A British government report caused the UK’s stupidity: The Boris Johnson administration claimed that the country, at an institutional level, is not racist. It goes further and considers that the UK should be taken as a model among other countries with predominantly white populations.
It is a 264-page report of the Independent Commission on Racial and Ethnic Differences, established by Prime Minister Johnson in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests during 2020, and made up of representatives of various ethnic groups.
While the study acknowledges that Britain is not yet a “post-race country,” its success in eliminating racial disparities in education “should be seen as a model for other predominantly white countries.”
The same report also made recommendations, including the gradual implementation of extended school days, starting in deprived areas, to help students make up for what they lost during the pandemic.
Suggestions released today include removing the acronym BAME, used to designate people of African descent, Asians, and ethnic minorities. It is said that it should not be used anymore because the differences between groups are just as important as the elements they have in common.
According to Commission Chair Tony Sewell, there is no evidence of “institutional racism” in the UK, although he has argued that there is “overt” prejudice. Speaking to the BBC’s Today Radio 4 program, Sewell said that although there was circumstantial evidence of racism, he denied it was structural.
British history itself conflicts with the good wishes of the report. English colonialism in Africa, for example, led to fanatical states, such as South Africa and Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe. People born in those countries colonized by the English were considered second-class citizens, as is the case in India and Pakistan.
“Nobody denies or says that racism does not exist. We found circumstantial evidence of it. But … evidence of real institutional racism? No, we did not find that,” Sewell said.
In his view, the term “institutional racism” is applied “sometimes incorrectly” as “a kind of wild card for small attacks or acts of racial abuse”.
However, activists from various organizations were disappointed and deeply concerned about the denial of institutional racism in the UK.
Halima Begum, who heads the Runnymede Trust, an independent think-tank on racial equality, was “very disappointed.” “Say that to a young black mother who is four times more likely to die in childbirth than to her little white neighbor. Say that to 60 percent of the NHS (Public Health Service) doctors and nurses who died from the Coronavirus and were black and they were black,” he told Sky TV News “You cannot tell them that because they are dead.”
In his view, the UK was still institutionalized racism and also considered it “extremely worrying” for a commission set up by the racist government to deny it.
In the same context, Labor Representative David Lamy spoke, describing the government’s report as an “insult”, and accused Johnson of ignoring the wishes of the British who “are eager to turn the page on racism.”
“Boris Johnson just shut the door in their faces by telling them that they were perfect, and that they were wasting their time. An entire generation of young, black and white Britons have disappointed.”