Is there ‘systemic racism’ in Britain? Two views (ii)

Jun 30, 2020 by

by David Shepherd, Psephizo:

In the second of two articles, David Shepherd responds to Will Jones’ argument in the previous post:

For many people in the UK, any doubts about the existence of systemic racism were dispelled when, in 1999, after a two-year public inquiry, the highly respected retired High Court judge, Sir William MacPherson, published his eponymous report concerning the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

That report provided what has become the enduring definition of institutional racism:

The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.  It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping which disadvantage ethnic minority people.

The term ‘institutional’ was apt because (as expert witness, Dr. Robin Oakley, testified) the inquiry heard incontrovertible evidence of a:

generalised tendency, particularly where any element of discretion is involved, whereby minorities may receive different and less favourable treatment than the majority. Such differential treatment need be neither conscious nor intentional, and it may be practised routinely by officers whose professionalism is exemplary in all other respects.

Another submission to the MacPherson inquiry explained how racism can be systemic:

Read here


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