Firstly, I believe that having an open dialogue about disparities is essential if we are to move our society forward. To become one where ‘we are all humans regardless’, have the same opportunities to be our best and to be safe and happy. Therefore, I welcomed the idea of race and ethnic disparities being researched. However, whilst I recognise that there has been progress in our society surrounding prejudice and discrimination, as a young person growing up in an area where there is explicit racism, I don’t think the report has got everything right. I believe in some places the report may cause upset and anger, the opposite of its purpose. Please consider my reflections on the report.

The report states: "Individuals and their communities could help themselves through their own agency, rather than wait for invisible external forces to assemble to do the job.” (p.7) Of course, as individuals we all must take responsibility to honestly consider our own values and behaviours. We can try to be up standers and leaders of our own lives. If we are people who value equality, respect and kindness, this will have a positive impact on our communities. Community groups play a vital role in creating a culture of kindness, respect and opportunity, but I don’t think that is enough.

Community groups play a vital role in creating a culture of kindness, respect and opportunity, but I don’t think that is enough.

Our parents and carers voted for the Government, trusting them to serve everyone in our country. By saying we shouldn’t wait for the Government to ‘assemble and do the job’, in my opinion, is taking all responsibility from those who have been voted into power. My school chose to work alongside charities such as the Anne Frank Trust because we had a problem with prejudice. Great progress has been made but schools will always need support, people will always need this education. If the external forces don’t accept there is a problem will funding for this anti-prejudice education disappear? I worry that by saying we ‘wait for invisible external forces to assemble and do the job’, many of my friends and peers who have experienced prejudice and discrimination feel that they don’t matter. They will think that their suffering is not bad enough for the ‘external forces’ to step in and help. I think this report ignores the day to day hatred and suffering that many young people and minorities’ experience. There are still doors that don’t open to people because of their race.

The report says: “Race is not the main factor that decides people’s life chances.” (p. 37-38). Family breakdown is a more important factor (p. 7) I do agree that geography and family breakdown can affect life chances, but I think by saying that, there is a danger that the report sugar coats everything else, and we stop looking at the effect of race. This is dangerous when so many people are not able to live a full life simply because of their race or culture. Many people believe that data in this report has been cherry picked to suit the outcome wanted. I don’t pretend to know this but this fear needs to be addressed.

There are still doors that don't open to people because of their race

The report says: “Solutions should not be targeted at minority groups but provided for everyone (p. 53). I think we should find solutions for everyone, but these solutions have to be targeted to have an impact. A solution for a White, homosexual boy may not be the same solution for a Black, Muslim heterosexual girl. We cannot say all lives matter until we ensure black lives, gay lives, and girls’ lives all matter equally to everyone.

People were looking to this report for hope and I think it makes people feel like they are complaining unnecessarily. Advice on careers is always welcome and may inspire people from minority groups to apply for places at the best universities and jobs, but if the ‘snowy peaks’ still exist will the advice count? Shouldn’t the invisible external forces be doing more about these ‘snowy peaks’? I am happy that the report talks about educating us about the positives around race and I hope that the Government introduces programmes of study that educate us about our diverse history. There are too many gaps in our knowledge and unless schools offer enrichment and anti‐prejudice education many of us will remain ignorant. By not making changes this is how prejudice is allowed to grow.

I hope that the Government introduces programmes of study that educate us about our diverse history

The report mentions how “institutional racism” should apply only to serious discrimination within a specific organisation. It should be not for more general unintended bias (p. 35). On the surface this seems a very sensible attitude. We must not presume or label all people of certain organisations racist. For example, the perception and trust of the police in America has been damaged because of the murder of George Floyd, but we know that not all police are racist. Yet, when we read this comment and then also think about the comments about slavery found in the report, do we need to worry that the report is saying institutional racism doesn’t exist at all? Will this mean that no allegation will be taken seriously? Also, what is unintended bias? I can understand that a child brought up in a racist home may not understand how their values and behaviours are unfair and damaging, but how can anyone who has experienced anti‐prejudice education argue that bias is unintended? If people don’t know they are biased this again supports the idea that it cannot just be individuals and communities that find solutions. It must be the Government and outside sources also. In my own experience, and from talking to students at other schools, charities, such as the Anne Frank Trust, being funded and sent into all schools to enrich the curriculum, raise awareness and understanding and to encourage us all to use our voice for positive change. I hope that this will somehow be addressed by the recommendations. We also spoke of the influence and the lack of regulation of social media platforms. The recent sports social media boycott highlighted this, but the report recommendations do not appear to mention how the Government could step in. Again, is this to be left to individual people and communities?

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