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Government Minister declares, ‘I’m happy to be a champion for Race Equality’

Andrew Stunell MP

The new Minister for Race Equality Andrew Stunell MP has hit the ground running. On a daily basis he meets with different stake holders to discuss their concerns and formulate a clear and positive strategy to deliver greater equality including race equality. All this whilst simultaneously getting to grips with impeding public sector cuts that could disproportionately affect BME communities.

Yesterday it was OBV boss Simon Woolley’s turn to sit down with Stunell and discuss the huge challenges that Government and BME communities face in the months and years ahead.

Woolley stated, ‘ The meeting went very well. It seems to me that Stunell instinctively understands the critical dynamics that hold communities back. Having that nuanced approach that allows you to deal with those elements that hold the white working class back whilst not comprising on tackling the inequalities that BME communities face is a real skill’.

Stunell pledged to have a continuous dialogue with community groups and other interested parties to ensure that in these difficult times the most positive outcome can be achieved.

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18 Responses

  1. “Having that nuanced approach that allows you to deal with those elements that hold the white working class back whilst not comprising on tackling the inequalities that BME communities face is a real skill’.”

    Apart from hating all foreigners, and non whites, and not getting a proper education, can anyone please explain to me what is really holding the white working class back?

    • Yinka,

      When someone feels aggrieved at their own plight, it can go one of two ways. People can either work with other people similarly aggrieved or project the blame on to others in the same situation.

      White working class (boys in particular) face many of their challenges their black and mixed race counterparts do: absence of a father; they grow up in care; their lives are blighted by poverty; or they have no one around them championing them or the merits of education.

      These are just some of the challenges faced. That said, as white people they also benefit from the privileges that brings. The trouble is, unless there is a way that they can see this as their reality, they are likely to buy in to the divisive and manipulative media stories and policies we witness regularly.

      Granted, the quote you highlight suggests that these issues are separate and competing. This has been the narrative for many years. The trouble is it pits people against each other, and encourage competition for resources rather than a sharing of them.

      For too long the analysis I’ve provided is seen as a leftist, socialist, “it’s class not race” angle, when in truth it depends on the situation.

      When I was a (white working class) lad, education was seen by my family – and many a family like mine – as the passport to success. Nowadays that mood has changed in many a white working class family, and from my experience of education conferences, it has been observed by black people about their community too.

      The issues are often complex and painful to discuss but without discusing them progress is unlikely to occur.

      So in conclusion, to reply to your comment, what you seem to describe is not what all white working class people think, but rather what they’re told by the likes of the gutter press and manipulative politicians.

      That said, I guess you spend your time around the nice middle class white people who grew up in households where never an ill word was spoken. Nice until their child brings you home as a partner that is 🙂

      The biggest trick white upper / middle class people have ever pulled in recent times is the rebranding of the ‘typical racist’ as the (northern) white working class knuckle dragging bigot.

      It is their way of deflecting / denying the reality of them running the institutions that discriminate against black people (both as employees and customers), and the fact that their residential areas are seldom graced with black families (which it how they want to keep it).

      I understand your sentiment, I just think you’re misinformed.

      With respect,

      David

      • Hello David,

        “I understand your sentiment, I just think you’re misinformed.”

        How did you arrive at that conclusion?

      • David,

        “When someone feels aggrieved at their own plight, it can go one of two ways. People can either work with other people similarly aggrieved or project the blame on to others in the same situation”

        I don’t think that minority ethnic citizens aggrieved situation can be compared to that of white working class. White working class have job security and businesses that minority ethnic citizens in the United Kingdom can only dream of.

        “White working class (boys in particular) face many of their challenges their black and mixed race counterparts do: absence of a father; they grow up in care; their lives are blighted by poverty; or they have no one around them championing them or the merits of education.”

        This is a rather unfortunate situation that affects many families on this planet; regardless of race, religion etc.

        “The trouble is it pits people against each other, and encourage competition for resources rather than a sharing of them”

        I would have relished such a challenge. When it came down to it, the opportunities were always much better for the white working class. Check with the disgraceful and pathetic employment tribunal serivce under the New Labour government.

        “That said, I guess you spend your time around the nice middle class white people”

        No. Not guilty. My comments were simply based on personal experiences.

        “It is their way of deflecting / denying the reality of them running the institutions that discriminate against black people (both as employees and customers), and the fact that their residential areas are seldom graced with black families (which it how they want to keep it)”

        Lack of proper equal opportunities is the main reason for what you have discribed above.

    • White working class people are not an undifferineted mass. Some continue to experience direct discriminations, the majority are able to improved their education, incomes etc. But as soon as they do so they are considered no longer to be working class. The same is surley true for many African/ Caribbean, Pakistani people and less so for mant, but not all Indians.

