Revoke the Sewell Report
Revoke the Sewell Report
This report changes the starting point for racial equality in the UK. It fails to address institutional failings and only goes to further support the disparities it purports to want to eliminate. The report lays the blame on marginalised groups for the inequalities in education, living standards, crime and employment. Despite the obvious disproportionate representations in the annals of power, the report blames BAME groups, placing particularly damming accusation against black Caribbean. The reports is demonstrative of lazy research and could arguably be read as suiting an already prescribed agenda. If this report is not revoked it will forever be used as a starting point of race relations in the UK today. This is a damning legacy for us as a society, especially at a time when discourse is finally happening in a way to bring about lasting and powerful change in the UK. No one benefits from this report just as no benefitted from the ‘rivers of blood’ speech in 1968. To lay the blame for the inequality of BAME groups at their door legitimacies the unfair treatment of marginalised groups and changes the axil of history – a history seeped in structural racism that sets the backdrop for our current condition. We are not operating in an equal playing field hence why marginalised groups continue to face discrimination through racial profiling due to perceived notions of race and faith. The consequences of which are that equality of opportunity does not exist for those it defined as BAME. Whilst BAME is a problematic term, simply removing it does not remove the problem of racial inequality.
In Sewell’s forward he states the report set out to do the following:
1. … investigate race and ethnic disparities in the UK.
2. …the UK needed to consider important questions about the state of race relations today,
3. …a thorough examination of why so many disparities persist.
4. …work out what can be done to eliminate or mitigate them.
The report does not meet its intended objectives. The report is not robust and does not clearly state what the important questions were, as a result it lacks rigour. Therefore, a consequence of the report is that it only goes further to compound disparities. Questions arise around the use of its evidence base to support an ideology that institutional racism does not exist in the UK. This flawed evidence base can be seen in the undeveloped points raised throughout notably in relation to reasons for high exclusions, low academic outcomes, early exits from university, employment and stop and search statistics. Whilst mentioning alarming disproportionate outcomes favouring those not classified as BAME, it does not offer a ‘thorough examination of its evidence.
The report singles out Black Caribbean from other BAME groups, in a manner which is offensive and goes against the objective of the report which was to eliminate and mitigate against disparities in race and ethnicity. Further, there exist an inconsistency around the use of this terminology and when and why groups are separated, as at times all are referred to as BAME. Importantly when grouped together, this group are compared to white working class, ignoring the fact that BAME groups exist in all socioeconomic spheres. How then can this report aim to meet its objective if the subjects are viewed through such a narrow lens? The report needs revoking and a more thorough analysis undertaken, free from assertions and more seeped in facts.