A landmark report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has concluded that they “no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”. Although acknowledging racism and injustice do still exist, the report has caused deep concern and criticism amongst many equality-focused organisations.
Anti-racism and the fight for equality is at the core of the work that the Race Equality Network carries out. REN believes that the UK is an open and tolerant country respecting different cultural traditions and has welcomed migrants and provided them with opportunities to secure better standards of living. However, the existence of institutional and structural racism is evident in many aspects of UK society which negatively impacts on the inequalities faced by BAME communities and cannot be ignored if we are to create a fairer, more equal society where everyone can realise their full potential.
The inequalities have been particularly obvious this past year, during which countless inequalities faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities have been exacerbated and very clearly displayed for all to see. We know that the findings in the report do not properly and fully reflect the lived experiences of communities across the UK, and reminds us of the importance of working together with our partners to promote equality, kindness and respect.
REN seeks to articulate the racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, bigotry and xenophobia experienced by our communities, and to highlight the actual barriers these communities face when attempting to secure equal access to services and equitable outcomes. This will form the subject of research by REN in the coming months.
The Chair of REN, Yusuf Karolia, said:
“REN was looking forward to the findings of the report and acknowledges and agrees with some of its content particularly its recommendations. However, we are disappointed that the Commission has missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to highlight the very real institutional racism which continues to exist within our society and it is surprising that the Commission found absolutely no evidence of such institutional racism. This risks undermining some of the positive work some of our institutions and public bodies such as the Police have done and continue to do to address structural racism. It also undermines the vast amount of evidence gathering and research carried out by countless bodies which shows that there is still more work to do before our institutions are free from racism. REN is happy to work with all partners and the government to address the inequalities which exist in our communities.”
Board of the Race Equality Network, 1 April 2021