Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, February 1999
The Commission for Racial Equality: British Bureaucracy and the Multiethnic Society, Ray Honeyford, Transaction Publishers, 1998, 313 pp.
Robert Frost once defined a liberal as someone who can’t take his own side in an argument. Since perhaps the 1960s, even whites who consider themselves “conservatives” have behaved like liberals if the subject was race. When non-whites make demands in the name of race, far from taking their own side in the argument, whites act as if they don’t even have a side.
One might assume this was a uniquely American affliction born of remorse for slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, but one would be wrong. As Ray Honeyford shows in this book, the British are just as susceptible to racial brow-beating, double standards and extortion as Americans. In fact, despite completely different historical experiences of race, the two countries have developed anti-white ideologies and bureaucracies that are virtually identical. In some respects the British may even behave more spinelessly than we do.
Mr. Honeyford’s perspective is one of plain common sense sharpened by more than a little direct experience. He is a retired teacher who spent many years in the big-city schools where the effects of Britain’s attempts at multi-racialism have been most acute. To begin where he ends, he argues strongly that all anti-discrimination laws, along with the bureaucracy that has sprung up to enforce them, should be abolished.
Although Britain’s experience with large numbers of non-whites dates only from the 1950s (see previous article), the country enacted typically repressive race relations laws with astonishing speed. Mr. Honeyford traces the chain of events that led to these laws back to the British Nationality Act of 1948. It was passed during a wave of post-war gratitude to the colonies for their support in the war against Germany, and granted citizenship and residence rights in England to all subjects of the crown. At the time, no one expected that the empire would disintegrate by 1960 or that masses of ex-colonials would head for Britain. The arrival of thousands of non-whites led to the 1958 race riots in the Notting Hill section of London, and in 1962 Parliament shut the door on mass immigration. Mr. Honeyford suspects that guilt over this necessary measure contributed to passage of the first Race Relations Act in 1965 — just one year after the landmark Civil Rights Act in the United States.
In some respects the first law was only a modest step towards tyranny: It banned discrimination only in public accommodation and not in employment or housing. It set no penalties for infractions nor did it set up enforcement machinery, though it did establish something called the Race Relations Board to examine complaints of discrimination. More ominously, the act established a new crime: incitement to racial hatred. In order to convict, it was necessary to prove that a defendant intended to incite hatred, which was hard to do, but he could be found guilty even if the “hatred” he incited led to no action of any kind. It became illegal to encourage an emotion.
This was quickly followed by the 1968 Race Relations Act, which extended non-discrimination to employment, housing, and provision of goods and services. It was in 1976, however, that the current anti-racist machinery was firmly bolted into place. Yet another Race Relations Act abolished the Race Relations Board, replaced it with the Commission for Racial Equality, and gave the CRE the broad powers it now enjoys. Most significantly, the CRE was authorized to issue Codes of Conduct, which spell out in great detail how the British must behave in order to avoid racial discrimination. The CRE was also given the authority to investigate alleged violations and issue corrective orders. (These can be appealed, but anyone who is subject to a CRE order is guilty until proven innocent.)
Perhaps most remarkably, the act wrote into law a key concept that it would take the U.S. Congress another 15 years to recognize: disparate impact, or what is known as “indirect discrimination” in Britain. According to this doctrine, any job standard or requirement that disproportionately disqualifies non-whites is automatically suspect and must be justified in excruciating detail. Finally, Parliament made it easier to convict on a charge of incitement to racial hatred. It is now no longer necessary to prove intent: So long as a judge or jury can be persuaded that speech could inspire hatred, even the sweetest of motives is no defense.
Mr. Honeyford argues that any law against incitement of feelings is noxious, but that it says much about the race-obsession of today’s Britain that racial hatred is the only kind an Englishman may not incite. He may promote class hatred all he likes — and plenty of lefties do — and he may promote religious or national hatred. But as Mr. Honeyford explains, the 1976 act was based on the view that “blacks and Asians face such profound hostility at the hands of the majority population that they cannot reasonably be expected to make any real progress, unless they enjoy legal protection, and privileged access to public goods.” Since the British were so hopelessly “racist,” government interference in freedom of speech, contract, and association were required on an unprecedented level.
And that, of course, is what they got. The CRE now has a staff of 200 busybodies and has drafted “codes of practice,” for employment, housing, and education. These codes have a murky judicial status in that although their requirements for racial head-counting, sensitivity training, “numerical goals,” etc., etc. are not legally binding, any large company that fails to follow them can find itself under investigation. Investigation is a kind of terror tactic whereby the CRE makes the largest possible media din while it runs a company or local government body through the wringer. It then likes to take several years going through records, interviewing employees, and generally making a pest of itself before it announces — inevitably — that it has unearthed the most shocking wickedness.
It then issues its usual series of demands for humiliating, costly, and time-consuming “remedies.” If the offender does not want to set “numerical goals,” appoint a vice president for minority affairs, hold regular “diversity” seminars, or any of dozens of other measures the CRE may demand, it can appeal in court — a different costly and time-consuming undertaking. All the while, the CRE’s publicity department (65 of its 200 employees work in it) ensures that the ordeal is as widely reported as possible. To Mr. Honeyford’s disgust, most targets of CRE strong-arming meekly do as they are told, with the invariable result that “it is not enough for an employer not to discriminate. He has positively to seek to entice blacks and Asians into his organisation.” It takes only a few high-profile investigations to keep virtually all employers in line. It is now widely understood that the commission’s mantra is “proportional representation” and no anti-white measure should be overlooked in order to achieve it.
