31 March 2021
The Green Party has condemned the summary of a report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities as a deliberate attempt to whitewash institutional racism.
The members of the Commission, set up in the wake of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, were chosen by no. 10 advisor Munira Mirza, and its report confirms her view – and that of the Prime Minister – that the UK is not in the grip of institutional racism.
Cleo Lake, former Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Green Party’s candidate for PCC for Avon and Somerset, said:
“Following hard on the heels of measures in the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill intended to clamp down on protest and ‘speaking out’ against systemic government failures, this report is a further manifestation of a government committed to a strategy of divide-and-conquer rather than social justice and cohesion.
“The Bill is one part of a backlash against the BLM protests; this report is another. The Bill seeks to block people of colour from expressing their rightful outrage at injustice; the report seeks to deny their reality and signals to white people that they have no need to change their behaviour.
“To dismiss the divisions in this country that stem from British colonial history is to do a huge disservice to the many millions of British people who are trying to relearn, inform themselves, and help build a more equitable society.”
Basing her comments in her decades of experience of working with communities of Afrikan descent in Bristol, Lake continued:
“For our society to heal we need more people to follow the mantra ‘I hear you, I see you, I believe you’ when we, as global majority people, speak of our experiences. This report is yet another attempt to silence us and deny our lived experience of institutional racism.
“The report’s conclusions fly in the face of a series of reports that find that people of Afrikan descent in particular face huge barriers at work, are ten times likely to be in prison, are routinely subjected to vile abuse, and deal with a hostile police force on a daily basis.
“Those reports have clear recommendations. Rather than using a new report to whitewash the reality of institutional racism, the government should act on those recommendations.”