      Some of the structuarl and attitudinal barriers of class apply as much to Black people but we have had the benefit of using the 1976 Race Relations Act and its subsequent amendment to demand the removal of barriers. All barriers have not gone and many have changed but discrimination and prejudice remain for many of us. The same is true for many White working-class people but with no policitics to contest it, except that provided by the BNP and other racists.

      I for one grew up in a working class community in South London in which racism and class prejudice was rife they still need to be acknowledged and tackled.

  2. You can have as much dialogue as you want with the BME communities but,

    (1) Are you speaking with the right people?

    (2) Are you really listening or do you choose to listen to what you want to hear?

    (3) And having listened do you do the things you have always done?

    Nice smile though!

  3. This is excellent from David above, and it is so true. “The biggest trick white upper / middle class people have ever pulled in recent times is the rebranding of the ‘typical racist’ as the (northern) white working class knuckle dragging bigot. It is their way of deflecting / denying the reality of them running the institutions that discriminate against black people (both as employees and customers), and the fact that their residential areas are seldom graced with black families (which it how they want to keep it).”

    By doing this they have assumed they themselves cannot be racist or so they tell themselves repeatedly seeking solace from the elite BME middle classes who aspire to be like them, (ins status). Race and racism in this country have everything to do with class; it’s just that the middle and upper classes have apportioned all the blame to the working classes. And thus far they have got away with it.

  4. Yinka

    Thank you for your reply

    I arrived at that conclusion, based on the argument I presented. It’s a shame you chracterise the issues I put forward as “rather unfortunate” but “regardless of race, religion etc”. Nice move. I didn’t say they were because of race or religion, I said 1. they affect them, and 2. they affect their black and mixed race counterparts.

    “I don’t think that minority ethnic citizens aggrieved situation can be compared to that of white working class”. Clearly not, but I didn’t argue that it was equal playing field.

    Furthermore if “White working class have…businesses that minority ethnic citizens in the United Kingdom can only dream of. Then surely those people are middle class unless people dream of unsuccessful, unprofitable businesses.

    “The trouble is it pits people against each other, and encourage competition for resources rather than a sharing of them”

    I was clear that white privilege ensures that the odds are “better for the white working class”. So why would I need to check anything? I agree with you. However, the employment tribunal serivce is not a political party issue so why the segway to your usual anti-New Labour yarn?

    The lack of “proper equal opportunities”…” being the main reason for what I have described above, was exactly my point. But they were overwhelmingly denied by white MIDDLE class people. That was my point.

    I concede that the comment about spending time around middle class people was unwarranted and baseless. Just as your original comment was.

    Not all white working class people hate foreigners, or ‘non whites’, due to the fact they’d have to hate their own parents, grandparents, partners and children.

    That said, could white working class people do more to recognise, acknowledge and challenge racism? That’s a resounding absolutely, and white people like me need to keep working hard to make sure that becomes an increasing reality.

    • Hello David,

      “Furthermore if “White working class have…businesses that minority ethnic citizens in the United Kingdom can only dream of. Then surely those people are middle class unless people dream of unsuccessful, unprofitable businesses.”

      Before I sent my posting on 20 July 2010, I had a wealthy background of experience on this subject; especially based from personal experience. I have wondered how my circumstances in the United Kingdom would hav been if I had half of the opportunities that the white working class have had. I can tell you it would have been a lot better. There are white working class people who are wealthy in their own rights and are very proud to still call themselves working class. There are those who have worked their way into the middle class section of society; kudos to them. There are the sect who do not want to improve themselves for various reasons and are quick to blame poeple of other racial backgrounds as the cause for their plight. This is unacceptable. The last Labour Government tried its very best to please them even in wrong doing. That is very undemocratic.

      “However, the employment tribunal serivce is not a political party issue so why the segway to your usual anti-New Labour yarn?”

      They follow the policies laid down by governments. New Labour greatly abused their position by running this service shambolically; in some cases introducing feral behaviour in the place of work. The white working class have benefited greatly in this service under New Labour.

      “I concede that the comment about spending time around middle class people was unwarranted and baseless. Just as your original comment was”

      My original comment was a general question and based on personal experience.

      “Not all white working class people hate foreigners, or ‘non whites’”

      I totally agree.

      • Yinka

        As continuously stated in my previous posts, you have argument about comparative privilege from me.

        All governments try to pander to the bigot – middle, upper or working – Thatcher (swampimg), Michael Howard 2005, and Hodge, Blunkett et al under Labour. My question is why see it as distinctly Labour-esque?

        The Tribunal Service was set up in the 1960s (incidentallly by a Labour government – it’s thanks to them we even have one). Thus, all unjust decisions since then are nothing to do with political party in charge at the time. Get off the New Labour influence issue as it distinctly misinformed.

        Your final comments seem to lead us toward agreement but why make such a sweeping statement if you disagree with it?

