I’m encouraging my co- author of Not so Black and White to pitch an article in response to the Sewell report, whose authors found no evidence of institutional racism and who recommend that diversity training for police officers be abolished. After being on the receiving end of a racist incident which was not handled well by the police, Nancy Mudenyo Hunt applied for the post of Diversity Trainer in the Thames Valley Police Force – to try to change things. Her experience in the force is strongly at odds with the findings of the Sewell Commission’s report. After their training many officers thanked her with flowers because they had understood what was going wrong. Martin Hewitt, the chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council says that the police have consistently treated black people differently .
The Archbishop of Canterbury says there is institutional racism in the church and Sir Michael Marmot whose research is quoted in the Sewell report says racial disparities report underplays impact of structural racism in health outcomes. Eleanor Mills, the former editorial director of the Sunday Times, quits sighting failure to publicly confront structural racism in the media.
The report is not wrong in pointing out that class, family, gender and wealth impact on our life experiences . That is why Not so Black and White is nuanced but to deny that 400 years of race discrimination in our institutions has gone away doesn’t seem feasible. Being honest about our past and its impact on today’s society is the first step to changing our country for the better.