The authors of a government-backed report on racial disparity have hit again on the widespread backlash of its findings, claiming that disagreement with the assessment has been “tipped into misrepresentation”.
The Fee on Race and Ethnic Disparities – which was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in response to final summer season’s Black Lives Matter protests – revealed its 258-page report on inequality in Britain on Wednesday.
The authors have defended the assessment after accusations that it put a “constructive spin” on slavery, claiming in a press release that any suggestion it had completed so was “as absurd as it’s offensive”.
Reacting to the backlash, the fee stated that “sadly” in some instances “truthful and strong disagreement with the fee’s work has tipped into misrepresentation”.
“This misrepresentation dangers undermining the aim of the report – understanding and addressing the causes of inequality within the UK – and any of the constructive work that outcomes from it.”
It added: “We now have by no means stated that racism doesn’t exist in society or in establishments. We are saying the opposite: racism is actual and we should do extra to deal with it.”
The fee additionally pulled up politicians and different public figures for “deeply private assaults” on its members within the assertion, calling it “irresponsible and harmful”.
Referring to Labour MP Clive Lewis’ feedback, it stated: “For instance, one MP offered commissioners as members of the KKK,” the assertion stated.
“Sturdy debate we welcome. However to depict us as racism deniers, slavery apologists or worse is unacceptable.”
Former shadow defence secretary Mr Lewis had responded to the preliminary report by tweeting an image of a Ku Klux Klan member standing in entrance of a burning cross with the caption: “Transfer alongside. Nothing to see right here #RaceReport” earlier than including: “To be crystal clear this picture represents structural racism. Simply so we’re clear.”
The fee stated it hoped that the report will likely be “learn rigorously and regarded within the spherical”, including: “Our expertise since publication solely reinforces the necessity for knowledgeable debate on race based mostly on mutual respect.
“The 24 suggestions we have now made will, in our view, tremendously enhance the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals for the higher if they’re all carried out.”
Lead by the fee’s chairman Dr Tony Sewell, the landmark assessment stated Britain is not a rustic the place the “system is intentionally rigged in opposition to ethnic minorities”.
It stated it had discovered no proof of “institutional racism”, concluding that the “declare the nation remains to be institutionally racist isn’t borne out by the proof”.
Whereas Mr Johnson described the report as an “essential piece of labor”, it obtained widespread criticism, with Labour dismissing it as a “divisive polemic which cherry-picks statistics”.
“To downplay institutional racism in a pandemic the place Black, Asian and ethnic minority individuals have died disproportionately and at the moment are twice as prone to be unemployed is an insult,” shadow girls and equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova stated.
One other critic of the report was former equality and human rights commissioner Lord Simon Woolley, who stated the report was a “monumental second missed” following the demise of George Floyd within the US final yr and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests.
In the meantime, historian David Olusoga wrote within the Guardian that the authors “stumble, ill-prepared and overconfident, into the world of historical past”.
“Shockingly, the authors – maybe unwittingly – deploy a model of an argument that was utilized by the slave homeowners themselves in defence of slavery 200 years in the past: the concept by turning into culturally British, black individuals had been someway beneficiaries of the system,” he wrote.
Labour MP Diane Abbott advised Sky Information it was “extra about politics than the coverage” and “taking us again within the argument for racial justice, not taking us ahead”.
Within the report, the fee wrote that geography, household affect, socio-economic background, tradition and faith all have an effect on life probabilities greater than racism.