Race: An Inconvenient Truth – Things we Won’t Say about Race that are True

Things We Won’t Say about Race that are True

Channel 4

Thursday 19th March 2015

Television Review

The Trevor Phillips documentary, ‘Things we Won’t Say about Race that are true’ promised an expose of truth’s about race and that’s what we got. Well not everything as there’s much more that could be said, but there was enough focus on key areas that are cause for concern.

One of the highlights was the discussion with Operation Black Vote Chief, Simon Woolley. It was quite astonishing that Woolley advocated a colour blind approach to policing. This on the surface appears naive, simplistic and wrong. Can we expect the Police and the general public not to offer racial descriptors when describing alleged criminals?

The programme displayed a range of statistics which seemed well researched and able to withstand challenge. The statistics were quite startling. For instance you have a 1 in 9 million chance of being killed if you are white, but if you’re Black, that chance rises to a staggering 26 in 9 million.

75% of black people who were killed, were murdered by fellow black people. An inconvenient and uncomfortable truth perhaps, but surely one would rather know that than live in ignorance and/or fairytale denial.

People prefer segregation

Phillips colourful phrase about people living in “sunset segregation” where they work with one set of people, but go home to neighbourhoods and people totally distinct from those they work with was an interesting term. The same is self evident when it comes to socialising too; people from different cultural backgrounds tend to socialise amongst themselves. The phrase “birds of a feather flock together” springs to mind!

It’s probably natural but that may be the nub of the issue.

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips, as former Commission for Racial Equality Chief, helped introduce and/or strengthen existing anti-discrimination legislation. So has that driven racism underground? Did it ever really go away?

Maybe the battle to minimise or eradicate racism, will only be won by winning over hearts and minds, not by the ‘sledge hammer’ of heavy legislation.


The tragic events of 7/7 lead to his infamous “sleepwalking to segregation” speech which was roundly denounced by many politicians. However time has proved Phillips was correct to forewarn and be afraid of the consequences of segregation. Incidentally it was that speech in 2005 that directly stimulated the establishment of Tiemo Talk of the Town to tackle topical debates and formed the subject of our first public debate back in 2005.

Nigel Farage

It was fascinating to hear UKIP Leader Nigel Farage during the documentary say that he’d do away with all discrimination legislation. He seems to have forgotten the reason why such laws were introduced. Although in an ideal world perhaps they wouldn’t be necessary, it’s too soon, if indeed there will ever be a time, to repeal them. I do think his comment about being able to offer, as Gordon Brown once said, “British jobs for British workers” is worthy of consideration. I see no reason not to look after British citizens first when it comes to employment. Surely our aim should be to work toward zero unemployment and having a work force sufficiently skilled and motivated to fulfilling all the employment opportunities this country produces.

Victoria Climbie and Rotherham

The tragic cases of the death of Victoria Climbie in Haringey, North London and the Rochdale grooming scandal, all developed in a time of people fearing to speak the inconvenient truth. Sadly it resulted in the death of an innocent young black girl and 2,000+ young Rotherham girls being sexually exploited for far too many years, whilst too many people, professionals and politicians alike, who should have known better, didn’t speak up.

It’s this sort of sweeping the blatantly obvious under the carpet that allowed the Jimmy Savile scandal to go on for so many years. Detected but un-reported and therefore blighting many young people’s lives, when their elder’s should have known and done better to bring his abuse to an end. 

Les Ferdinand

Former football star Les Ferdinand made an interesting observation that he’d only once been sounded out for a football manager role in 7 years since quitting playing football and that by the then Chairman of Bournemouth FC, who happened to be non-white.

Whilst revealing in itself, you could argue that many managers and ex-footballer players are being denied management opportunities due to the open borders we have in Europe. Allied to the preference of football owners and managers for recruiting overseas players and managers this further restricts employment opportunities in our national game.

I think the consequences are damaging in so many ways. One, for the restriction of opportunities and hope for home grown talent to play and manage in the game and two, the knock on effect on England, who have yet to win or get close to winning the World Cup since 1966. We may have a great Premier League, but it’s not helped our national team’s interests.

White is the new Black

He ended the show in a curious way, saying ‘White is the new Black’, with a feature of a multi-cultural school in Leicester with around 35 different nationalities represented and 45-50 different languages spoken. Ironically, you might say, the educational achievements of those for whom English is not their first language exceeds that of those for whom English is their first language. People might have assumed it would be the other way around. If anything, as the Head teacher stated, the crisis to be tackled now is that of under achieving white British school children.


I found the programme to be a fair, balanced and frank portrayal of a number of topics that are not spoken of publicly and certainly not on television. This might be an inconvenient truth, but I think Trevor Phillips is to be applauded for making this show and stimulating this great national debate.

Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town

Thank you for reading our review. We hope you enjoyed it and that if you did, will post a comment and/or share it with others who have the same interest in this topic and may also appreciate the chance to read it and comment.

Tiemo Talk of The Town review and organise topical debates, seminars and comedy shows. Since 2005 we have held debates on a variety of topics, including social issues that empower people and communities; politics, the family, relationships, personal finance, education and religion.


1. Channel 4 programme – Things We Won’t Say about Race that are True

2. Mail on Sunday article on race by Trevor Phillips – 15th March 2015

3. No Laughing Matter? Race, Identity and the Humour of Sacha Baron Cohen – Symposium review from Brunel University – 11th March 2015

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7 Responses to Race: An Inconvenient Truth – Things we Won’t Say about Race that are True

  1. DCS says:

    Excellent Analysis. Trevor was just saying what we all know but do not want to or like to hear. It is our role to change the stereotype but our actions as a community do not help.

    More importantly our own leaders do not have a positive track record of making a difference, so for me the Conservatives will win the general election.

