Cllr Tina Valcarcel is the Deputy Cabinet Member for Disability and a councillor in Larkhall ward.
The highly anticipated publication of the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities concluded that there is no evidence of institutional racism. It has attracted widespread media attention and condemnation for its failure to acknowledge systemic and structural racism.
“In January this year we submitted our findings in response to the call from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. We had hoped that the commission would deliver an honest and equal report thoroughly addressing racial disparities across the UK. This report is extremely disappointing and to my mind has not adequately addressed the disproportionality black communities experience in health, education, housing, employment, and the judicial system. Equally disappointing, is that the report claims there is no actual evidence of institutional racism. Black communities across the UK will be feeling betrayed and let down by this Tory Government.” – Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture.
Although the report cites positive aspects such as parental aspiration contributing to educational success, it is the denial of racial inequality that is particularly disturbing after the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and the disproportionate numbers of minority ethnic people dying of Covid-19. Runnymede Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Halima Begum stated in the Guardian newspaper that ‘the Sewell commission demonstrates the extent to which the government that sponsored it and shaped its findings is utterly lacking in any empathy or understanding of the lived realities faced by Britain’s ethnic minority communities today.’ Racial disparities are evident in statistics which show minority ethnic people are more likely to be stopped and searched, incarcerated and die in police custody. Inequalities such as the ethnic pay gap, in educational attainment, employment and promotion to senior levels and adverse health outcomes show that racism and discrimination are experienced on a daily basis.
The ‘Sewell Report’ named after its chairman Dr Tony Sewell demonstrates that the government is trying to change the narrative around race and racial inequality through a denial of institutional racism and promoting the UK as a model of racial equality. The report is a missed opportunity and needs to be challenged, something that commentators and academics such as Kalwant Bhopal, author of White Privilege has been stating over the last couple of days. The credibility of the report has been called into question by academics whose names appear on the report but were not consulted and by organisations that boycotted its consultation. What we need to do is to challenge the myth of a post-racial society and not to be distracted by the debate around the use of BAME as an acronym for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. Moving forward is not an option for the minority ethnic population in the UK.
You can read the report at the following link:
Cllr Tina Valcarcel