        Nevertheless, there are bigger issues than our disagreements. While were at this the current administration is busy trying to destroy public services and erase bankers from any blame for our current economic plight. If they do that about such recent blatant history do you really trust them on matters racial?

        Ose. Odabo.

        David

  5. Hello David,

    “The Tribunal Service was set up in the 1960s (incidentallly by a Labour government – it’s thanks to them we even have one).”

    Is this why they felt they had the right to influence this service?

    “While were at this the current administration is busy trying to destroy public services and erase bankers from any blame for our current economic plight. If they do that about such recent blatant history do you really trust them on matters racial?”

    New Labour got this country into this present financial mess. Before their loss at the last election’s, they were also planning cuts within the public service too.

    “Ose. Odabo”

    How can I trust anyone on any racial matter when you have just made the comment taken from your earlier post which leans very much towards racial stereotype?

    • Yinka

      I’m not going to convince you otherwise so I’ll leave it. Somebody in New Labour has really done you a wrong ‘un, you even brought them in to the NOI thread.

      No – bankers got them in to the mess, please don’t rewrite history. They played casino with people’s pensions and bank accounts. New Labour actually rescued that. That’s why we have these cuts now. I’d’ve let them go to the wall.

      I don’t want your trust. You have taken an entirely respectful gesture and twisted it for your own ends. Go ahead, argue you are not Yoruba or that I am ‘stereotyping’ you by using Yoruba out of respect. Since when has thank you and goodbye been a negative?

      White working class people who buck (your) stereotypical trend by knowing a little Yoruba, Igbo, and Swahili probably anger you more than the ignorant ones as they don’t fit in to your box.

      You hate the very thing that prove your arguments wrong: people making an effort to move beyond the ignorance and bigotry. You obviously prefer bigoted ignorami as they fit in to your pigeon-hole. Good luck with that.

      Thank you and goodbye (is that better?)

      David

      • Hello David,

        “Somebody in New Labour has really done you a wrong ‘un”

        They are a party made up of racists, built part their policies on racism, and broke international law back joining a coallition group which invaded Iraq illegally; killing innocent women and children; such crass actions which has left some families in a mess. They have still not been punished for their heinous crimes.

        “No – bankers got them in to the mess”

        Under the very poor New Labour Chancellor called Gordon Brown, the Bank of England’s control was lifted off the banks. Chaos reigned due to lack of control and the rest we can honestly say is history.

        “I don’t want your trust. You have taken an entirely respectful gesture and twisted it for your own ends. Go ahead, argue you are not Yoruba or that I am ‘stereotyping’ you by using Yoruba out of respect. Since when has thank you and goodbye been a negative?”

        When will black people be accepted as British Citizens without being constantly referred to their racial origins? Compare your assertion above to the one I have pasted below.

        “That said, could white working class people do more to recognise, acknowledge and challenge racism? That’s a resounding absolutely, and white people like me need to keep working hard to make sure that becomes an increasing reality.”

        Have you spotted the contradiction yet?

      • Hello David,

        Go and read the posting for Labour Farce: You couldn’t make it up. I have copied the message below from it:

        “One member of Labour BAME who wished to remain anonymous for fear that it would be held against them lamented;

        “What must Black people do to be treated fairly by this party?”

        I rest my case on the issue of racism by this disgraceful political party. They are really doing a lot to recruit more working class whites to their party.

  6. Indeed. They are pathetic. My point was about all you singling out Labour when all mainstream parties are an affront to respect and decency on the issue of race, whether it is overt racism by the Tories, or the 0 number of BAME Lib Dem MPs. But what makes you think they are appealing to just the working class? Remember, racism is a classless disease.

    On a further note re: the post above. There is absolutely no contradiction:

    1. Yoruba is not a racial origin, it is a culture of people (I know you know that so let me qualify what may appear to be condescension). A culture I am familiar with and by whose people I was encouraged to use the language when conversing out of respect.

    2. Ignorance of the diversity of culture and seeing black people (and especially Africans or Nigerians) as homogenous is racialising you and is the opposite of what I did.

    3. If that’s the way you want to paint the picture go ahead. I hope we get the chance to meet and we can discuss – human being to human being – how dispelling the notions of racial superiority and the ignorance of the diversity of African people is contradictory to challenging racism?

    4. Allow me quote from another post (the one about the NOI – which you posted on too) “No, I don’t believe races exist (but racism does).”. Check who made that statement. Actually, I’ll save you the trouble, it was me. Racism was promoted by Europeans to justify the assault on Africa and Africans. Can I be anymore categorical on the topic, or do you want to twist that one too?

  7. David,

    “. Yoruba is not a racial origin, it is a culture of people (I know you know that so let me qualify what may appear to be condescension). A culture I am familiar with and by whose people I was encouraged to use the language when conversing out of respect.”

