At a London secondary school, Pimlico Academy in Westminster , pupils went on strike Wednesday. Ostensibly they were protesting their head teacher's new strict uniform policy banning afro hairstyles which "block the views" of others and colourful hijabs.
It was quickly all over social media: a peaceful sit-down protest against a policy which was clearly discriminatory. There were reports that a senior member of staff had asked pupils to cancel the action the day, but that the children had refused to attend lessons alongside some of their teachers, who have since then handed in their resignations.
A storm in a tea-cup? Hardly. More like another frustrating incident which black and Asian families recognise only too well. Rules that apply to one part of the community but not to the other (white) part.
So perhaps it's not surprising that the highly anticipated Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report which is due, has left a bitter taste in our mouths.
In the foreword to the 264-page report, which was published on Wednesday, chairman Tony Sewell rightly points out that there are "snowy white peaks" at the very top of the private and public sectors of society. He also acknowledges that it comes at a pivotal moment for our nation's race debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, but the independent review concludes that the UK should be seen as an international exemplar of racial equality and there was no evidence "of actual institutional racism".
So why then are young people like the children at Pimlico still left with no choice but to protest?
Could it be the way the government downplays these issues, suggesting the well-meaning "idealism" of young people, who claim the country is still institutionally racist, is not rooted in substantial evidence.
When the problem seems to many to be systematic, ingrained, and more comprehensive than it's made out to be, who is right?
As a result of the report, the Commission announced 24 recommendations to forward four overarching aims: To build trust between different communities and the institutions that serve them, to promote greater fairness to improve opportunities and outcomes for individuals and communities, to create agency so individuals can take greater control of the decisions that impact their lives, and to achieve genuine inclusivity to ensure all groups feel a part of UK society.
But, unless the black and Asian community are confident they are being believed, isn't this just another form of lip service to the lives and experiences of those affected by this nature of injustice?
Back in Pimlico, the tension was building before today. At the weekend, some pupils sprayed white graffiti across the school walls – since removed. There had been calls for the academy's new principal designate, Daniel Smith, to be removed, and criticism about the Union flag that remains permanently erected outside the school. The graffiti read: "Headmaster Smith should get the sack!", "Ain’t no black in the Union Jack", "White schools for brown kids are u mad" and "Pimlico Academy…run by racists…for profit!!!"
"We believe the school has unfairly targeted groups of students," one pupil told the Guardian. "The school should protect marginalised races, religions and other groups instead of targeting them. We should see ourselves and our backgrounds represented in our studies.
"There have been a lot of changes recently. Previously, Pimlico may not have been the best school but we were represented and we felt we were heard when we raised issues but now that's not the case. The flag has become a symbol of us not being listened to. It's strange but it feels like we are being colonised."
Pimlico may feel like a one-off flashpoint but we ignore events like this at our peril. Young people will have gone home tonight feeling frustrated and ignored.
I think students will be learning the hard way that this country often prioritises its international reputation on the world stage, whilst simultaneously allowing a myriad of racial disparities in education, social mobility, health and the criminal justice system, just to name a few, explicitly to persist.
Treating people with respect, acknowledging a person’s basic dignity, having empathy for every person’s life situation, listening to other opinions and validating their contributions in the world shouldn't be up for debate 400 years after the transatlantic slave trade, but unfortunately, it still is.
Labour MP David Lammy said it best: "Like so many in Britain's black community, I'm tired! Tired of the endless debate about whether structural racism exists with little desire to actually address it. We are being gaslighted."
It’s hard to disagree.
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