motivated by the Corps ’reluctance at the time to investigate the horrific 1993 murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Sewell praises Macpherson’s work, but feels the term “institutional racism” has been used easily since.
The accusation of institutional racism also surfaced in the recent Windrush case. Due to Theresa May’s strict immigration measures, many Britons of Caribbean descent faced problems as they were unable to prove that they had lived in the British Isles as early as the 1960s or 1970s. People who had lived legally in the country for decades were at risk of deportation. The report says that while people are truly shocked by this turn of events, there has been no racial malevolence.
The praise for the 264-page report came from culture model David Goodhart. The former editor-in-chief of the progressive monthly magazine Prospect described it as “a liberal, honest and evidence-based story”. He noted that young BLM activists could learn a lot from Sewell and other veterans who were tried and tested in the 1970s and 1980s, decades when racism was much stronger. The focus, according to Goodhart, should be on the progress that has been made since those dark years.