RACE and inequality has been dominating debate across the world in recent weeks after the death at police hands of George Floyd in America.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, The Sun hosted a special Time For Change Q&A to examine racism in Britain in 2020 and how lasting changes can be made.
The event was chaired by talkSPORT host Hugh Woozencroft, and our panel featured world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, BLM protest hero Patrick Hutchinson, Stuart Lawrence – brother of murdered teenager Stephen – campaigner Trevor Phillips and education reformer Katharine Birbalsingh.
Here, we bring you the discussion highlights.
ARMAN Soltani, 22, of Enfield, North London: “Has there been an increase or decrease in racism in sport over the last 20 years?”
Anthony: “I was never held back in boxing due to the colour of my skin. With other sports there may be issues.
“It’s not a question of how do we make it better, it just has to stop across the board.
“These healthy conversations will help make a change because people will learn more about this and will educate their kids.
“I want to use my position as a sportsman with a big platform to put back into the community and unite and change the image.
“I don’t want us to only be relevant when I’m knocking someone out or a police officer has his knee on someone’s neck.
“I want us to have positive images that there are architects, doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and valuable members of British society amongst the afro carribean community.”
Patrick: “It is probably about the same. The only difference is, now it is unacceptable whereas before it was acceptable.
“I’ve heard fans giving racial abuse to players on the pitch and clubs get a few thousand pounds fine. Where are the £3million fines? That would send a real message.”
I don’t want us to only be relevant when I’m knocking someone out or a police officer has his knee on a black person’s neck.
Trevor: “As a teenager and student I stopped going to see my club, Chelsea, in the early Seventies. They used to throw darts, and I realised I had become the bullseye in the Shed end. That’s not going to happen now.
“But we need to think about how could it be that in football, where around 40 per cent of players are people of colour, of the 20 managers in the top flight just one is black.
“So the answer is not that there is more racism in the game — I think things are much better than they were, but the game itself now has to say, ‘Are the black guys in the game for everybody’s entertainment or do they become leaders too?’ ”
Hugh: “Just three of 139 board members – board positions on national sport governing bodies – were held by people who were non-white. Do you see any barriers? And if there are any, what can alleviate them?”
Anthony: “I think it is important to take your destiny in your own hands and that will lead me to my career after boxing where I’m in control.
“I want to be financially literate, understand accounts, legals, business conduct. All these aspects will help put me in a managerial position.
“I’ve had these conversations with my management team, with my partners and sponsors. Even as a black man myself I know how many people I hire from one community to another. I have been making changes.”
Trevor: “I love what Anthony just said. Nobody is going to be able to put on a big boxing event without Anthony Joshua. So he says, ‘By the way, when you put this event on I want to see diversity.’
“And that is fantastic, because black sportspersons did not do that in the past. Possibly the only one that would have done that would have been Muhammad Ali.
“So a generation of sportspeople like Anthony are now using their powers to change things more widely.”
Katharine: “It is not just a problem in sport because in the top 150 FTSE companies there is no black CEO. Over half of them don’t have a black board member. We do need to win hearts and minds.”
Stuart: “Look at the top — the FA board members, the diversity, the age range, the amount of men there. Unless we are changing the way the top looks, we are always going to have these conversations.”
Hugh: “We have seen TV presenters wear Black Lives Matter badges, we saw the words on the back of the shirts in the Premier League.
“And we have seen broadcasters taking badges off. Do you think Black Lives Matter just as a statement has suddenly become too divisive?”
Katharine: “People want to show themselves to not be racist, so they wear something and say, ‘look at me, I am not a racist’.
“I want to say to them, ‘Why don’t you volunteer in a charity? Come and work in the inner city with young black people?’ I don’t want the stuff that signals — I want the stuff that does something.”
ROHAN Aden, 23, of Harrow: “What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?”
Anthony: “I believe that the mass gatherings are so important because it spreads awareness. I stand for what the Black Lives Matter slogan means.
“There are architects, doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and valuable members of British society among the Afro-Caribbean community. I believe it will move to a better place.
“I’m still really connected to my grass roots. So I went back to the community in Watford and am working on a project.