    Each time you make an attempt at trying to justify your being right, you end up dropping yourself in it even more. Yoruba is a foreign language associated with the black race. The point you have made has only shown you trying to tar me with the same brush as all who have accepted your point of view, and doing very little to listen to me as an individual born in the United Kingdom.

    “Ignorance of the diversity of culture and seeing black people (and especially Africans or Nigerians) as homogenous is racialising you and is the opposite of what I did. ”

    Re.visit your earlier postings and read through them carefully again. Better still, ask a friend to give a honnest opinion and let’s see if theirs matches yours.

    “how dispelling the notions of racial superiority and the ignorance of the diversity of African people is contradictory to challenging racism?”

    Are you accepting that you might be ignorant of African diversity? Remember, it is never too late to learn.

  8. Yinka

    Here’s a quotation for you:

    “I’d rather be a chef than a food critic”.

    You’re all accusation, character assasination, and no argument – apart from New Labour, New Labour, New Labour, white woking class, white working class, white working class.

    What really irks you is I don’t fit in your box, you’d prefer the ignoramus because that helps your point. I have spoken with friends funnily enough, Yoruba and Igbo both British and those born on the continent.

    They have informed me that if believe that Yoruba is just a “foreign language asociated with the black race” you are far more insulting than anything I could project. Like I said “the black race” doesn’t exist, no races exist, people who have African heritage do however. This is instruction and wisdom I have received from African-British people, not just my own pop psychology.

    If I’m ignorant in your eyes then so be it. These are not entirely my words, they are informed by friends and teachers: you’d deny your own cultural heritage and the facts for the sake of a few cheap shots.

    I am willing to accept that of course, being raised here, that like so many others I have much to learn about Africa. What’s for sure is I’m glad you are not someone I’ve received teaching and wisdom from.

    However, my arguments would be undermined if you do not have Yoruba heritage. Is this the case? Because if it is, your arguments would be even more insulting to the Yoruba people I know.

    I’ll leave you with a comment from a friend: “he doesn’t realise that he defeats his own argument. Most people outside of Africa would have to look the word Yoruba up, let alone know a few words, they just think I’m a Nigerian!”

    You automatically assumed that I would be stupid enough to speak about these issues without consulting with – to use your words – ‘black’ people, so who’s the real ignoramus?

    I’ll carry on cooking, you keep saying the menu is crap and the chef is rubbish. Being a critic is what you are best at.

    David

  9. Hello David,

    “They have informed me that if believe that Yoruba is just a “foreign language asociated with the black race” you are far more insulting than anything I could project”

    You have given me the impression that you have spoken to every British and Continental born person, and that your point of view represents them. Gladly on this subject and any other, we are all entitled to our different opinions. Again, you are highlighting your naivity about black issues. Black people have much broader views than the one you and your friends are projecting. As you have made it clear that you are a white person, I think you will be better off sticking with what you know.

    “If I’m ignorant in your eyes then so be it. These are not entirely my words, they are informed by friends and teachers: you’d deny your own cultural heritage and the facts for the sake of a few cheap shots”

    Black people are deep and very broad thinkers; much deeper than the handful of people you have described above.

    ” I said “the black race” doesn’t exist, no races exist, people who have African heritage do however. This is instruction and wisdom I have received from African-British people, not just my own pop psychology”

    It has been said by experts that everyman alive today originates from Africa. I am glad to tell you that the black race does exist and is going very strong. The main problem that the black race has encountered for centuries, are various busy bodies from other races who continuously brain wash us to see things from their point of view with the aim of keeping us apart; rather than allow us to resolve our differences and come together as a united force. Your views on this subject clearly mirrors that.

    “What’s for sure is I’m glad you are not someone I’ve received teaching and wisdom from”

    Racists I have debated with in the past have made similar views. The problem is their difficulty in either understanding or relating with independent thinking non-whites. I will always welcome a healthy debate with anyone with different racial views to mine. I will always advocate for fair and proper equal opportunities at all levels. New Labour failed woefully in that department.

    “However, my arguments would be undermined if you do not have Yoruba heritage. Is this the case? Because if it is, your arguments would be even more insulting to the Yoruba people I know.”

    I can’t comment on this as I have not been elected by the Yoruba people to be their representative or their spokesperson. I can only speak for myself. When we look at the original topic, you have clearly taken us on a tangent simply because it appears to me that you are having a great deal of difficulty grasping the fact that a black person of a very strong African background is showing more patriotism to the United Kingdom than you are prepared to tolerate. I would call that a very white working class ideal.

    ““he doesn’t realise that he defeats his own argument”

    Were you shaving when you were writing this comment?

    “You automatically assumed that I would be stupid enough to speak about these issues without consulting with – to use your words – ‘black’ people, so who’s the real ignoramus?”

    Black people are by far more advanced in their way of reasoning than the peolpe you have described here. These people are your friends because they are telling you what you want to hear.

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