The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) is an outrage, but not a surprise, to anti-racists everywhere.
In the year following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a pandemic that produced starkly disproportionate deaths in black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities, the report’s incredible findings amount to wilful ignorance.
Commission chair Tony Sewell ignores evidence of institutional racism, describing “the story of our country’s progress to a successful multi-ethnic and multicultural community – a beacon to the rest of Europe and the world.” It even goes so far as to prettify the enslavement of African people.
The report denies the role of racism in the disproportionate impact of covid19. Yet those from BAME communities are more likely to die from, and be infected by, covid19. They are more likely to be unemployed during the pandemic. In essential services they died in greater numbers as well as reporting more PPE shortages and feeling targeted to work on covid wards.
Black communities disproportionately die in police custody and are more likely to be stopped and searched by police. There have been numerous racist murders since Stephen Lawrence was killed and the killers still walk free. Black children often face two obstacles – one racism, the other poverty, but far from using this to say racism doesn’t matter it should be a clarion call to act on both. This Government is failing on both.
CRED is an ideological attempt to undermine the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the reasons for the Black Lives Matter movement. Institutional racism is neither a perception nor a narrative, nor an anachronism. It is a reality embedded in the police, criminal justice system, health, education and employment.
Every report in the past 20 years, except for this one, acknowledges that. We wholeheartedly reject this ideologically motivated report and vow to redouble our efforts in challenging racism in all its forms.
We demand an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities.
It is not enough to be non racist, we must build and strengthen a mass anti racist movement.
Diane Abbott MP
Bell Ribeiro Addy MP
Apsana Begum MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Professor Gus John