Another important activity of the CRE is to ladle out public money for research on race relations. Needless to say, the recipients are lefty-liberal off-white groups with names like Federation of Black Housing Organizations, Muslim Ummah Solidarity Movement, and Black Rights, U.K. Mr. Honeyford observes that what whites think about living in a multi-racial society should presumably be of some interest to the bureaucrats, but “when one considers the way in which the CRE distributes its public money, it is as though this sector of the population does not exist.” Just as in the United States, efforts to “improve” race relations have ceased to be a matter of reconciling the interests of majority and minorities, and are instead outright minority advocacy.
This involves flagrant double standards. For example, the law of 1976 allows race to be part of employment decisions only when employees of a particular race can better meet the “special needs” of people of the same race. “Special needs” are invoked to justify hiring only blacks to provide social services to blacks, or to prevent whites from adopting or fostering black children. Mr. Honeyford notes that “since the notion of ‘special needs’ is such a nebulous one, the scope for the CRE to engage in special pleading on behalf of ethnic minorities is virtually unlimited.” Needless to say, whites have no such “special needs,” so “same-race policies appear to operate in only one direction.”
Another common double standard is to assume that statistical disparities in the achievement or treatment of non-whites are apodictic proof of “institutional racism,” but to ignore disparities that point the other way. One CRE report raged about the fact that blacks in a school district were four times more likely to be suspended than whites. The same report found that Asians were only one fifth as likely as whites to be suspended, but this even greater disparity was of no interest or significance. Mr. Honeyford points out that 37 percent of white men have white-collar jobs, but 45 percent of Indians and 48 percent of Chinese do. This is the sort of difference the CRE grandly ignores, but it can be counted on to fly into a fury whenever disparities run the other way.
Despite its passion for statistics and equal representation, the CRE reports with no trace of irony that two thirds of its employees are non-white. This is a serious disproportion for a country with a minority population of 5.5 percent, but helps explain the extent to which the CRE has become nothing more than a publicly-funded scheme to enrich non-whites and secure special privileges for them.
The CRE has recently been sniffing around public libraries. These it has found unacceptably British and homogeneous, so it has announced that “in all library services — those without, as well as those with multiracial communities — an awareness of the multicultural nature of our society as a whole should be recognized and promoted.” Note that this is to be goal of all library services. One of CRE’s missions is to have libraries stock books in foreign languages — but it cares only about foreign languages spoken by non-whites. German or French books are not, in its view, a meaningful form of “diversity.” As Mr. Honeyford points out, the CRE really wants to turn libraries into immigrant cultural centers; it never suggests that they might help assimilate immigrants to what is left of the British way of life. For whites, libraries are to have one clear message: “Our transformation into a much less homogeneous population than hitherto is to be perceived and transmitted exclusively as a cultural enrichment.”
Another way to encourage immigrants to keep their languages is to insist on mother tongue instruction in school. There is an increasing clamor for this among British lefties, and one of the arguments the CRE likes to make is that since parents in Wales can have their children taught in Welsh, Indians in Britain should get instruction in Urdu. The difference, which the CRE fails to understand, is that Welshmen living in England would never dream of asking for instruction in Welsh.
Mr. Honeyford makes the important point that not only has the CRE won the support of elite opinion, it faces no organ-ized opposition. The BBC, for example, works on joint productions with it that are nothing more than anti-white propaganda — which it believes implicitly. In 1994, for example, it reserved 46 percent of its high-status trainee positions for non-whites. As Mr. Honey-ford points out, this is probably legal in Britain, but even if anti-white discrimination were not legal, the CRE would not investigate it. On the contrary, discrimination is the only way to meet the “numerical goals” it is so fond of setting.
Mr. Honeyford warns that the CRE is constantly asking for more power and that the current Labor government might actually grant it. The CRE cannot now launch an investigation of a company or government body on pure hunch. In the current climate of racial grievance it is not hard to gin one up, but the CRE must have a complaint before it starts snooping. This it finds intolerable and wants complete freedom of action. What is worse, when it finds discrimination — which it always does — it wants its remedies to be beyond appeal. It wants to be able to issue commands that must be obeyed. Given the CRE’s unerring ability to sniff out “racism” virtually anywhere, this would essentially make it the most powerful organization in the country — which, no doubt, it longs to be.
Mr. Honeyford’s position against the CRE is libertarian: Government has no right to meddle in private contracts or to force people into unwanted association. He claims to abhor racial discrimination, but argues that we should be free to practice it. “The notion that people should be compelled to love their neighbor,” he writes, “. . . is never far from CRE policymaking.”
Despite his good arguments, excellent research, and illuminating case studies of CRE bullying, Mr. Honeyford fails fully to understand the CRE. He pointedly refuses to accuse it of bad will or to question its motives. But from the facts he presents it is clear that this is a bureaucracy — two thirds of whose employees are non-white — that simply seeks advantage for non-whites at the expense of whites. Its purpose is racial imperialism, not racial reconciliation. It has found a way to use the white majority’s own money to disadvantage whites economically and politically and advance the interests of non-whites. Its objectives are precisely the same as those of American “civil rights” organizations, which are unapologetic expressions of a racial will to power.
The great riddle is why white-majority societies permit this, why whites have lost the ability to take their own side in an argument. The unhappy truth seems to be that this potentially fatal disability is found in every white country that has opened itself to multi-racialism.