Munira Mirza, the Spiked representative on Earth
What the exercise has shown is that when report compilation is entrusted to people who have denied the existence of institutional racism in the past, one should not be unduly surprised that the duly compiled report says much the same thing. Or that hiring refugees from the planet Spiked means other Spiked alumni see no problem with their work.
Even so, the scale of criticism has, it seems, surprised the report’s authors, who have, as Alan White of Politics Home put it, “come out swinging”. He goes on to tell that “Among other things - they deny they ever said that ‘racism does not exist in society or in institutions.’ Also: ‘The idea that the Commission would downplay the atrocities of slavery is as absurd as it is offensive to every one of us’”. But this was unpersuasive.
Meenal Viz, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, made a series of observations (thread HERE), noting “This reads like an op-ed rather than a balanced report” and concluding “The 2021 #RaceReport is fatally flawed. Denying the existence of structural racism is to deny the lived experiences of millions … Leaking headlines like ‘BRITAIN'S RACE REVOLUTION’ in an institutionally racist tabloid tells us all credibility is shot”.
Historian Diana Paton picked up on the non-downplaying of slavery. “The report says nothing about the inhumanity of slavery. The only thing it says about suffering due to slavery is that we shouldn’t talk about it too much”. Another historian added “And not only does it not say that Africans preserved their culture, it views it as a good thing that those cultures were destroyed on the path to Britishness”. It got worse.
As the Guardian has reported, theologian Robert Beckford, “professor of Black theology at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, said the report had reduced slavery’s racial terror and Britain’s racial capitalism to a simple exchange of cultural ideas”. Also, “Hakim Adi, professor of the history of Africa and the African diaspora at the University of Chichester, told the Guardian that the report’s foreword failed to make clear that the subjugation of millions of African people was a crime against humanity”. And worse still.
Historian David Olusoga, professor of public history at Manchester University, wrote that “Shockingly, the authors - perhaps unwittingly - deploy a version of an argument that was used by the slave owners themselves in defence of slavery 200 years ago: the idea that by becoming culturally British, black people were somehow beneficiaries of the system”.
He went on to conclude that “Determined to privilege comforting national myths over hard historical truths, they give the impression of being people who would prefer this history to be brushed back under the carpet”. Olusoga characterised the report as “poisonously patronising” and “historically illiterate”. To no surprise at all, entrusting a report to some who have made a living from denying reality ends up, er, denying reality.
But one useful purpose has been served here, to confirm that putting those Spiked alumni on the Government payroll is in the Bozo tradition: a complete waste of public money.
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