Race report used evidence from group who think George Floyd’s death was ‘exploited’

Kate Plummer
Thursday 01 April 2021 15:21
news
(PA)

The government-commissioned race report used evidence from a group who argue George Floyd’s death was “exploited to promote an ideological agenda”.

Don’t Divide Us, which was formed in June 2020 and submitted evidence to the commission, is a voluntary association “taking a stand against the divisive obsession with people’s racial identity”.

In an open letter on its website, it says: “We reject the proposition that the UK is inherently racist, with racial prejudice embedded into our institutions.

“In the wake of the horrifying and brutal killing of George Floyd, many in the UK expressed heartfelt solidarity.

“Since then, however, activists, corporations and institutions seem to have seized the opportunity to exploit Floyd’s death to promote an ideological agenda that threatens to undermine British race relations.”

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The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities responsible for the race report was formed last summer in response to the Black Lives Matter protests which occurred throughout the country last summer following the killing of George Floyd in the US.

However, Don’t Divide Us appear to oppose the BLM movement.

Their letter adds: “We must oppose and expose the racial division being sown in the name of anti-racism.

“An obsessive focus on the impact of colonialism threatens to turn history into a morality tale, rather than a complex, three-dimensional understanding of the past.”

It is not clear who founded the group. However, signatories of the open letter include former Brexit Party MEPs Claire Fox, Ben Habib and Christina Jordan, as well as Mercy Muroki – one of the commissioners of the race report itself.

Other signatories include people involved in Toby Young’s Free Speech Union like comedian Francis Foster, and Andrew Doyle, a writer and comedian who is joining GB News. Alka Sehgsl Cuthbert, who stood for the Brexit Party in the 2019 general election, is the group’s coordinator, she confirmed.

Those who submitted evidence to the race report were asked to provide answers to 10 questions focused on education, health, crime and policing, and employment and enterprise.

Don’t Divide Us were one of 325 organisations that submitted evidence to the commission, according to an appendix attached to the report.

Next week, they are hosting an online meeting entitled: “How accusations of Islamophobia are used to silence dissent.”

And this comes after the report was released yesterday much to the chagrin of stakeholders including campaign groups and the Labour Party who accused the government of downplaying institutional racism.

Meanwhile, the suitability of some of those appointed to the commission was called into question, due to comments they made in the past appearing to deny the concept of structural racism.

Chair of the commission Tony Sewell, for instance, once said evidence of the existence of institutional racism was “flimsy”, while Munira Mirza, who set up the commission claimed Theresa May’s 2018 racial disparities wrongly audit reinforced “the idea that ethnic minorities are being systematically oppressed”.

Responding to the report in a statement on their website, Don’t Divide Us said it “welcomes it as a robust attempt to bring some objectivity into what has become an increasingly fraught and subjective discussion.”

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