Albie Amankona is co-founder of Conservatives Against Racism For Equality (CARFE).
As we mark the end of Black History Month in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter protests, it has become clear that the wrong types of arguments for racial equality in the UK have been getting too much attention.
As a black Conservative activist, I was proud to hear so many of our MPs passionately share their commitment to racial equality in the historic Parliamentary debate on education and BAME history.
Notably, Steve Baker, who announced his position as Chairman of Conservatives Against Racism For Equality (CARFE), co-founded by myself and Siobhan Aarons. Together, we are building a Conservative approach to anti-racism; so far over 20 MPs and dozens of activists from all wings of the party and across the country have pledged their support, including Jeremy Hunt, Tim Loughton, and Robert Halfon.
Most fair-minded people agree with the statement that black lives matter, but disagree with the ideology of the organisation Black Lives Matter. They will agree that racism is not an issue of left and right, but an issue of right and wrong.
So why has it become so divisive? Few who garner media attention are making pragmatic, fact-based and effective arguments for racial equality. It’s time to build a Conservative approach to anti-racism which acknowledges injustices, but is based on the principles of patriotism, liberty, individual responsibility, the rule of law, equality of opportunity and growth-based prosperity.
What many commentators miss is that the “all white people are racist”, Critical Race Theory inspired, anti-free speech, anti-police, anti-British type of anti-racism is never going to win the hearts and minds of the British people.
It is in no-one’s interest for 87 per cent of the population to feel guilty simply for being alive and for 13 per cent of the population to feel that the other 87 per cent unconsciously hate them simply because of the colour of their skin. But it is a fact that for many people, racism is a sad reality of life.
Proof of this includes the fact that 50 per cent of young offenders incarcerated are BAME, 40 per cent of the UK’s poorest households are black households, the risk of death in childbirth for black mothers is five times that of white mums and black people of working age are twice as likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts.
Now is the time to redress the balance, redraw the boundaries of the debate and articulate a new approach. Conservatives have always been champions of justice and we must double-down on fighting inequality through classical liberal principles. The alternative is a diluted version of Labour’s “white-apologist” approach which serves no-one but the metropolitan liberal elite debating at dinner parties, posting black squares on Instagram and denouncing Churchill.
As the only serious party which supports the principle of free speech, ours has the most power to lead a rational debate on race; Labour has made its mind up. In its eyes, Britain is a bigoted country, which has done more harm than good in the world. The party fights against American food imports, but accepts without question the wholesale adoption of American theories on race. It perceives BAME voters to have no personal responsibility and of needing infinite government hand-outs and safe-spaces.
None of this is true and frankly, the findings from the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into the Labour Party proves that its approach to anti-racism is far from perfect.
As Conservatives we must seize the opportunity to lead this debate, to ask those uncomfortable questions, find those difficult answers and implement effective solutions which will have a meaningful impact on Britain’s minority citizens.
We are the party for all and were elected to serve all, so this endeavour could not be more Conservative. We are calling on all Conservative activists and parliamentarians to join us, sign our pledge and support our campaign.
Together, we can build our own common-sense approach to anti-racism and a country that all of our children, whatever their hue, will be proud to call home.