Thursday, October 12, 2017

UK’s Racial Disparity Audit – Who Benefits?

At a time when the 30th year of Black History Month is observed in October 2017, Prime Minister has tabled the report of her first dream project of ‘Racial Disparity Audit’ (RDA), on Tuesday, the 10th October, calling it as “world’s first” where peoples experiences have been studied and audited. There have been several findings that emerged out of the audit, raising serious concerns to the Black & Ethnic Minority (BEM)communities and for the British Public sphere in general.

The audit, as reported by several Newspapers, explains that Black communities are more vulnerable to be victims of crime, and are more often stopped by police than their White counterparts, White British school children start to fall behind at school at the age of seven compared to BEM communities, White British are more likely to be diagnosed with Cancer at their later stages, Indian workers are more highly paid in comparison to White British and other Ethnic groups, White British have more suicidal tendencies compared to others etc. and publish them as headliners. As a researcher I appreciate the efforts taken in auditing the racial disparity in the country, however, my researching spirit also provokes me to ask, for whose benefit this audit is done, or in other words who benefits from this audit? The commissioning of the audit is an acknowledgement of the growing racial disparity in the growing multi-cultural British society.

Allow me to bring in few discussion points here, which needs further and deeper engagement. These pointers are invitational for such engagements. Firstly, in a climate of Post-Brexit negotiations with captions ‘Briton first’ gearing up, the data made public and available for the ‘whole society’ for ‘transparency sake’ as the Government says, will serve as a nutrient supplement to those growing ‘White supremacists’ in Briton.

By RDA revealing that the BEM communities are excelling in schools and are taking better pay cheques than the White British communities, there is every danger of projecting BEM communities as a serious threat to ‘White Briton’, for it increasing a sense of insecurity among the White British communities. This threat and insecurity creates hatred towards BEM communities, and increase hate crimes, racial abuse etc. against their fellow British citizens from BEM communities. Indian workers drawing higher pay cheques will be seen as a threat to the White British communities, for they think that the job markets are taken over by them. 

Secondly, RDA creates an unhealthy competition among communities of various ethnicities, and creates divisions and conflicts among the BEM communities. By placing Chinese communities doing well at school, by placing Indian workers receiving higher wages etc. will create a hierarchy among BEM communities, and will widen the gap between these communities. This divide and rule has been a ploy employed by colonial episteme to dismantle the collective resistances against dominant powers

Thirdly, in what way is this RDA report benefitting BEM communities? These communities’ vulnerability is further exposed and their helplessness and powerlessness are brought into light. Does this RDA in any way explain the reasons for this growing disparity in the society? Will this report guarantee any confession & repentance from the perpetrators of racial disparity? Or in other words how does this report ensure justice to the victims and survivors of racial abuse in UK?

Fourthly, did not the Government know that there ever was racial disparity in British society till this RDA is made public? What newer revelations did this audit bring forth? All the findings are foregone conclusions.

Finally, does this audit in anyway engage in an action by the Governments in overcoming the exclusion? What are the creative ways and measures that the Government proposes in addressing the racial disparity in the society.

The intersectionality of class, gender, race and caste cannot be over-ruled in any audits and reports, and RDA should have taken note of it and included it in their audits, for such an intersectional audit would have arrived with different set of results. Now that this RDA report is out, I would like to suggest that the BEM communities need to have Affirmative actions provided by the government, so that there is a conscious place provided for their representations in their committees. This report also calls on the civil society and faith-based institutions to introspect the role and places of BEM communities in their leadership roles.  

“I have a dream where my children will not be judged by the colour of their skin, by the content of their character…” the dream of Martin Luther King is still a distant dream. However, “we shall overcome…”

Rajbharat Patta,

11th October 2017 

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