Black Church leaders respond to Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report

Following the publication of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report on 31 March 2021, The National Church Leaders Forum – A Black Christian Voice (NCLF) has released the following statement:

NCLF notes that in light of last year’s worldwide protests against racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in the USA, the UK government commissioned a report into race and ethnic disparities. 

Since the publication of the report, there have been widespread expressions of dissatisfaction with some of its contents, with some of our leaders expressing on behalf of their parishioners, feelings of deep hurt, especially concerning the suggestion that institutional or systemic racism in the UK no longer exists. This runs counter to their lived experiences and the success of some has been achieved in spite of, not in the absence of, institutional or systemic racism.

This miscalculation is to be regretted since it hinders real engagement with elements of the report that could be impactful. 

The Christian faith promotes justice based on God’s call to love our neighbour as ourselves, and those in authority to administer fairness for everyone. Racism along with other intersectional factors lead to disparities and inequities in employment, education, health, housing and much more. 

While significant progress has been made in our multicultural society, much more needs to be done before the U.K. can justly regard ourselves as a beacon of racial justice in the world.

NCLF Further:

–       Welcomes the recommendation to abolish the term BAME, which enjoys wide consensus. 

–       Concurs with the report’s authors that Sir William Macpherson definition of institutional racism has stood the test of time (p.35) and therefore seeks further clarification on the report’s conclusion on this specific point.

–       Encourages the Commission to pursue work in the areas of the report that are already aligned with previous reports’ arguments and recommendations. 

–       Welcomes the four themed recommendations (Build Trust, Promote Fairness, Create Agency, and Achieve Inclusivity) that we believe now need to be explored and acted upon to address the continuing disparities and unequal outcomes within our society.

–       Strongly urges that this and future reports undergo a process of peer review (to avoid further division)

Finally, NCLF calls upon all participants in public discourse to adopt a respectful and constructive approach in the exchange of views. Church leaders stand ready to contribute to conversations and actions leading to a more racially and ethnically just country.

The NCLF was founded in 2015 and consists of key leaders in the African and Caribbean churches in the UK.

The NCLF seeks to bring greater cohesion and unity to African and Caribbean Christians and give greater visibility and voice to the mission of the Black Church Movement in Britain Visit www.nclf.org.uk for more details

For further information and interviews contact Joe Aldred on info@nclf.org.uk

Marcia Dixon

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