Things We Won’t Say about Race that are True
Thursday 19th March 2015
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, 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.
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.
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
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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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