Last night I sat down and watched Trevor Phillips’ documentary ‘’Things We Wont Say About Race That Are True’’ which promised to deliver some ‘’inconvenient truths’’ regarding race. Before the programme even began I knew it was going to annoy me, and if you follow me on Twitter I apologise for the 140 character rants I was having, but the documentary was a mess. There are so many counter arguments and issues I have with the programme that I simply don’t have time to engage in all of them and I apologise in advance for not including more sources, but I’ll come back to it at a later date when I have had time to include some.
One of the things that irritated me was the discussion of segregation within the country and the crimes that occur within the areas that different communities inhabit. The documentary focused on areas within London, but I am originally from Sheffield and I can vouch that there are ‘’Asian areas’’, ‘’Black areas’’ etc there also. However, the documentary didn’t truly explore how segregation has occurred within this country. Part of it is to do with the fact that these areas were created because minority groups had nowhere to settle within the UK. It was only fifty years ago that it was acceptable to put a sign in a window saying ‘’No blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’’. The documentary even had the nerve to suggest the radicalisation of Islam has been caused by segregation in the UK and didn’t even consider Tony Blair and George Bush illegally invading the middle east might have been a factor.
Another issue I had was with the racial profiling that occurred within the documentary. We were informed that young black males are more likely to commit robbery, The Chinese community are more likely to engage in trafficking, Turkish trade in Heroin etc etc but we didn’t learn anymore about the other people in these communities. We were only presented with stats which don’t tell us the full story. The documentary lacked any exploration into social and economic factors and thus to the uncritical mind suggested that one race is inherently more criminal than another. The documentary legitimised racial stereotypes.
The programme also discussed the case of Victoria Climbe who was a young black girl who was murdered by her guardians and also the recent cases of Asian men sexually grooming young girls. Phillips suggested that social workers didn’t intervene because they were afraid of being accused of racism. This disregards the fact that there have been many stories over the years of white children, such as Baby P, being killed by their parents as a result of the social services’ failure to intervene. Phillips also failed to recognise that if public services were afraid of staging an intervention for fear of being called racist then there would not be statistics of young black men being six times more likely to be stopped and searched.Continuing on from my last point, the documentary also discussed how Muslim Pakistani Asian men have had hundreds of men involved in sexual grooming of young children. First of all, I fail to see why the fact the men were Muslim was brought into it because Islam is a religion not a race, and also there is estimated to be over 1 people from Pakistani origin in the UK which means that it is a small minority engaging within these crimes.
The programme then ended by claiming ‘’White and poor is the new black’’ which I found incredibly offensive. This suggests that those from ethnic minorities are living a privileged life free from criticism when in actual fact Black people and Asians are more likely to be arrested, charged and given a prison sentence compared to white people. Also unemployment in youths from ethnic minority backgrounds is also higher than their white counterparts.
The only way we can improve race relations and the lives of every single community within this country is by encouraging debate and discussion, no matter how much we want to ignore it. However, Trevor Phillips documentary relied too heavily on stats, which can be manipulated to support any argument, and didn’t explore has caused these stats or even try and reach out to any people within the different communities discussed. The topic of race is far too complicated to be reduced to just stats.