Institutional Racism Is Real
On the 31st March 2021, The UK Government released Race & Ethnic Disparities report looking at how racism disadvantaged Ethnic Minorities in the UK. Although the report acknowledged that there is still racism in society, it found 'no evidence of institutional racism in Britain.'
Many UK People of Colour were flabbergasted. A 258-page document erased the lived experience of millions of people in the UK in an internet click - And it was infuriating. Those who saw the #BlackLivesMatter movement as a 'social trend' and a 'nuisance' rejoiced. For the last year, modern society has had the mirror uncomfortably placed in front of its face to look at how it hurt people historically and presently that didn't look like them.
One Caucasian teacher spat this at me on Twitter when I spoke about the Black Lives Matter Movement last Summer: "If you talk to ordinary people like me, they would never say it to you, but we're bored of it now." True story.
She acted like dealing with racism was like some kind of theme park where you ride on 'The Big Dipper' & you could get off when it made you sick. Some of us don't have that luxury. Now because of this report, we have been told to shut up, sit down & carry on as normal. Nothing to see here, move along chap.
But Institutional racism is real. After the Murder of George Floyd, many People of Colour laid bare the struggles that we faced in our daily lives & gave intimate details of what it’s like to constantly be treated differently just because of your skin colour.
We posted resources, gave lectures, made documentaries & had webinars to discuss this. Because of BLM & George Floyd, #BlackHistoryMonth was expanded for 4 months! I had hope then. But this report has confirmed my worst suspicions. It basically said we are making it up. The Government reckon Institutional Racism is like some nightmare version of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. You better watch out, you better not cry...
OK. Using that logic, I want to do a quick test to see how powerful my imagination is.
Black people are 9 times more likely to stopped, searched & assaulted by the police - is it in our heads?
When ethnic minorities have to anglicise our names on our CVs to get a job interview - is that make-believe?
The fact that there are only 0.1% of black Headteachers in a country of 77 million is surely my imagination?
Or is it in my imagination that Theresa May’s Government did their own racial equality report in 2017 which showed PoC in every sector from healthcare, housing to education are discriminated against regularly and systematically. Theresa May herself said that this was a ‘national shame that blights our society.’
That can't be the truth... Or was it a lie when the late Lord Macpherson when looking at the Stephen Lawrence case called the Police ‘institutionally racist’ - that was all theatre, wasn’t it? (The image above is the first page of this groundbreaking 1999 report that introduced many including me to the term.)
Someone said to me the other day said to me ‘that everything is not about colour’ & spouted the same MLK quote about ‘looking at someone’s character rather than skin.’ Well, I have news for you. My skin colour is what you see first. And because of that people won’t give me a chance to show my character. That’s what this is about. It’s not about handouts or hating other races or being ‘victims.’ It’s about truth. You cannot change something that cannot diagnose. What this report has done is the equivalent of a doctor who dismisses a patient who complains about a lump in their chest. The patient is worried & stated that her relatives have had cancer in their family & the doctor states that “you can’t have this disease, you're too young/old/fit etc,” and sends this poor patient back home.
3 months later the patient is dead.
Who’s fault is it? The doctor or the patient? The doctor is liable because he had a duty of care. As I have said many, many times on this blog, on social media & any interviews I have conducted, I & AHT stand for equality and diversity for ALL people. All human beings regardless of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status and any other protected characteristic deserves to be treated with dignity, empathy and respect.
This report hasn't done that & there is a danger that it will deepen the divides in our already fragmented society.
Peace & Love.
Karl from actionheroteacher.com