Historian David Olusoga joins academic criticism of No 10’s race

One of Britain’s primary historians of slavery has accused the authors of a controversial racial disparities report commissioned by Downing Street of providing the impression they would choose “history to be swept under the carpet”.

Broadcaster David Olusoga, teacher of public history at Manchester University, made the comments in an article for the Guardian, as numerous specialists on race, education, health and economics joined the criticism of the report for brazenly misrepresenting proof of racism.

Published in full on Wednesday, the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities said its findings presented “a brand-new race agenda for the country”, and concluded the “claim the nation is still institutionally racist is not borne out by the proof”.

MPs, unions and advocates swiftly condemned the report, with comments made by the commission’s chairman, Dr Tony Sewell, in its foreword singled out for unique criticism. Sewell composed there was a brand-new story to be outlined the “servant duration” not just “about earnings and suffering”, but about how “culturally African people changed themselves into a re-modelled African/Britain”.

Olusoga stated that, as a historian, for him the most troubling passages in the report were those in which the authors “stumble, ill-prepared and overconfident, into the arena of history”.

” Shockingly, the authors– maybe unintentionally– deploy a version of an argument that was utilized by the slave owners themselves in defence of slavery 200 years ago: the concept that by ending up being culturally British, black individuals were in some way beneficiaries of the system,” Olusoga composed in a Guardian short article.

” Determined to opportunity soothing nationwide myths over hard historical facts, they give the impression of being individuals who would choose this history to be brushed back under the carpet,” he added, describing the report as Britain’s version of the “1776 report” commissioned by the Trump administration, which urged the United States to return to a period of “patriotic education”.

Hakim Adi, teacher of the history of Africa and the African diaspora at the University of Chichester, informed the Guardian that the report’s foreword failed to make clear that the subjugation of millions of African individuals was a criminal offense versus mankind.

” It is forgetting the centuries of the criminal activities versus the African individuals, the deaths of countless African males, ladies and kids,” stated Adi. “We live in a country where [lots of] have actually rejected this as a reality, they have declined to make any reparation, and for this report to put it in a paragraph because way– the word insulting does refrain from doing it justice.”

The British theologian Robert Beckford stated it followed the radical and “historic amnesia and vicious historic revisionism” of Caribbean and African history by the far best. Beckford, professor of Black theology at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, said the report had actually minimized slavery’s racial horror and Britain’s racial capitalism to a simple exchange of cultural concepts.

Reacting to the criticism, Sewell stated: “It is ridiculous to suggest that the commission is trying to downplay the evil of the slave trade. It is both outrageous and offensive to each and every commissioner. The report simply states that, in the face of the inhumanity of slavery, African people protected their humankind and culture.”

The commission behind the report was set up by Downing Street to examine racial variations in the UK in response to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

The report drew further criticism on Friday from hundreds of UK academics who came together to sign an open letter criticising its “selective and distorted usage of academic research”.

While the report claims education was “the single most emphatic success story of the British ethnic minority experience”, the letter’s signatories said it had “completely overlooked the considerable base of proof in instructional research study that has actually shown how structural, institutional and direct racism operates in and through schools, universities and other websites of education”.

Those included had a “restricted knowledge of education research”, the letter writers said, adding that research was pointed out so as “to present simplistic understandings of education and divisive views of ethnic minority groups”.

“The report misrepresents, leaves out and elides longstanding and nuanced academic debate and evidence about the complex relationship in between racism and educational practices, cultures, policies, and systems,” they added.

Signatories to the letter included Arathi Sriprakash, teacher of education at the University of Bristol, who said they originated from a range of disciplines within academic research study– consisting of psychology, sociology and economics– and lots of were leading and respected figures in the field.

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