Conservative Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has caused uproar after saying that some authors of anti racism books want segregation, and that teaching white privilege as an uncontested fact in schools is unlawful, however do individuals on both sides of the argument really challenge the power structure in place today?
Conservative Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch parliament speech in July during a Black History Month debate, caused controversy when she said that teaching white privilege in schools as an uncontested fact is unlawful. She argued that schools must offer opposing views, and that schools must not accept the ideology of Black Lives Matter without critical analysis. (Guardian: Jessica Murray: Tuesday, 20 October, 2020: Teaching white privilege as uncontested fact is illegal, minister says)
Badenoch opposes critical race theory and believes that it should not be taught in neutral institutions such as the NHS, schools, colleges and universities without a balanced view. (The Spectator: Fraser Nelson: 24 October, 2020: Kemi Badenoch: The problem with critical race theory)
In the Spectator article by Fraser Nelson she upset quite a few anti racism authors by claiming that some of them encouraged segregation.
More than 100 black writers from the Black Writer’s Guild, such as Benjamin Zephaniah, broadcaster Afua Hirsch and publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove, signed a letter condemning Badenoch’s comments, and warned that with attacks on progressive writers in the last few years, ministers must be more careful on the words they choose to use in a public forum. (Guardian: Sian Cain: Friday 30, Cotober 2020: Writers protest after minister suggests anti-racism books support segregation)
Decolonising The modern Race Relations Industry
I encourage readers to read the full articles on this subject matter and listen to Badenoch’s speech in parliament about critical race theory.
I understand the need for the British education system to be overhauled so that all children are taught about the achievements of African people, civilisations, and black British individuals who have made contributions to British history.
The problem that I have with schools teaching about African civilisations and black scientists and inventors etc, is one that I outlined in my article The Betrayal Of Black History Month. Teaching about these things in a vacuum without a proper context of how modern Britain was built and continues to be maintained on the exploitation of African resources, is a serious obstacle that the modern race relations industry fails to address.
Let us not be deceived either, the modern race relations industry such as Black Lives matter etc, is arguably just that, an industry, a business brand promoted and funded by a corporate agenda. (The Corporate Commodification of the Black Civil Rights Movement)
The other day I decided to take a look at the board members of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. On their web page they state that “We are an independent statutory body with the responsibility to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote the human rights of everyone in Britain (https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/about-us/what-we-do)
What alarmed me was the fact that many of the board members have ties to the corporate world. Caroline Waters OBE (Interim Chair), is a former director of BT Group people & policy and CEO of her consultancy firm, CW Consulting Box. (https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/caroline-waters-founder-cw-consulting-box-1)
Susan Johnson OBE (Interim Deputy Chair), was CEO of the Northern Business Forum and Executive Director Business Development for the Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward. (https://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/hseboard/johnson.htm)
Suzanne Baxter’s profile on Linked in says that she is a, “director and finance professional with substantial FTSE250 and public sector board and committee experience. She is a non-executive director, board committee member and Audit Committee Chair of international retailer WHSmith plc.”
“She was the CFO of Mitie Group plc for over 10 years overseeing a period of substantial growth and strategic redirection.”
Can you see Caroline, Susan or Suzanne exposing the corporate exploitation of African resources , or even advocating legal precedents for owners of corporations to be charged for crimes against humanity? I certainly can not.
The sole purpose and aim of a corporation is to generate profit and in my view they should not be dictating public policy on race equality or any other public body for that matter without stringent checks and balances and public accountability.
Let me make my point. Companies such as the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company are two of the most famous corporate examples of how the exploitation of human labour through the African Atlantic Slave Trade and African resources, created the wealth of Western economies and the modern world as we know it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation: Mercantilism)
In 2015, British taxpayers finished paying off a loan to the former British slave owners. Did you know that in 1835 Britain borrowed £20 million, £15 million of which came from Nathan Mayer Rothschild and his brother-in-law Moses Montefiore, to compensate British slave owners who had suffered losses as a result of the abolition of slavery? (Tax Justice Network: Naomi Fowler: June 9, 2020: Britain’s Slave Owner Compensation Loan, reparations and tax havenry)
Were you aware that your hard earned taxes as a person of African descent was used to pay off the wealthy slave-owning families such as former Prime Minister David Cameron, banking organisations like Barclays Bank, and stolen art collections as well as artifacts that sit in art galleries across Britain? Taxes from the Caribbean population was also used to compensate slave owners. It leaves a bitter tatse in one’s mouth!
Economist Utsa Patnaik said that for “…around 200 years, the East India Company and the British Raj siphoned out at least £9.2 trillion (or $44.6 trillion; since the exchange rate was $4.8 per pound sterling during much of the colonial period).”
The history of the British Empire, and the Atlantic Slave Trade is not just about the history of European domination of Africa, it is about the evolution of corporate power which is deeply embedded in every single part of our society today.
As Fowler said, “If British people don’t understand the past, they can’t understand the present. It is vital to understand how the City of London and Britain thrived from slavery, and colonialism, and how that continues to be played out today, nationally, and globally.“
I agree with that, but I think that we must go further. If our education system does not teach young people about the history of corporations and the role that they have played in the Atlantic Slave Trade and the exploitation of African resources to this very day, any discussion about reparations will become easily co-opted by a corporate agenda which will not bring equality or an understanding of what people need to understand about today’s world. Corporations and the wealthy financial elite that control them exploit all people regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality. Their sole purpose is profit and control of the world’s resources and people.
When corporate imperialism and power is exposed the narrative is no longer about black versus white, male versus female, straight versus gay, capitalism versus socialism, it becomes about ordinary people from all of walks of life and all races challenging corporate power all over the world to create a better future for all of us.
If Badenoch and her opponents really want to confront the monstrosity of racial injustices then they must be willing to confront the same monstrosity that Martin Luther King and Malcolm X confronted, and was assassinated for. I do not see any movement or leader confronting that monstrosity today.
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