The Macpherson Report

A former high court judge, Sir William Macpherson, wrote the Macpherson Report. He wrote one of the most significant reports of the 21st century that highlighted racism in modern British culture and institutions. Previously this type of racist group dynamic went without acknowledgement.

The report was an inquiry into the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was a highly intelligent young student from a hard-working upright family. Murdered in broad daylight on a busy main street, it is unimaginable that the murders could get away with the crime.

Institutional Racism

"The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people."

This is a good definition because it brings into words something that all people of colour living in UK have experienced at some point in their lives. However, it does not offer much in terms of justice, when one has been seared in the flames of withering injustice, to use a phrase from Martin Luther King.

My Extension

Here is my extension to this definition. I have always thought it needed a second part to it that should have been something like this:

"Unless one records everything with cameras and microphones, it is difficult to prove racism in a Court of Law. Hearings, mock trials, and tribunals are all about showing the wider audience that racism is taken seriously, but to date, have never been significant in bringing justice. Covert racism can subvert processes and indeed goes completely undetected every day in modern Britain."

In addition, perhaps a third part

Equal Opportunities, Gold Standards, UNICEF Accreditation, are 'nice' words, but still just words on a piece of paper. It still requires people to follow them, and not everyone does...

Group Proportions

Institutional racism is a subset of racism found on a nationwide scale. Perhaps another Knight or Lord will come along and define this for us one day.

Racism is not a digital switch, that can be either switched ON or OFF in the brain. Human beings have views and belief structures, that vary significantly, and therefore the intensity of prejudiced attitudes is a variable feature as well.

Within any large group, there is sometimes only one overt or covert racist, the rest of the people generally remain neutral and passive. Sometimes there is only one brave person within that group who will have the courage to stand up and openly side with the black person, or speak up against the injustice. Nearly all non-white people will experience this at some point in their lives, as I have.

A very good example of this group proportion occurred in Second World War Germany. Hitler's henchmen comprised mainly of the dregs that he released from the prisons. It was a smaller proportion of the German population. The majority of the German population, and Europeans, passively and silently looked on or looked away. Within that same population, there were a small number of people, who actually had the courage to risk their lives and help as many Jewish people as they could.

Prejudice: A Sign of an Uneducated Mind

In any large organisation, there are sometimes only one or two people with prejudiced views. They will covertly practice their hatred. This not only damages the reputation of the organisation, but also undermines the good work of others.

Even worse, it can cause good hard-working employees to leave. Organisations that do not have an active system to weed out the racists generally tend to perform poorly and do not survive inflation periods.

In the business world, Darwinism rules because it is about the survival of the fittest, and ignorant racist employees make an unfit firm. It takes only one racist to give the whole organisation a bad name.

Collective Responsibility

There is a collective responsibility for an organisation to swiftly weed out individuals with such attitudes, and repair any damage they caused. If they failed to do that then they would be considered by many to be just as guilty.

I used to work for English firms and came across many racists, but the firms were always ineffective in dealing with racist employees. Even when the person was a racist, highly uneducated, addicted to drugs and alcohol, the firm was happy to ignore their anti-social behaviour.

I am thoroughly against prejudice and intolerance. I hate corruption and prejudice in all of its forms because it destroys a nation from its very core. These attitudes are a sign of not only an uneducated mind, but also a sign of an un-evolved person.

I would like to think that my compassion for another human being was not limited to his or her external looks. Whatever rule we use to judge others with, is the rule that we use to judge ourselves.

I can never accept fascism in any of its forms. I simply have too much respect and deep admiration for the millions of brave men and women who fought in the Second World War. They gave us a gift through their sacrifice.

Related Articles

Martin Luther King
I Hate Corruption and Prejudice
Obama, Barrack. Dreams From My Father
Tutu, Desmond. Voice of the Voiceless
Mandela, Nelson. Conversations with Myself
Poitier, Sidney. The Measure of A Man
The Macpherson Report