Black Cultural Archives (BCA) Publicly Rejects Race Report

The Black Cultural Archives known commonly as the BCA is the leading body of information pertaining to Black history in the UK. The BCA are called upon by organisations, institutions and government for accurate information and guidance on matters relating to historical and current issues within the Black community and hold a coveted collection of documents, books and facts relating to the community, including rare historical publications. It is therefore not surprising that they were called upon to participate in the government’s Windrush Cross-Government Working Group in 2020.

It isn’t a year since the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group were formed in a fanfare of publicity. Created to bring together community organisations with government representatives to support the delivery of practical solutions and address challenges affecting the Windrush community,  the BCA have publicly stood down from the Group.

In a statement announced by the BCA on 12th April they have vehemently contested The Report conducted by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities saying:

 “The chosen narrative of the Commission’s March 2021 report, its selective and confused approach to data collection and analysis, and its inconclusive findings undermines its own recommendations.  

We still await action for positive change for all individuals, communities and wider society. This report is not it.” 

The BCA are not the first to condemn The Report, indeed leading activists have written to both the government and the Chair of the Commission Tony Sewell to express concern. Patrick Vernon has repeatedly emphasised that

“…a Report itself  so lacking in credibility will be left to circulate and takes us back to the ‘colour bar’ of the 1960s.” 

An open letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson with an impressive signature list outrightly reject many of the claims of the report.

Immigration lawyer Jacqueline Mckenzie, who devotes much of her time and resources to assisting victims of the Windrush Scandal  and its fallout, wrote directly to the Chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Tony Sewell to express her displeasure.

Many reports have been published over the past 40 years and well received however, many findings and recommendations in recent reports have not been fully implemented and one is left wondering that aside from the fallout, resignations and repudiations whose or what purpose are they serving. Do they open up debate or simply shut one down?

You can read the BCA’s full response to the Commission of Race and Disparities Report here