4 August 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: are the council's measures to tackle inequality in Cambridge achievable?
The proposals are both common sense and achievable. While they should already have existed, it is encouraging to see cross-party support to adopt them. Name-blind recruitment models already exist in organisations such as the NHS, as do programs to aid understanding of racial inequality in the workplace. The reporting of the BAME pay gap should be applied to all public services and businesses. Police measures to avoid racial profiling need to involve independent groups and members of the BAME community. The police should also report numbers of stop and search cases and arrests involving people of colour to help assess disproportionality.
Perhaps the most vital commitment is to increase and improve educational provisions in schools around the role of race in history. Most of us, myself included, were far too ignorant of Britain's colonial and slave history until the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in this country. Indeed, the entire history curriculum must be made more relevant. So much important history, which has a direct impact on modern society, is excluded from the existing curriculum in favour of less directly relevant areas like Kings and Queens. The healing process cannot progress until we have an honest understanding of the past.
This links in with the recent commitment by South Cambridgeshire District Council to undertake an audit of street names and monuments for links to racism. Museums, libraries and archives help preserve history; not statues or street names. Who or what we chose to publicly celebrate through these medians impacts popular understanding of history and send clear messages about the values we profess to uphold. All councils across the United Kingdom need to follow suit.
These measures will also, or can be adapted to, help tackle inequality of other liberation groups such as: women, disabled people, and the LGBT+ community.
Our response was written by Peter Price. Peter moved to Cambridge to study Biomedical Science at Anglia Ruskin University. He now works at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and is the Social Media Officer for the Cambridge Greens.