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Welsh race equality advocates slam ‘fundamentally flawed’ UK Government racism report

03 Apr 2021 3 minute read
Professor Charlotte Williams, one of the signatories of the letter. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe

Wales’ leading race equality advocates have written to both the Prime Minister and the author of the UK Government’s race report to express their “deep disappointment” with it.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report by the UK Government published this week drew sharp criticism after claiming that “the British system is no longer “deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”.

The report claimed the term “institutional racism” should only be applied when deep-seated racism can be proven and that minorities should not “absorb a fatalistic narrative that says the deck is permanently stacked against them”.

Over 100 leading voices and groups in Wales have now signed a letter to the report’s author Dr Tony Sewell calling it “ill-informed” and “fundamentally flawed”.

“Historical amnesia and denial of atrocity are not a sound basis for the harmonious Britain that we all seek,” they said.

“While we find many elements of the Report interesting, its flaws of process, of attribution, of omission, of ignorance, of dismissal, of denial, and of basic courtesy, devalue it to the point where, as a whole, we cannot make use of it.

“We are saddened to see so much potential made unusable by so many limitations.”

Apology call

The names of the signatories on the letter include:

  • Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, Chair Welsh Government’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group
  • Judge Ray Singh CBE Chair, Race Council Cymru, Chair First Ministers BAME Covid 19 Advisory Group
  • Professor Uzo Iwobi OBE, Founder Race Council Cymru, Former Commissioner to the Commission for Racial Equality UK
  • Canon Aled Edwards OBE, Former Wales Commissioner, Commission for Racial Equality
  • Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, Vice Chair Race Council Cymru, Chair Welsh Governments’ Socioeconomic Sub Group, Co-chair Welsh Governments Steering Committee for “An Anti-Racist Wales: Race Equality Action Plan”.
  • Cindy Ikie, National Campaign Manager Black Lives Matter Wales (Collective of 13 Regional BLM Leaders in Wales)

The letter’s signatories also said that Council Cymru, National BAME Youth Forum for Wales, Race Equality First and other organisations were given no choice before being included as “stakeholders” in the report.

“As a matter of professional courtesy, we request the Commission to contact ourselves and other organisations in a similar position, and to issue apologies where appropriate,” they said.

“This is required especially for those who gave no evidence before the Commission and who would want to distance themselves from its conclusions.”

They also argued that the report ignored research done into minority groups in Wales.

“The Commissioners should have used work such as this, produced by organisations who have engaged a broader compass of experts and experiences in reaching their conclusions,” they said.”

They add: “The Commission’s Report, given its high public profile, reveals a level of ignorance concerning how Wales is governed that is disturbing.

“It has failed to grasp the essentials of the reserved powers model and failed to understand where competence lies. The Report also appears to confuse the Welsh legislature and the executive.”

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