Trevor Phillips, who was head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission under Tony Blair, has some second thoughts on believing that preventing people from expressing prejudiced views will make the prejudice go away.
In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, called Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, he says attempts to stop prejudice instead encouraged abuse and endangered lives as well as contributed to the rise of parties like Ukip.
In the 75-minute documentary, he delves into Britain’s racial tensions and stereotypes as well as hostilities towards immigrants.
He explains: ‘It was my job to to make sure that different racial and religious groups got on.
‘Campaigners like me seriously believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas then eventually they would stop thinking them.
‘But now I’m convinced we were utterly wrong.’
Mr Phillips, a Labour party member, says anti-racism began with good intentions but turned into ‘thought control’.
He says the London 2005 bombing by British Muslims, forced him to do rethink his views.
Now, he insists that only a willingness to talk more openly about race, despite risk of causing offence, will help those in need.
‘This film points to ways in which we can say what’s on our minds without being accused of being bigots.’
Channel 4 head of specialist factual David Glover, who commissioned the documentary, said: ‘This film contains some very uncomfortable facts about race.
‘Trevor Phillips now strongly believes that it’s important to get them out there, so ultimately we can understand and tackle them.
‘Trevor is arguably the best-qualified person in the country to examine these issues,’ he continued.
‘What’s fascinating is that having thought so deeply about them, he now has a very different approach to the subject than he used to.’
Remarkable. Would that such a revelation could come over some of our more passionate racialists in this country. Phillips dares to say what no one — black or white, right or left — in this country would say; that government can’t legislate or regulate the way someone thinks. And trying to shame someone for not thinking “correctly” about race doesn’t work.
He also realizes that anti-discrimination efforts turned into “thought control” — something most of our students on college campuses are familiar with.
The big problem with Phillips’s solution if applied to the US is that you need two people who are sincere about discussing racial issues. The left is rarely sincere about discussing any racial issue unless you proceed using their base assumptions; white people are always guilty, people of color can do no wrong, and that all whites are racist — even if they don’t know it. “Check your privilege” has cut off any rational discussion of race — which is exactly what the left wants.
Phillips has made a fascinating conversion to rationality on race issues. But given the political advantage the left perceives itself to have on the issue, don’t expect any such thing to happen here.