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BBC Newsnight

The race report

Shame on our craven white establishment  

BBC2’s Newsnight

When he ordered Christ’s crucifixion, says Trevor Phillips in The Times, the Roman official Pontius Pilate was so afraid of the mob that he washed his hands of the whole affair, bleating pathetically: “Am I a Jew?” He shrank into the shadows, just as our white establishment has done in its reaction to the Sewell report on race in Britain. So far I haven’t seen or heard a single discussion about the report that involves someone from this country’s “ethnic majority” – 85% of our people. All we’ve had is a series of “shouting matches between people of colour”.

The white establishment is terrified that “anything other than scourging themselves for their inherent and irredeemable racism will call down the cry of racist”. But if white people need to change their behaviour, shouldn’t they be part of the discussion? The Sewell report is rich in statistical detail and calls for new policies in education, health, employment and criminal justice, but the government made a mistake: it appointed, with one exception, only people of colour to the commission. That sent a signal that white Britons had “no place in the debate”. So the self-proclaimed radicals, who to my mind are the least keen on change, have won the day, drowning out the evidence and delighting a shallow media. 

Why it matters Extremists are using “identitarian blackmail” to undermine our democracy, says Phillips, and not just on racial matters. A teacher is hounded out of a school in Batley. Men are shut out of the debate on sexism. All the while, mainly white decision-makers “stand back and smile indulgently”. 

Read the full article here.