The Church of England’s first black female bishop has criticized the conclusions of a government report on race, saying Britain is not yet “a model for other white majority countries.”
Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who became the first black female bishop of the Church of England in 2019, expressed concern following the release of a 250-page Commission report on racial and ethnic inequalities last week.
The historical review, conducted in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement, concluded that the country is no longer a place “where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.”
The report also said that the “success of much of the ethnic minority” in education and the economy “should be seen as a model for other white-majority countries.”
However, Ms. Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover, said there were “serious problems” with the report’s findings and that Britain would set an example if there was diversity in all areas of leadership.
Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin criticized the conclusions of a 250-page report published last week by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I think what worried me most about that report was about this general thing that Britain can now set an example for other majority whites. No, it is not an example.
‘Is it getting some things right? Definitely yes.
‘But we’ll be an example when I walk into big establishments, or any establishment, and I don’t see black people just sweeping the floors, doing the cleaning and catering.
‘I’ll know when I see black people sitting around every table in this country.
‘When I see black people in leadership in all walks of life, then we’ll be able to say – and I’ll happily say that Britain can become a model country.
‘We’re not there yet, so please don’t let ourselves be fooled.
‘Do we absolutely have problems with families? This is just over the border and I’ve always said every time the government makes a law that they should have a department for the family.
‘The building block of the community through which they check everything. How does this law affect family life?
“I think there are serious issues around that report when it tells us we are now a model (country).”
Ms Hudson-Wilkin also said that tackling the subject of race requires a “multidisciplinary approach” and that the government cannot use this report to “wash its hands off this problem.”
She told The Church Times, ‘Do we have a problem with families? Yes, I believe so, but this will not be resolved by simply blaming the families – it needs a multidisciplinary approach.
Ms Hudson-Wilkin said Britain will only become an example if there is diversity in all areas of leadership
Protesters take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Trafalgar Square, London, after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis
This goes well beyond “Doctor, heal yourself”. I know we are on Holy Week, but the government cannot “do a Pilate” and use this report to wash its hands off this problem. ‘
The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities stressed that racism is a ‘real force’ in Britain and needs to be addressed while hailing progress over the decades
Last week, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report said racism is a ‘real force’ in Britain and needs to be addressed, hailing the country’s ‘model’ progress over the decades.
The review said geography, family influence, socioeconomic background, culture, and religion all affect life chances more than racism.
The report – which was criticized by Labor MPs as an ‘insult,’ ‘whitewash’ and ‘disgraceful sham’ – said that in terms of total numbers of white boys from low-income families, they were the most disadvantaged.
It also hit the ‘casual’ use of the term ‘institutional racism’ and said there was little evidence to support the claims.
The report also said that the term “racism” was often “misapplied” to “explain any perceived inequality” – suggesting companies should “move away from” unconscious bias training.
But it has since been criticized for being ‘culturally deaf’ and out of step with public opinion.
Ms. Hudson-Wilkin added: “One of the dangers … when some of us have reached and reached certain heights, whatever those heights may be, we run the risk of thinking that all is well.
“It is not and we should never confuse the fact that we have achieved something into thinking that it is perfectly all right.”
At a Glance: What Does the Milestone Review Recommend?
Social media: ‘Far too often’ companies do not take ‘decisive measures’ to tackle racist content. Failure to act should lead to ‘severe punishment’ and ‘public naming and shaming’.
Body cameras: There must be a ‘strong suspicion’ that all video cameras worn on the body by the police are turned on during the stop and search. Agents who do not turn on their camera should be required to explain in writing why it is not turned on.
Police training: Provide all new police officers with de-escalation training and improve training to increase the effectiveness of stop and search.
Unconscious bias training: Organizations must “move away” from training in favor of employee sponsorship schemes and routine skills support for all employees.
Payment differences: All employers who publish salary data on ethnicity must also publish a ‘diagnosis and action plan’ to indicate how they can improve the situation.
Health Disparities Office: Set up a new independent body to work with the NHS to improve healthy life expectancy in the UK and in all groups.
Drug possession: Young people with ‘low class B drug possession’ should be deported from the criminal justice system. Perpetrators would instead be offered ‘public health solutions’.
Longer school day: The Education Secretary should “urgently consider introducing an extended school day,” with priority for the most disadvantaged areas and communities.
Education: Improve career advice for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and expand outreach programs to help reduce disparities in higher education applications.
National curriculum: Needs to be updated to make it more ‘inclusive’ and to ‘tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions of various groups that have made this country the country it is today’.
Police recruitment: London’s policy of local recruiting must be rolled out to all police forces in England and Wales to create police officers who ‘represent the communities they serve’.
BAME: The government should ‘refrain’ from using the BAME acronym ‘to better focus on understanding inequalities and outcomes for specific ethnic groups’.