Black-led human rights organisation The 1990 Trust believe the initiative is the wrong answer to the question of citizenship.
Karen Chouhan, trustee of The 1990 Trust, said: ‘The government needs to stop viewing Black communities as the problem, which is simply not true when you consider the contribution we make to society and the efforts we put in to get on.
‘Instead, the minister should be looking at far-right extremism, and how their agenda of attacking multiculturalism and immigration has made it to mainstream thinking, and what effect this is having on community relations.
‘Nobody has tried harder than Black communities to integrate. The issue is the fact that society as a whole continues to discriminate against them.
Let’s look at why surveys find 9 out of 10 white people do not have a Black friend, or why 4 out of 10 white people do not want a Black neighbour. This is the problem with citizenship and integration today.’
The 1990 Trust believes that Ruth Kelly (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government DCLG) should be turning her attention to tackling the root causes of race inequality instead of problematizing Black communities.
We believe there is more than enough studies and information for the government to launch programme to deliver race equality in our lifetime. We flesh out our ideas in our Black Manifesto, which can be viewed by logging on to www.blink.org.uk/bm/
What is needed is not another talking shop producing a report which sits on the shelf, but real action to tackle the problems identified by previous research.
We know what the problems are: a failure to make real progress in creating true race equality in Britain, such as equal outcomes in employment, education, housing, health etc.
The problems are not: they are not due to a failure of Black communities to integrate. Instead much of the blame must be laid at the failure of indigenous communities to willingly embrace multicultural Britain.
With so many committees, commissions and toolkits – the delivery of race equality will drown in a managerialist framework that cramps resources and efforts into the managing of processes not outcomes.
The government has not yet fully implemented the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry or adequately enforced implementation of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. That should take priority.
We need to guard against ‘commissionitus’, a never-ending conveyor-belt of commissions, reviews and talking shops. There is also the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights (CEHR) and the recent Equalities Review, headed by CRE chairman Trevor Phillips.
The Equalities Review has not even completed its work reviewing the government’s equalities policies. (The interim report has been roundly criticised by a wide range of equalities groups). In addition there is a Discrimination Law Review and a plethora of other equality committees and initiatives.
To confuse matters further, Mr Phillips had a few months ago suggested a ‘Commission for Integration and Citizenship’.
We are concerned that chair of this new commission is a Darra Singh – previous chief executive at Ealing borough council– the post was not advertised because the DCLG say they don’t need to on fixed term commissions. So much, then, for consultation and transparency.
Press: KAREN CHOUHAN IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW. For more information contact 07904 816 715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org