    OBV will have little effect, because the younger generation are confused by Asians presenting as black, when their relationship with black people is not symbiotic at all.

    • Tiemo Talk says:

      Thank you. Its hard to disagree with that.

      However I think some of our politicians do a lot, much of which may go un-noticed. I think Diane Abbott for instance has to be given great credit for her work addressing the under-performance of Black school children and I believe that work, such as the London Schools Black Child conferences are bearing fruit as academic performance has improved in recent years to the extent it is now White British youth who need more attention in the classroom.

  2. DCS says:

    The politics of race is nothing new and while I understand the stereotypes are not palatable, we have to ask the question, ‘what are we doing to change the stereotypes? What action have we taken to uplift the community for the past 50 Years?’

    For all the political mile stones, we still do not have credible political leaders. While I am no fan of Trevor Philips, it serves no real purpose people scaremongering about issues of race or racism when it is a statistical fact that black people are more likely to be victims of violent crime by other black people as opposed to be victims of racist attacks.

    I am also of the view that is wrong to use the issue of racism to garner votes against political parties. The assumption would be that other parties are our saving grace. If anyone has a sense of history they will be more than aware that it was the trade unions affiliated to the Labour party that were responsible for some of the most racist employment practices of the 1960’s. The Conservatives were not better, but at least they were very clear about their agenda on every possible level.

    The older generation does not understand the new political realities. The idea that Operation Black Vote can muster up interest in the community is absolute nonsense. They have very little influence, most people outside London have never heard of them and to be honest the younger generation don’t trust any politicians.

    In essence, the younger generation does not buy into the political notion that everyone who is oppressed is black. They do not buy into the socialist stuff either. After the Lib Dems about turn on student fees, many students would not trust any politician, let alone black politicians.

    Young people classify themselves based on their culture and ethnicity, not the political black rubbish. They do not like the lumping people together of Black and Asians as if they are one group. It’s disrespectful and just wrong.

    The idea of so called colour blind policing, as called for by Simon Woolley, is rubbish. It’s stupid and not realistic. OBV are only using race for political reasons.

    Why is it that all the black politicians have white partners? Is not that racist against black people?

    All this talk about race and the broadcast of Trevor Philips’ documentary is about stoking the fire of racism for political gain. The race card being played is a joker and clearly the older generation do not realise that the younger generation can see the game and are sick and tired of being manipulated by black and white racists who have no interest in the betterment of the community, unless there is a funding pot attached.

    When you understand the political game being played and who the real race scare-mongers are you realise that it’s not always Black and White.

  3. DCS says:

    This is part of a larger plan. The EDL having marching up and down Dudley for months. I can assure you that all this discussion about race is a distraction from the real agenda. The agenda is the decimation of the NHS and more welfare cuts. Like I said, minority MP’s are using the race issue for political gain. So when I hear anyone using just race as a mantra for voting be very, very aware. At least Trevor Philips was honest about his views. Most importantly, he is not running for political office. So let’s be clear, if we focus on race in a majority country to garner votes for Labour and all the mad lefties, we will not gain. That applies to all other parties. The left only use the black vote or minority vote, then do nothing for the majority but offer funding to the few.

    I am also of the view that none of the parties have our interests at heart, especially the black community, because we simply do not add economic value. They now understand that we are a divided community. We no longer have that strong identifiable community. We no longer have credible leaders. Yes we have leaders who can shout out slogans get a few people to march but in the big scheme of things … nothing has really changed.

    Yes we can cite policies and legislation changes, but in all honestly, any big changes have come about as consequence of Doreen Lawrence. Outside that, no real change has come about despite all the black MP’s in Parliament.

    Unlike the Asians, we are an economic spending block, mainly employed by the public sector. While the Asian and many other communities have strong economic infrastructure and might I add, the majority will vote for the Conservative party, because of the business imperative……the race card has now become a Joker!

    Personally, I will not vote this time around. I will not be bullied or manipulated by politicians using the race card. I will certainly not be taking note of political activists who were once in a position of power to make a difference, but became part of the status quo. I certainly have no interest in supporting black politicians who use the race card, while seeking votes, but once elected vote in support of policies that do not help the community.

    In essence, the community is no longer convinced by the race issue as a means of gaining any sense of power. Might I add that unlike the USA, there are no highly concentrated black areas, not even council estates. These spaces are being torn down so that political block in all cities is being eroded on a massive scale.

    The balance of political power in terms of votes is in the hands of the Asian community. Might I also add that arguments which suggest that the BLACK community can determine the election results is rubbish. Especially in a country that is still 95% white. It’s not convincing. I have seen the research and trust me the data needs further scrutiny. It is part of a wider initiative to convince minorities that they are being heard. Let me drop it like this. When New Labour, ‘new danger’, were in power, what did they do for minorities? Come on talk up! At least the rest are clear about their real agenda. Themselves. They do not pretend it is otherwise.

    Now let’s be real. Even the immigrant population are still white, so people who are assuming that these new minorities, that is white immigrants, will side with Black and Asians need to think again! The black community was once a feared community. That is no longer the case. We have been sussed, exposed as full of slogans and little else.

    Might I add that the changing demographics in terms of black and white is such that former loyalties to labour have changed and we need to understand that very, very clearly. The only way the Black community will have any influence is through economics. No one listens to poor people. It’s also not helped when we see lists of so called influential black people in UK lists when in reality they are only on those lists because of their high profile positions. The majority do not have the ear of the power elite, neither do they have real power.

    Let me give you an example. The statue of the mixed raced Mary Seacole is struggling to get funding, yet the Ghandi statue has been done and dusted and now stands in Parliament Square. Read between the lines.

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