GENEVA — United Nations human rights experts on Monday issued a devastating critique of a report on race published last month by the British government, accusing its authors of repackaging racist tropes, distorting history and normalizing white supremacy.
“In 2021, it is stunning to read a report on race and ethnicity that repackages racist tropes and stereotypes into fact, twisting data and misapplying statistics and studies into conclusory findings and ad hominem attacks on people of African descent,” the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said in a statement that was endorsed by another U.N. expert monitoring contemporary forms of racism.
The British report, which was commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in response to the outpouring of protest that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, concluded that Britain did not suffer from institutional racism and instead offered “a model for other white-majority countries.”
Racism still existed but discrimination in Britain, it argued, was more a result of socio-economic inequities than skin color.
The five-member United Nations panel, chaired by an American attorney and rights activist, Dominique Day, and including human rights experts from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, said the report drew on dubious evidence to rationalize white supremacy and ignored the findings of other United Nations panels and human rights experts.
It agreed that racial disparities may not always stem from racism or racial discrimination, but asserted “there is also compelling evidence that the roots of these disparities lie in institutional racism and structural discrimination as they clearly do not reflect the preferences or priorities of the communities facing structural disadvantage.”
The panel urged the British government to categorically reject the findings of its commission, warning that its historical distortions and falsehoods “may license further racism, the promotion of negative racial stereotypes, and racial discrimination.”