Although a report of Britain claims that the country is the “model to the world” on issues of diversity, civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson could not disagree more strongly.
In a statement, Jackson called the United Kingdom the “mother of racism” and further explained that Britain must face down its role of perpetuating slavery and centuries of systemic racism throughout the world.
Although the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which is chaired by Tony Sewell, a Black man, claimed that there is not any conclusive evidence of institutionalized racism in Britain, 79-year-old Jackson disagreed. He believes the report from the pro-Britain organization should be questioned because Britain had a long history of slavery and racism that it seems unwilling to confront.
Jackson worked with civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., and believes that Britain could do a better job of modeling how a multi-ethnic society could flourish. Jackson was by King’s side when he was assassinated in 1968.
While speaking to Times Radio, Jackson said: “Britain has a certain responsibility to face up to racism and change it. I’ve traveled across Britain, and clearly, there’s a pattern of racism.”
During the interview, Jackson was asked if he thought the Royal Family was racist after Meghan Markle issued her criticisms during the famed interview with Oprah Winfrey. When speaking of that.
While Jackson toed the issue carefully, unwilling to come out and claim that the Royal Family was racist, he did say that by Harry marrying Meghan Markle. There was “change is in the air.”
“In a democracy, everybody has the chance to be everything,” he said. “(There is) no superior race and no inferior race. All of us have royal blood. We’re all God’s children. Everybody matters.”
Sewell’s claims about Britain’s history with racism were made after Prime Minister Boris Johnson created the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States. Although the results of the commission’s report indicate that Britain is not yet a “post-racial society,” it could be looked at as a model for how predominately white countries can look to it as inspiration.
Sewell claimed that Britain was a “successful multi-ethnic and multicultural community” which was a “beacon to the rest of Europe and the world.”
Jackson is not the only critic of the commission’s report. Baroness Lawrence, whose son was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993, believes that the report’s authors are “not in touch with reality.”
“When I first heard about the report, my first thought was it has pushed [the fight against] racism back 20 years or more,” Lawrence said at an event Wednesday organized by De Montfort University Leicester’s Stephen Lawrence Research Center. “I think if you were to speak to somebody whose employer speaks to them in a certain way, where do you go with that now? If a person is up for promotion and has been denied that, where does he go with that now?”
Do you think Britain deals with racism as America does?