Britain only cares about being perceived as taking the "moral" high road while maintaining a status quo that harms ethnic minorities.
For the past fifteen years, there have been debates in Britain fabricated by right-wing media and its government lackeys about "preserving British culture and values" in the face of large numbers of people with darker pigmentation migrating to and establishing themselves in the country.
We have been told these values include tolerance, respect for freedom and equality. These are not the values that preserve the United Kingdom.
The two core values at the heart of British establishment culture are hypocrisy and moral pretension.
What I mean by the latter is Britain is a country whose institutions are rotten with double standards, deceit, and injustice. Yet all it cares about is being perceived as taking the 'moral' high road through false promises, denials, and shallow apologies. It has proven time and again it is unwilling to do anything about the root problems at the core of this country. The problem it is least willing to solve is racism.
This has been revealed once again in England's racist education system. A question appearing in an English A-level history textbook and approved by the country's leading educational awarding body — AQA — has recently been exposed on social media.
The question asks, "To what extent do you believe the treatment of Native Americans has been exaggerated?"
Only after a youth worker expressed her dismay publicly did the publisher — Hodder — and AQA apologise and withdraw the book.
The book also asks students to weigh up the pros and cons of the near extinction of Native Americans and says, "for those willing to adjust to the white man's expectations, reservations offered chances for economic self-sufficiency," and, "even with the benefit of hindsight it is difficult to come up with a better solution than a reservation policy".
The 'apology' from AQA stated the text "doesn't match our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and should never have made it through our process for approving textbooks".
Hodder's lazy PR team came up with the following drivel: "We agree that this content is inappropriate and are going to remove this book from sale," and "we will conduct a thorough review of the content with subject experts".
True to the core British value of moral pretension, this is not the first time AQA and Hodder have apologised for and promised to stop being fine examples of quintessential British establishment behaviour: racism.
Last year AQA was exposed for approving a GCSE (academic qualification) textbook in 2017 that portrayed Black people as cannibals. In its 'apology' it stated, "We have zero tolerance of racism. Quite simply, when we looked at this textbook in 2017, our approval process wasn't good enough – but we've improved it since then, and we do things differently now". Whatever.
In 2018 it approved a textbook by Hodder which described Caribbean families as having "largely absent fathers" and households that "reproduce the traditional patriarchal division of labour". No context or evidence was given.
Again, the apologies were along the same old lines of "taking necessary action" and "commitment to diversity".
British institutions have a habit of using PR to obfuscate the reality of their racism.
Earlier this year, the government published a report on racism and chose to use selective evidence to conclude there is no institutional racism. This is despite the head of London Metropolitan Police admitting to racism within her force a few months before the report's release. A number of organisations and individuals asked to submit evidence for the report criticised the government for ignoring their experiences.
Yet it served the purpose it was commissioned for: to create a PR blitz in the right-wing government's favour that generated headlines like: "Britain is a model of successful multi-ethnic society"; "UK should reflect on good of Empire, "Review is overdue step in right direction on race" — all to be used to try and silence dissent arising from Black Lives Matter protests and the racial inequalities exposed by Covid-19 the previous year.
Similarly, last year the government took the findings of a report by Public Health England on health inequalities faced by ethnic minorities in England and censored the part which recommended how to overcome these problems.
Why are British institutions only interested in surface, PR friendly acknowledgements, not deep-rooted changes? Because Britain has racism in its political and economic DNA.
Remember, Britain would not have the wealth and institutions it has today if it wasn't for the idea that dark-skinned "savages" need civilising (in exchange for the theft of their resources). These ideas still linger and that is why we have 'educational' textbooks in the 21st century repeatedly presenting people of colour as inferior.
So what are the consequences of these shallow, meaningless apologies and reports?
First, they allow those affected by them to be dismissed as "playing the victim" for challenging injustices that have now been 'apologised' for and 'disproved' and take the spotlight off the deep-rooted causes.
Second, quite simply, the damaging status quo continues. Beyond false promises of diversity, the AQA consists of an executive board with only one person of colour. We have an education system where 54 percent of teachers have experienced actions demeaning to their racial heritage and racist incidents involving pupils have increased by 40 percent in ten years.
In policing and justice, people of colour are more likely to be sent to prison for drug offences than white people who have committed similar crimes. Stop and search laws continue to be disproportionately used against Black people.
Until we recognise that the powers that be thrive off of perpetuating yet denying the status quo, Britain will continue to honour its core values of hypocrisy and moral pretension to the evident detriment of ethnic minorities.
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