In response to the Report of the Commission on Race and
Ethnic Disparities, a joint statement has been released by the Educational
Institute of Scotland, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, NUS and UCU. It reads:
The findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, chaired by Dr
Tony Sewell, are an insult to all those in Britain who experience racism every
day of their lives.
The report's attempts to diminish the impact of structural and institutional
racism on the lives of Black* people in the UK are all the more galling in the
midst of a pandemic where minority ethnic communities have borne a hugely
disproportionate cost. It demonstrates an astonishing complacency and ignores
the fact that any progress made in improving the lives of Black people across
the UK has been won by decades of determined campaigning against the odds.
The report's suggestion that the UK should be a "model" for other
countries in their response to racism also ignores the wealth of evidence which
points to deeply unequal experiences faced by Black communities in the UK
today. This includes the fact that:
- More than nine-in-ten (93%) doctors who have died of Covid in the UK are
minority ethnic. The Royal College of Physicians recently found that over 75%
of BME doctors were concerned about their health, as opposed to 48% of all
doctors. The chair of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has
said that "BAME doctors often feel bullied and harassed at higher levels
compared to their white counterparts", and that they are "twice as
likely not to raise concerns because of fears of recrimination".
- Research by the TUC tells us that the unemployment rate for Indian,
Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups is around 10% higher than for White groups,
and that Black/African/Caribbean groups are more than twice as likely to be
unemployed than their White counterparts.
- Fewer than 1% of the professors employed at UK universities are Black, and
few British universities employ more than one or two Black professors. Only 140
academic staff at professorial level identified as black - equating to 0.7% out
of a total of more than 21,000 professors (HESA 2018-19). Only 27 of these
professors are women. More than nine in ten college Principals (93%) and
University vice chancellors (94%) are white.
- Black students at university are three times more likely to drop out than
their white counterparts. There is also a 26% gap in attainment of first or 2:1
degrees between Black students and their white counterparts (Universities
- Nine out of ten children on remand come from Black, Asian and Minority
Ethnic background (Transform Justice/Howard League for Penal Reform).
- In 2019/20, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people were over four times
more likely to be stopped and searched than White people. For Black people
specifically, this was almost nine times more likely. Black people were also 18
times more likely than White people to be searched (HM Inspectorate of
- Despite making up just 14% of the population, BAME men and women make up
25% of prisoners, while over 40% of young people in custody are from BAME
backgrounds. (The Lammy Review).
- Exclusion rates for Black Caribbean students in English schools are up to
six times higher than their white peers in some local authorities. Gypsy, Roma
and Traveller children are also excluded at much higher rates, with Roma
children nine times more likely to be suspended in some areas.
We are in no doubt about the purpose of this report. By attacking the
well-evidenced existence of structural and institutional racism, the government
hopes to dismantle any accountability for its own discriminatory actions.
Instead, the report blames black and brown communities themselves for
inequalities because they are "haunted" by historic, systemic racism.
We reject this assertion wholeheartedly, and reaffirm our determination to work
together in the fight to dismantle systemic racism in all its manifestations.
Educational Institute of Scotland, GMB union, NASUWT the
Teachers' Union, NAHT (the head-teachers' union), National Education Union
(NEU), NUS national union of students, UCU University and College Union
Note in the Joint Statement
*The term Black in this statement is used in a political sense to refer to all
those who are descended, through one or both parents, from Africa, the
Caribbean, Asia (the middle-East to China) and Latin America. Where third party
sources are referenced in this statement we have used the terminology which was
used in those reports.
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