Some thoughts on the #SewellReport reflecting broadly but using health an example

Throughout the report, the role of racism is 'explained away'. For example, Covid-19 disparities are merely about where you live with, what job you do and how poor you are ImageImage
Ignoring the elephant in the room that shapes each of those factors: racism

That's despite study after study demonstrating how structural and institutional racism determines where you live, what job you do and how poor you are Image
But how many times can you respond "look at all the evidence"?

On one hand, it leads to a distracting debate

On the other, it's a pointless battle if a single positive outcome for a particular ethnic group is apparent proof that bigger-than-the-individual racism cannot exist Image
Instead maybe it is better to look at *how* evidence is used, rather than *what* evidence is used

Some thoughts on how ideology shaped the conclusions drawn... Image
What stands out is just how central, and explicit, "agency" is in the Sewell report. There's even a whole set of recommendations around it ImageImageImageImage
The problem with that is it asks us to believe in a world where individuals are in complete control of their lives, unaffected by social/economic/political determinants, able to realise outcomes simply by willing them strongly enough
This "everyone has an equal ability to realise their full potential if they want to" ideology is, by definition, at odds with recognising any form of racism or oppression that is bigger than the individual
And it means the main aim of the recommendations in the report are to increase individual social mobility

The goal is to grow yourself out of your community, not rise up with it. Those who don't simply deserve it...
FYI the slides above are from a talk I gave at the Stuart Hall Foundation & @EthnicityUK conference a few weeks ago

That they are so applicable today shows just how unsurprising the Sewell report turned out to be

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