The following are all quotations from the report of the British Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. Understand that essentially all of them apply with equal force to the racial situation in the United States, the difference being that the U.K. has had the courage to fund an objective, data-based study of racial disparities that, from start to finish, gives the lie to the woke narrative that those disparities stem from -and can only stem from - white racism against blacks.
We need to place that [racial disparities] debate on objective and democratic foundations – ones that include people of goodwill, of all races and ethnicities.
We envisage a country more at ease with itself because it can recognise where progress has been made.
Prejudice and discrimination can still cast a shadow over lives.
But we have ensured our analysis has gone beyond these individual instances, to carefully examine the evidence and data, and the evidence reveals that ours is nevertheless a relatively open society.
The country has come a long way in 50 years and the success of much of the ethnic minority population in education and, to a lesser extent, the economy, should be regarded as a model for other White-majority countries.
There is a salience and attention to race equality in the UK in policy-making, and in the media… there is an expectation of ethnic minority voices at the top of politics – across the political parties, and in law, education, medicine, business, media and culture – that did not exist a generation ago.
Our enquiries have also underlined to us that the roots of advantage and disadvantage for different groups are complex, and often as much to do with social class, ‘family’ culture and geography as ethnicity.
This Commission has taken a different starting point: to look at the underlying causes of disparities to better understand why they have come about, and what can be done to address them over the long run.
We found that most of the disparities we examined, which some attribute to racial discrimination, often do not have their origins in racism. Racism has become one of the most potent taboos in the UK, which was not the case 50 years ago. Some argue this has just driven it underground where it operates as powerfully as ever to deny equality to ethnic minorities. That assumption is at odds with the stories of success that this report has found, together with survey evidence of dwindling White prejudice.
However, there is also an increasingly strident form of anti-racism thinking that seeks to explain all minority disadvantage through the prism of White discrimination. This diverts attention from the other reasons for minority success and failure, including those embedded in the cultures and attitudes of those minority communities themselves.
There is much evidence to suggest, for example, that different experiences of family life and structure can explain many disparities in education outcomes and crime. Early years experiences, including stability and security at home, matters to children more than anything else.
We reject both the stigmatisation of single mothers and the turning of a blind eye to the impact of family breakdown on the life chances of children.
Rather than just highlighting minority disparities and demanding the government takes action, we have tried to understand why they exist in the first place.
We have focused not just on persistent race-based discrimination but on the role of cultural traditions, including family, within different minority groups, the overlap between ethnic and socio-economic disadvantage, and the agency we have as individuals and groups.
And we believe that perhaps more than previous reports on these issues a degree of optimism is justified. Our agenda is rooted in the significant progress we have made as well as the challenges that remain.
And our experience has taught us that you do not pass on the baton of progress by cleaving to a fatalistic account that insists nothing has changed. And nor do you move forward by importing bleak new theories about race that insist on accentuating our differences. It is closer contact, mutual understanding across ethnic groups and a shared commitment to equal opportunities that has contributed to the progress we have made.
Too many people in the progressive and anti-racism movements seem reluctant to acknowledge their own past achievements, and they offer solutions based on the binary divides of the past which often misses the point of today’s world.
Beneath the headlines that often show egregious acts of discrimination … incremental progress is being made as our report has shown beyond doubt. Through focusing on what matters now, rather than refighting the battles of the past, we want to build on that progress.
So the Report makes a few basic points: Racial and ethnic discrimination still exist. Racial and ethnic discrimination is far less than it was just a generation ago. The U.K. is basically an open society, i.e. open to the effort and accomplishments of all. The woke narrative of undiminished white oppression of blacks is almost entirely without merit. That narrative stands to make matters worse, not better.
I say that’s a fair, if limited, description of the situation in the United States.