The ITV programme Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed felt like deja vu on race relations discussions in Britain over the last decade. Things are bad, nothing has changed, but we have hope for the future. When are we going to change this broken record?
I admit, that I watched ITV’s, Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed with pessimism. I’ve heard and seen it all before.
It amused me when host Rageh Omaar and Anushka Asthana appeared shocked that a survey by Number Cruncher Politics, said that 55% of ethnic minorities polled said that racism had gone worse during their lifetimes, and 77% of black people had experienced racial abuse or slurs. (Anushka Asthana, Guardian: Thursday, 16 July, 2020: Racism in the UK still rife, say majority of Britons and Doug Lambert, ATV Today, 16 July 2020: Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? poll sees high figure for racial abuse)
I find it difficult to believe that seasoned journalists and researchers would be shocked by statistics that have been available consistently for years way before the Black Lives Matters movement began to shine a light on what was happening on a daily basis to people from black and minority ethnic communities.
Some readers may be interested to learn that Number Cruncher Politics is run by a man called Matt Singh, who states on his website that his polling consultancy, “acted as an advisor to banks, hedge funds, corporates, think tanks, research agencies, academic institutions and governments around the world.” (https://www.ncpolitics.uk/about/)
The discussion panel was made up of Stuart Lawrence, the brother of Stephen Lawrence. Helen Ball, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Chante Joseph, Activist, Journalist and BLM supporter. Shaun Bailey AM, Conservative Politician, and candidate for London Mayor. David Olusoga, Historian, Author and Documentary Maker. John Barnes, Former England Footballer and John Humphrys, Journalist and Broadcaster.
It was arguably John Barnes who hammered home the most important point, that to deal with racism society would have to tackle the root of racist ideology which stems from the British Empire and the introduction of scientific racism into the modern world, which has led to the unconscious racial bias that now exists in society. His point seemed to be scoffed at by John Humphrys, who emphatically insisted that he was not a racist nor saw himself as superior, and yet managed to slip in to the discussion that the British Empire did some good, and that white working class boys were the most neglected in education.
Humphry conveyed that the young generation of whites are not racist and so provide hope for the future of race relations.
Then how would he explain the rise of the far-right in the UK? (Jamie Grierson, Guardian, Thursday, 19 September, 2019: Rise of the far right: a disturbing mix of hateful ideologies) I am quite sure that these groups are not composed of walking stick waving pensioners, planning race wars behind their zimmer frames.
Can he explain a BBC report by Frankie McCamley, Education and family correspondent, which states that “Primary-school exclusions for racism in England are up more than 40% in just over a decade with the biggest rise in the North West” (1 January 2020: Exclusions for racism in primary schools in England up more than 40%) I wrote about this issue ten years ago and still nothing has changed it seems. (Watson: 25 April 2010: 40,000 racist incidents a year involving children as young as five says report)
The Race Relations Debate Deception
We have been discussing race relations in Western societies for decades from the viewpoint that race relations progressively improved from the moment slavery ended and the Black Civil Rights movement of the 1960s managed to change a few laws, but I would argue that nothing can be further from the truth.
When the Black Civil Rights movement of the 1960s changed the laws on segregation in schools and public places, did that end the economic colonialism and theft of African resources? No.
When the UK introduced the Race Relations Act 1965, did that end the UK government’s economic colonialism and theft of African resources? No. In fact the British Secret Service was still targeting African leaders such as Ugandan president, Milton Obote for assassination in 1969. (Curtis, p.95, Explaining The War Against Terrorism: In, Web of Deceit, Pluto Press, 2003).
In 2006, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa blamed Africa’s poverty on inherently genetic low IQ. (Denis Campbell, Sunday, 5 November 2006, Guardian: Low IQs are Africa’s curse, says lecturer)
In 2007 Dr James Watson, a Nobel prize winner and DNA pioneer was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying that Africans were inferior to Europeans. (Watson, 30 June 2010: Black councillor is convicted of racism: Is this the end of racism as we know it?)
Just this month Historian, David Starkey in an online interview with David Grimes about the Black Lives Matter movement said, “Slavery was not genocide — otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn Blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there? An awful lot of them survived“. (Sarah Spary: CNN: Disgraced historian David Starkey is dropped by publisher over racist slavery comments: July 3, 2020)
In a report by Eleanor Busby, Education Correspondent on the Independent website, black and minority ethnic teachers said that they faced constant racism in schools from their colleagues and that things were getting worse. (20 January: Most black and minority ethnic teachers say they face covert racism in schools)
Ten years ago when I reported on racism in schools (40,000 racist incidents a year involving children as young as five says report) I cited a report by the Sunday Mercury which revealed that teachers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds were being forced out of their jobs every year in the Midlands because of racism.
Despite all this the programme and some on the panel believed that education was the way forward in race relations, but from the evidence is appears that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to agree with the ideology of scientific racism. How many teachers and scientists are disguising their real beliefs for fear of being sacked we must ask ourselves?
It’s time that we stop kidding ourselves and face reality. Race relations is not working because Western economies was built on racism and the exploitation of resources in Africa and Asia, and continues to be sustained by the exploitation of African and Asian resources.
Multiculturalism was forced on white populations who have never really embraced or accepted other races in their country, and have blamed all the ills in society such as rising crime on immigrant populations.
In my view we are stuck in a bad marriage that will never improve no matter how many counselling sessions we attend. There are irreconcilable differences and we have to seriously consider going our separate ways. Not all divorces are disastrous or bad. Sometimes, both parties can have a new found respect for each other once they have separated, but accept the fact they they cannot live with each other.
What I am saying is not defeatist, controversial, or segregationist, it is a practical solution to an issue that will never be resolved as long as Western economies continue to be based on war and the exploitation of other countries’ resources. Black Lives Matter will not deal with this point, nor did the ITV debate, nor will any debate in the future. So sadly, we will be having another discussion in ten years time.
For further research:
Mark Curtis, p.95, Explaining The War Against Terrorism: In, Web of Deceit, Pluto Press, 2003.