“I want to help the local kids from every background with opportunities.”
Stuart: “This fight is my fight – it is not my son’s fight. I want to make sure in the rest of the time I have here I am dedicating myself to this, to seeing real change.
“I know it is not going to happen overnight. I want to make sure when my son is my age this conversation isn’t a thing.”
It will move to a better place.
Trevor: “We should not get into the mindframe of thinking that if everything we always wanted to happen doesn’t happen in the next three months, then it has all been pointless.
“The big step forward recently is that people are no longer embarrassed to talk about race.”
Katharine: “I think these last few weeks have given us the opportunity to do exactly what we are doing here, which is talk about the issue.
“I think it is important not to alienate people because we all want to live in a society together where we can get on.”
KIRSTY Wright, 22, of Kent: “Do you have faith in the British policing system or do you think prejudice still exists?”
Stuart: “It took one good copper to do something that made a massive impact into my brother’s case and I am always mindful of that.
“They have moved forward but there is always going to be that institutional racism in the Met while people do the same sort of things and the same sort of training and the same people who are in there.”
Patrick: “The reasons my friends and I went down to the Black Lives Matter protests was because of our lack of trust in the national policing system.
“We thought we needed to oversee young children to stop them getting into any trouble. Black people get a raw deal when it comes to policing.”
Black people get a raw deal when it comes to policing.
Trevor: “There is still a major issue for some police forces but anybody who says there has not been any change isn’t looking at what is happening and would be massively disrespecting both the work that Stuart and the Lawrence family did and its impact, which has been profound in this country.”
Anthony: “This is a topic I don’t know the solution to because when you are put in a position of power it just depends how you use it. I think young people start out thinking if they are in trouble they call the police.
“But then they see the video of a police officer with his knee on George Floyd’s neck and it can become a massive distrust.”
JULIE Howe, of Kent: “How can we change the National Curriculum to give our children a better education on black history and race issues?”
Katharine: “Education is complex and the reason children don’t know lots of things is more to do with the poor behaviour in schools and poor teaching methods.
“I have never seen a history textbook that doesn’t teach slavery, civil rights in America, colonialism.”
Stuart: “I was a school teacher for 17 years. And to be honest, what you focus on a lot is how to get kids through their GCSEs. I would like to see kids have more choice to pick the history topics.”
Patrick: “When I was at school I learned about the Tudors, Henry VIII Samuel Pepys and Oliver Cromwell.
“I never learned about anybody that looked like me. And with the World Wars, there were black people involved, but it was not documented in school.”
When I was at school I never learned about anybody that looked like me.
Trevor: “Schools are trying to tackle these things. What I think may be more important is the fact that figures of authority in our schools, by and large, are not black.
“If I had a criticism of where we are in the schools system, it is less the curriculum but more what you see and feel every day as you go into school.”
Anthony: “We have a problem within the Afro-Caribbean community with the curriculum. We have state schools that produce a certain agenda and private schools that have control and produce a certain agenda.
“I would like to see what can be done to connect the two.”
“WOULD removing statues be to lie about our history, as the Prime Minister has suggested?”
Patrick: “Anybody that had benefitted from slavery in this huge way, and if they have been celebrated for it, then yes, those statues should come down.”
Stuart: “I flip-flop on this one. A panel to discuss which statues should come down is a side distraction.
“The main point is equality for everyone, for every black person. If we have more representatives at the top table, other issues will be sorted along the way.”
I don’t want people to forget.
Katharine: “I am a headmistress so I would always be telling our children not to go round tearing down statues.
“It is very difficult to decide who goes and who stays, which is I why I have come to the conclusion that plaques by the statues are the best way forward so we can all learn something.”
Trevor: “I would never want the whole statue thing to become an excuse for people saying, ‘Look we took down the statue – we have done something.’
“What leans me slightly against pulling them down is I don’t want people to forget.
“If we pretend transatlantic slavery was just about some particularly nasty individuals, and if we get rid of them, that is fine – but we are making out there were some bad people who did bad things, rather than the monstrous crime transatlantic slavery was.”
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