Historical racism must not become a scapegoat

It is easier for white leaders of organisations to focus on the safer ground of historical racism than to identify racism in the workplace today, warn Professor Binna Kandola and James Meachin.

Increasingly, organisations are paying attention to historical racism. English Heritage has pledged to review all its blue plaques, so the associated online biographies can “provide a fuller picture …including any uncomfortable aspects”.

Similarly, the National Trust produced a Colonialism and Historic Slavery report, highlighting the links between its properties and historical racist practices.

Addressing historic racism is important for many reasons, including highlighting the immense damage that an acceptance of racism has, and can have, on individuals and societies. However, even more important than investigating historic racism is addressing the everyday racism that ethnic minority groups face today. For example, almost half of black office workers surveyed have suffered racism at work, with many ethnic minority workers who have experienced racism at work reporting that it negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing…

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