U.N. Panel Calls British Report on Race a Repackaging of ‘Tropes’

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tags: colonialism, racism, British history, teaching history

United Nations human rights experts on Monday issued a devastating critique of a report on race published last month by the British government, accusing its authors of repackaging racist tropes, distorting history and normalizing white supremacy.

The British race report was “a tone-deaf attempt at rejecting the lived realities of people of African descent and other ethnic minorities” in Britain, the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said.

“In 2021, it is stunning to read a report on race and ethnicity that repackages racist tropes and stereotypes into fact, twisting data and misapplying statistics and studies into conclusory findings and ad hominem attacks on people of African descent,” the U.N. panel said in a statement.

The British report, which was commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in response to the outpouring of protest that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, concluded that Britain did not suffer from institutional racism and instead offered “a model for other white-majority countries.”'

The British Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which wrote the report — and whose members are mostly members of minority groups — said the U.N. panel had “grossly misrepresented” its findings.

The panel, it said, appears to have reacted more to negative press coverage than the substance of its work. And a spokesman for the commission said the criticisms “risk fostering division on the subject of race, rather than constructive discussion on the issues.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Johnson’s office said it was considering how to follow up on the British commission’s recommendations, which it said had the potential to promote equality.

But the U.N. panel’s harsh verdict, which comes as Americans await the outcome of a trial in the Floyd killing, is an embarrassing blow for Mr. Johnson’s approach to race from the United Nations human rights machinery as it prepares for a high-profile debate on racism in the Human Rights Council in June.

Read entire article at New York Times

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