The former boss of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Trevor Phillips said that attempts of the former administration to stamp out racism in UK was wrong.
Philips expressed his opinion in documentary made by Channel 4 entitled “Things We Won’t Say About Race (That Are True)”. The documentary, which runs for 75 minutes, will be aired this March 19. Other figures featured by Channel 4 in the documentary include Nigel Farage, Tony Blair and Les Ferdinand.
A well-known broadcaster and writer, Philips has been a long-time campaigner for racial equality. In 2003, he became the Commission for Racial Equality’s head. Later on, he assumed post as chief of EHRC up until his resignation in 2012. Philips’ tenure with EHRC, however, was mired with controversies, highlighted by resignations of six commissioners who expressed doubt on Philips’ leadership.
Philips said in the documentary that it was part of his task as EHRC head for the Blair administration to ensure harmonious relationship between UK’s various racial and religious groups, but now he thinks he was wrong in his past conviction that preventing expression of prejudiced beliefs will eventually lead people to “stop thinking them.”
The veteran writer and broadcaster said racial stereotypes exist and individuals should not restrain themselves from expressing their views. Philips said, for instance, that it is true that majority of people with Jewish background are affluent.
He went on to say that: ““The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today but they’re also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public. This film points to ways in which we can say what’s on our minds without being accused of being bigots.”