LONDON (AP) – A committee under the preamble to conclude that Britain has no systemic problem with racism has defended itself against critics, with some arguing that it is exacerbating the country’s historic role in slavery.
Late Friday evening, the Committee on Racial-Ethnic Disagreements responded that disagreement with the government’s proposed review was “misunderstood”, especially the allegations that slavery had turned positive.
“This distortion jeopardizes the purpose of the report – to understand the causes of inequality in the UK, to address any positive action that follows,” the commission said in a statement.
The Conservative government launched a commission of inquiry into racial inconsistencies against the backdrop of last year’s Black Lives Matter movement. The panel, which consisted of 11 members of a broad cross-ethnic group, concluded that although there was “overt racism” in Britain, the country was not “institutionally racist” or “fake” against minorities.
A report released Wednesday, citing gaps between ethnic groups in educational and economic achievement, said the race was becoming “less important” as a factor in creating inconsistencies that are fueled by the “family” of the class.
Many academics, lawmakers, and anti-racism activists were skeptical of the 258-page report, some argued that the commission was ignoring barriers to equality, while others said it was exacerbating the legacy of Britain’s colonial past.
David Olusoga, a professor of public history at the University of Manchester and one of Britain’s leading academics on slavery, became the last to join the criticism.
“Strongly preferring to comfort national myths over hard historical truths, they (the panel) give the impression of people wanting this story to be thrown under the rug,” he wrote in The Guardian on Saturday.
In a statement issued before Olusoga’s article, the commission said that the idea of exacerbating the atrocities of slavery was “as absurd as it is offensive to each of us” and described the personal attacks on its members as “irresponsible and dangerous.”
“We have never said that racism does not exist in society or in institutions,” it said. “We say the opposite. “Racism is real. We must do more to combat it.”
Like other countries, Britain has had an awkward calculation for the race since the death of black George George Floyd by a white police officer in May 2020, sparking anti-racism protests around the world.
A large crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters across the UK last summer called on the government իտ institutions to support the British Empire և the country’s huge profits from the slave trade.
The demolition of a 17th-century statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader in Bristol, prompted a debate over how to deal with Britain’s past. Many felt that such statues raised racism, a disgrace to black Britons. Others, including the prime minister, have argued that removing them erases a piece of history.