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Anti-racism industry creating a dependency upon race experts in which ‘racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’, says think-tank report

The anti-racism industry ‘creates a dependency’ upon a race discourse that sows division, finds a new Civitas report. ‘The tragic consequence’, the report finds, ‘is that racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’.

‘The message from the media and best-selling books, as well as from an array of diversity workshops held in schools, universities and the workplace, is that not being racist is no longer sufficient: we must all be actively anti-racist. What’s more, we must demonstrate our anti-racism in ways approved by a cohort of race experts.’

The report looks into the rise of ‘Critical Race Theory’, newly migrated from academia and which provides the theoretical underpinnings for today’s anti-racism industry. Entire new phrases have entered our vocabulary: terms like systemic racism, unconscious bias, white privilege and cultural appropriation.

It proposes that Critical Race Theory ‘…provides a burgeoning group of diversity trainers, race experts and assorted professional anti-racists with the ideas that substantiate their practice within schools, universities and the workplace.’

‘Anti-racism training has become a big business with the most popular speakers and authors generating considerable revenue.’

At the heart of Williams’ investigation is a key set of questions: ‘But what if this ubiquitous anti-racism does little to improve outcomes for members of the BAME community? Worse, what if contemporary anti-racism breathes new life back into racial thinking and emphasises differences between people that were only recently being overcome?’

In considering changing ideas around race, racism and anti-racism and examining today’s anti-racism industry, this report draws upon a wide range of academic and popular literature – including interviews with participants in workplace diversity training programmes and online content from training providers.

The argument throughout the report finds that:

‘… as anti-racism has rejected the civil rights era aspiration for colour blindness, people are once more being taught to see each other as racialised beings. White people are assumed to be the beneficiaries of white privilege and black people the victims of systemic racism. Such gross racial generalisations are to the detriment of everyone in society. They call into question individual agency and attach limits on personal ambition while shoring up a grievance culture. The sole beneficiaries of this approach are elite race experts who find themselves in a powerful position to intervene in all aspects of our public and private lives.’

The report concludes by drawing a series of recommendations:

  • Education and training are two distinct things: ‘No school pupil or university student should be taught [Critical Race Theory] as fact, have to undergo mandatory unconscious bias training, or be compelled to attend any other form of anti-racism training.’
  • ‘No employee should face losing their job for refusing to undertake workplace anti-racism training or for raising legitimate concerns with the content of such training programmes.’
  • ‘An inquiry should be held into the soliciting, investigating and recording of non-crime hate incidents. The gathering of statistics relating to such incidents has become open to exploitation by activists.’
  • ‘Reassert the importance of equality before the law. Workplace training sessions could play a useful role in informing employees about legal duties not to discriminate.’
  • ‘Positive discrimination should be exceptional and only take place under specific and limited circumstances. In such instances where positive discrimination is deemed necessary, a candidate’s social class background should be considered alongside race and sex.’
  • ‘Schools, universities and workplaces should be encouraged to place greater value upon viewpoint diversity, rather than just biological diversity, and what people have in common, rather than simply what divides us.’

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