Monthly Archives: March 2014

COP AND FOOTBALLER CLAIM RACISM IS STILL ALIVE

Only a fool would dismiss the significant advances we have made in minimizing the effects of racism. Equally, only a fool would assume racism has been completely eliminated”

A Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) firearms officer claims her career has been held back. Carol Howard (pictured above) is alleging a senior male DPG officer has denied her equal opportunities because of her race and gender. Sol Campbell (below), a prominent international footballer reflects that he was denied the captaincy of the England team because he was black. Institutional racism, a concept that was popularized fifteen years ago with the publication of the Macpherson Report on the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, is still with us — or so it seems. No one is naive enough to assume racism has disappeared from British society. Racist attacks and the marches of the English Defence League provide ample evidence. But institutional racism? The way the Macpherson Report used the term suggested this was a particular kind of racism that was not practiced by individuals but was part of the everyday operations of largescale organizations, such as the police force, or indeed the Football Association. It’s a notoriously tricky concept and is usually supported by inferential evidence, meaning you have to deduce conclusions from inference rather than directly. Campbell’s motivations are easy to discern: he is launching a new book. If he seriously believed racism had affected his professional career, he would have pursued his suspicions long ago, when he was playing. The accusations he is now making would have provoked at very least an investigation and would have made an impact. Now, his claim will be dismissed (properly, in my opinion) as either a calculated attempt to garner publicity for the book, or just sour grapes. Howard’s allegations are current and, in fairness to her, are quite specific. She is claiming a senior male DPG officer has denied her equal opportunities because of her race and gender. Strictly speaking, this is not institutional racism in the sense Macpherson intended it because she is arguing it was intentional and perhaps personal. All the same, the attack is on the Metropolitan Police, if only because the officer accused is an employee of that organization. In the 15 years since the publication of the Macpherson Report, the police and perhaps society generally have played a game of snakes and ladders. The ladders have been the introduction and implementation of equal opportunities policies and the vigilant monitoring of ethnic and gender issues at all levels. The snakes have been a failure to remain aware of older vestiges of racism that seem to have come from a different age. Howard’s accusation reminds us of the kinds of stories that were commonplace in the 1980s, but are today anachronisms. We also learn that football, the nation’s and the world’s most popular sport, is pockmarked by racism: again, this is like a ghost from the past visiting the 21st century. Only a fool would dismiss the significant advances we have made in minimizing the effects of racism. Equally, only a fool would assume racism has been completely eliminated.  via Standard