15 Jul 2015

Straight conversations about racial and religious differences

From Nine To Noon, 9:21 am on 15 July 2015

Trevor PhillipsFormer chairman of the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips talks about his documentary Things we won't say about race but are true, which created a bit of a backlash when it screened recently on Britain's Channel Four.

He was the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality during the Blair Government and quickly concluded that while a commitment to multiculturalism was fine in theory, it had become a racket in many parts of the UK. He says many people are reluctant to speak their minds fearing they will be branded racist.

He believes race issues must be open for debate – and when he spoke publicly about his concerns that Britain could be "sleepwalking to segregation", a political firestorm erupted.

More than a decade on Trevor Phillips says desperation to avoid offense, is standing in the way of progress, and the drive to instil respect for diversity is resulting in a stifling of conversations about racial or religious differences.