Downing Street report concludes UK should be seen 'as model of racial equality'
The report has been described as 'government level gaslighting'
In a long-overdue report by Downing Street's Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, the UK has been described as "a model for other white-majority countries."
While the full 264 pages of the report are yet to be published, previews include statements around the academic achievements of children from minority ethnic backgrounds - saying that these students often do as well or better than their white peers - and regarding employment, that race is "not a significant factor in explaining disparities."
There are a total of 24 recommendations throughout the document, which the Government Equalities Office are set to release sometime soon. However, from what details have been released so far, race equality experts have described the report as "extremely disturbing."
Not only is it being perceived as "offensive to black and minority ethnic key workers who have died disproportionally during the pandemic", but it is felt that it crucially overlooks institutional and structural issues surrounding racial inequality. Race on the Agenda (ROTA)'s Chief Executive, Maurice Mcleod, has described it as "government level gaslighting."
— Race on the Agenda (@raceontheagenda) March 31, 2021
Moreover, Black Lives Matter's response is no more favourable, as a UK spokesperson said that "it fails to explore disproportionality in school exclusion, eurocentrism and censorship in the curriculum, or the ongoing attainment gap in higher education".
The wider reaction was equally unconvinced, as many were quick to point out selective statistics and the race report's oversights when it comes to the experience of minority ethnic students both during education and upon entering the world of full-time employment.
They love pulling out those GCSE and A-level results with little analysis of what happens in education and careers after school. https://t.co/jWD6ziUwA6
— marcus 🇧🇧 (@marcusjdl) March 31, 2021
The report even goes on to describe the BLM protests following the death of George Floyd as "the well-meaning idealism of many young people who claim the country is still institutionally racist", whilst maintaining that this "is not borne out by the evidence."
The Commission's Chairman, Tony Sewell, also spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. During his interview, he unpicked the term ‘institutional racism’, stating it has become "a catch-all phrase for micro-aggressions or acts of racial abuse". He also argued that the interchangeable use of "systematic racism, structural racism [are] just being used wrongly". Here is another clip below:
Dr Tony Sewell, chairman of the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities talks to @bbcnickrobinson about institutional racism#R4Today heard earlier form Matthew Ryder QC, who represented the family of Stephen Lawrencehttps://t.co/scZHtnF21Q pic.twitter.com/i6Cgh9jBua
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) March 31, 2021