Stealth racism, tokenism and academic racism

November 4, 2006

New, academic and intelligent racism is what it is known as. Some describe it as “stealth” racism, but those that have ridiculed the recommendations of the Macpherson and Cantle Reports simply continue to deny the existence of any form of racism.

Our police leaders and leaders of most public sector organisations know full well that racism is outside of their experience, and the public sector, e.g. Social services, NHS, the Home office, etc are the worst culprits for this breed of racism, and believe me, it is abhorrent. Their denial is their incompetence.

On the one hand their leaders sell to the community their race and diversity strategies as encompassing diversity, yet on the other some individuals inside these organisations that are supposed to own the principles behind race equality, simply refuse to do so.

On the other hand they fight tribunals vociferously and with power. Racism is not the same as being different because one is left handed or because one is deaf. Issues such as what hand one write with or one’s difficulty in listening can be hidden well, and just as racism is, these issues our based upon what the “other” actually observes in those that have these difficulties. Indeed most people will not consider it a detriment to employ a left-handed person or someone that is deaf. Employing and promoting intelligent Black people that are seen to stand up for their rights, however, is a big no no, so why not marginalise them.

One does no suggest that people simply always deliberately undermine intelligent Black people, some do, others however just will not allow Black intelligent people the freedom they deserve. Racism is in your face. As the example of Ali Dilzaie has shown one cannot be Black, intelligent and attractive, But Black people are hardly able to camouflage their appearance, and where they have, like Michael Jackson, they are ridiculed further. Racism is simply outside of the interest, understanding and experience of not only current police leaders, but of the leaders of other public sector organisations and of faith organisations also.

Do some Muslim and Indian people care about anything but “their own?” Yet these are the people the service largely consults with. For example, the initial reaction towards Macpherson from some inside the police was shock that the police had been found out. Upto this point the police service kept this taboo hidden. The secret Policeman Documentary was no different. Initially the shock of real evidence of racism inside the police was enough to put Police Leaders on a back foot. Some still think it can never happen in our back yard, but does it not happen everywhere?

Not only are departments able to deselect those individuals with a “racialised” experience who are considered radical, “vociferous”, “intelligent.” But these and others departments are also able to then choose which Black colleagues they wish to do business with. The choice for Black people is therefore very clear, acquiesce and you will progress, toe the party line and things will be fine. Many Black people simply toe the line, and they are loved and listened to because they simply state what Managers wish to hear. But at some stage after dealing with and supporting Black colleagues that have experienced racism, these same colleagues might just stand up, and when they do, they no longer are a safe pair of hands.

All of a sudden these once trusted individuals begin to speak outside of the majority norm, and so development in race relations in most public sector organisations is actually rather surreal, the reality is strategies and policies have had little impact on the attitudes and behaviours that cause racism. Of course any blame must lie with Leadership because these leaders refuse to acknowledge that they are actually dealing with something they cannot understand. Of course racism is about feelings, it is about attitudes, some of it is about behaviours, and only a small proportion is about perception. Yet, what organisational leaders do is blow this perception angle out of all proportion. The truth is that anyone that expresses that they are experiencing racism is actually experiencing racism but leaders just dismiss this as perceptions.

The problem with strategies and policies are that young marginalised Black people and minorities have grown up with the experience of racism and they can very acutely see through these organisational falcities. But leaders simply think these kids are unintelligent. A further problem with this inside policing is these same Black people will identify Black colleagues that are “tokenistic” and are used by the organisation in this way. For a police organisation and for society falseness led to the race riots of the 1980’s, falseness led to the riots in the North and continued falseness will end in the same place.

But for an organisation that wishes to embrace anti racism and diversity there is a way forwards, and that way is to incorporate a structural overhaul and principles of honesty with the community. But oh how this remains a distant dream. And in short, “stealth racism” is about us saying we are achieving when actually behind the scenes we do everything to ensure anti racism does not succeed. This is about getting personal with racism, racists and bigots.


  1. Right I am going to try and post a comment Twining my old mate!
    I don’t know if you realise that you have comment moderation switched on, that requires you to allow a comment to appear on your blog once you have sanctioned it.
    I will admit I find it very hard to understand racism because I do not believe I have really felt different about someone because of their ethnic appearance.
    Surely people are judged by their attitude and demeanor towards others and not that they look different or have different customs etc. I am sure I am wrong about that, in fact I know I am wrong about that. But I am speaking from my own perspective.
    If I am going to make a decision about someone, be it for a job or anything I would judge them on their ability to perform the job or task in hand.
    I know their is discrimination in all walks of life not just as racism, but sexism and religion etc.

    May I ask what your opinion is with Police forces taking positive discrimination and turning people away because they want to try to balance things by actively employing from under represented groups. Is that in itself a form of racism or other ism?
    I am somewhat of a novice in this field to be quite honest and would be pleased to learn more about it.

  2. I’ll take pity and post on here, sorry I’m not a Copper.

    Just a quick point, the colour scheme on here gives me a headache, I can understand the irony between using white text on a black background, but the result makes my eyes cross.



  3. “Do some Muslim and Indian people care about anything but “their own.” Yet these are the people the service largely consults with.”

    Doesn’t that strike you as a bit racist?

  4. Read your blog – or tried to. It’s interesting, no doubt, but would be a lot more enjoyable if you put some paragraph breaks in.

    Like this.

    Or this.

    And then I would be a much more regular visitor.


  5. Nice to be here and thanks for letting us in!
    I was thinking you were one of those people who didn’t want anyone to make comments in case they didn’t agree with you.
    I will get around to reading your blog when I have more time than usual as I notice you are a very, how should I say it, thorough poster.
    Drink sound good by the way. Happy blogging.

  6. Not sure why my comments have appeared as anonymous?

  7. Did you check the Anonymous box by mistake?

  8. great – we can now post comments!

    i tried a while ago but it didn’t like me! i’m so glad you have put some paragraph breaks in – i love reading what you write but the long bits of text did my poor old lurcher eyes in. keep up the good work!

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