Trevor Phillips appeared on This Morning to promote his new Channel 4 documentary, and said he isn’t worried about courting controversy.
Trevor told hosts Amanda Holden and Philip Schofield that there needs to be less outrage when discussing race.
He added that the reaction to Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent gaffe, when he referred to black actors as ‘coloured’, would put other white people off speaking out about race.
Trevor said: ‘In the old days [‘coloured’] was the polite way to refer to people like me.
‘In a world where we’re much more diverse, we’ve got to have ways of dealing with our difference.
‘Often the motivation is good, but if you do this pouncing thing…if someone, a white person, wants to say something important about it they’ll think about what happened to Benedict Cumberbatch and shut up.’
He also claimed that our fears about discussing race were stopping us from seeing the positives in our differences.
‘We’re not even able to say good things about race’ he went on.
‘We say Jews are rich and powerful…well actually it’s true. Jewish households are twice as wealthy and are more likely to well in higher education and banking and finance.
‘It should be a cause for us to say “what is it that they do to be successful and can we learn from it?”
‘Chinese children outperform all other children. It’s not genetic, there’s something these families do that we could learn from.
‘Why couldn’t a white guy say that? Facts are facts. They’re not controversial. What then follows is what should you do about that.’
‘We understand the risk, we understand that evil people might use these facts in the wrong way, but we can’t go on like this.
‘When I was a reporter we worried about ordinary person getting wrong end of the stick. Ordinary people are’t stupid. We can’t treat them as though their inner Nazi will come out.’
When asked why he thought the more right-leaning political parties might be gaining support, he said: ‘One of the most powerful things these parties do is knock on people’s doors and say “you’re worried about immigration, you’re worried about the complexion of your children’s schools” but other parties won’t. They tell you to shut up.
‘I want to take this issue away from the extremists.’
Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm.