Aequip rejects the false narrative of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report

Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

By Miriam Lahage

Aequip has been profoundly disappointed and saddened this week by the denial of structural and institutional racism in the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report. 

The lived experience of Black British people and other British People of Colour belies the report’s finding that the UK should be viewed as a model for race relations for the rest of the world. 

Evidence of racial inequalities with regards to educational, economic, and health outcomes in the UK that have been well researched and reported elsewhere are omitted or reframed in the report. One might think that establishing a particular narrative was the purpose of the report.

Commission on Race report

Institutional racism in Britain does exist:

  • Black people are almost three times as likely to be unemployed (15.5%) as White people
  • The average white household has assets of nearly three times that of Black Caribbean households
  • African-Caribbean young people consistently lag behind White people in education.
  • 60% of Black households have no savings at all
  • Black people are four times more likely than White people to be subject to police stop and search
  • Black people are up to 6.6 times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act
  • Black people are more disproportionately represented in UK prisons than Black people are in the US

Aequip was founded because we believe everyone is born the same, but we don’t get to start in the same place. Aequip’s mission is to change that, starting in the workplace.

We offer a behavioural analytics platform, with a focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), dedicated to making the workplace more inclusive for everyone. Aequip enables organisations to capture and understand interpersonal psychological metrics related to inclusion, such as belongingness, psychological safety, organisational trust, and diversity climate.

‘The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.’

Toni Morrison

Aequip believes in inclusion. We oppose institutional forms of exclusion including racism. We call for institutions including other companies, charities, and faith communities to show up and demand true representation when conducting these reports. 

‘In most of our lives
These are not easy times
In our communities,
These are not easy times
In the nations of the world
These are not easy times
We join together to support one another through the pain
And we join together too to see a better day on the other side of this pain
Turmoil and deep discomfort can lead to the change we want to see
Today’s pain may usher in tomorrow’s justice
Let us see the promise that comes of pain
As no one is born but through pain
So a new way – a more just way – a more loving way – may soon come to life
Let us stand by the oppressed
Let us fight for the change’

— Andrew Pakula

We reject the premise that there is no structural or institutional racism in the UK. We acknowledge the existence of the report, and then continue the work, from the Aequip behavioural analytics platform, to the anti-racism programmes offered free of charge to the community. 

Please strongly consider showing up for racial justice, individually and with the institutions that are important in your life. In Tuesday’s session of Doing the Work, the anti-racism programme we co-sponsor, we asked ourselves, ‘What are we willing to sacrifice for racial justice?’

For Aequip, we are willing to sacrifice the safety of silence.

Miriam Lahage has more than 30 years of leadership experience at global companies such as TJX, eBay and Net-a-Porter. Miriam was most recently CEO of Figleaves, where she led a product, digital, and organisational transformation. She is Co-founder and COO of Aequip.

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0 thoughts on “Aequip rejects the false narrative of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report

  • Brava Miriam! People who deny systemic racism often don’t even know what it means, and you have provided solid evidence of its impact. What is more insidious, are the antecedents to system racism such as structural inequality related to housing, employment and the manipulation of education. Most of us, including whites, blacks, Asians, and indigenous peoples are unaware of the dimensions of our thinking, ways of knowing and experiencing the world. We are seduced by crime statistics, for example, without understanding the historic practices that have led to these statistics. When the issue of systemic racism is raised, people of privilege, unaware of the racist forces at play, feel attacked and reflexively go on the defence, thus perpetuating the status quo. Claims of systemic racism are routinely ignored, discredited, or simply absorbed and marginalized in existing paradigms. Much more threatening is the challenge that alternative epistemologies offer to the basic process used by the powerful to legitimate knowledge claims that in turn justify their right to rule.

    As Patricia Collins warns us, “if the epistemology used to validate existing knowledge comes into question, then all prior knowledge claims validated under the dominant model become suspect. Alternative epistemologies challenge all certified knowledge and open up the question of whether what has been taken to be true can stand the test of alternative ways of validating truth”. This threat threatens the stability of our paradigms, especially the one that suggests that we have earned our status on a level playing field. It’s really important to focus on awareness versus accusations. Aequip is ideally positioned to build that awareness. Keep up the good work. Innovation is the key to a better future, and diversity is key to creativity and innovation.

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