Race Disparity Audit - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:32 pm on 10th October 2017.

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Photo of The Bishop of Chelmsford The Bishop of Chelmsford Bishop 3:32 pm, 10th October 2017

My Lords, although, let me be clear, the Church of England has nothing to teach anyone else on this subject—our record is not a good one—in the diocese of Chelmsford, where I serve, which includes the east London boroughs, which have some of the most diverse communities in Europe, we have found that of course there is racism and xenophobia but there is also what has been explained to me as unconscious bias. It is not quite the same as racism; it is those things which prevent us from seeing each other as clearly as we need to. Both in the Church of England generally and in the diocese where I serve, we have done a lot of training over the past couple of years to help people to see their own unconscious bias towards people, and this is already bearing fruit in the church context with black and global majority people coming forward into positions. I wondered whether the Government had looked at that both for us and in wider society to try to move the debate on beyond the binary thing of, “Somebody is a racist or they are not”.