Griselda Togobo, managing director of Forward Ladies, says that the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities denies the existence of racial inequalities.
“It is effectively telling the many black and brown people in this country, that have been highlighting these issues, that they are delusional and that racism doesn’t exist,” she told The Yorkshire Post.
The Government-backed review on racial disparity has been heavily criticised with a number of authors and academics challenging their own participation in it.
It questions the way the term “institutional racism” has been applied, saying it should not be used as a “catch-all” phrase for any “micro-aggression”.
Ms Togobo, who heads up the Yorkshire-based women’s business network Forward Ladies, believes that the report should not be taken seriously.
“This is just another way that this Government is proving to us that we should not trust anything that it puts out,” she said. “You cannot say that Britain is a model that brings together ethnically diverse groups. It’s just not a model. It’s a farce.”
She added: “It has tried to pit different ethnic minority groups against each other, which is totally unnecessary if we’re trying to build trust in the country and trying to bring different groups together.”
The businesswoman also called into question the credibility of the methodology used to compile the report.
“For me this report does absolutely nothing at all for the work that I am doing and for the many people who are complaining about the systemic inequalities that they are facing,” she said.
Ms Togobo left the corporate world and set up her own business after growing frustrated at a lack of equality in the workplace. It’s difficult to pinpoint discrimination at work, she says, with it coming in more subtle forms “that you don’t even see it in action”.
“All you see is that you are not progressing,” Ms Togobo said. “All you see is that you are not getting on the projects that you need to get on.”
She added that the NHS is “effectively being propped up by ethnic minorities” yet only a small portion of the leadership of it is from an ethnic minority background.
One of the recommendations the report makes is doing away with the catch all term BAME (black, Asian, minority, ethnic).
Ms Togobo said: “I don’t believe that the Government needs to tell us whether to use the term BAME or not.
“Why are we using the term BAME? We’re using the term BAME because there is an issue.
“Rather than looking at the cosmetics around the use of the terminology, they should be looking at the structural systems that facilitated a need for terminology like that in the first place.”
She says that responsibility lies with leaders to empower people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
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