By Nadeya Hussain –
Azeem Rafiq, an English cricketer who played professionally for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, stated that he was faced with racial harassment whilst playing for the team. Rafiq told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that English cricket is “institutionally racist”, and that he wanted to be the “voice for the voiceless”.
As he sat in a meeting with MP’s, he claimed that there was constantly racist language being used. Several comments were made, such as “you lot sit over there near the toilets” and the repeated use of derogatory language about his ethnicity. According to a leaked report, the use of this language toward Rafiq was in the context of ‘friendly banter’. Nevertheless, Rafiq countered that racism is not banter. The term is derogatory and offensive, and it cost him his career due to the racism he experienced. Additionally, Rafiq stated he was humiliated and isolated at the cricket club many other times.
What is ‘Institutional’ Racism?
The Macpherson Report states the definition of institutional racism as: “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.
“It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”
It is vital to examine this study since it shows the hidden message that institutional racism is still evident today. It exists not only in education or offices but also in sports.
This, however, is contradicted by the statement of Tony Sewell, the chairman of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, who said that there was no evidence of institutional racism in the UK in his recent race report.
Racism in the Workplace
This study with Rafiq is a message to reiterate the importance of highlighting policies and procedures within every working environment.
Incidents like this occur too often to ignore. A survey of 5000 people on racism at work was conducted by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in 2017. According to the report, racial harassment is still occurring at many workplaces and is evident in several different ways.
Bullying, racist abuse, and violence are among them. According to the findings, over 70% of ethnic minority workers claim they have been subjected to racial harassment at work in the last five years.
According to the 1999 Race Relations (Amendment) Act, all organisations in the public sector are obliged to promote good relations between races. In practice, this requires implementing equality strategies that reduce barriers to discrimination. Workplaces should develop a race equality policy and initiate the change.
Additional reading on equal rights at work can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website
The fallout of what happened with Azeem and the Yorkshire Country Cricket Club shocked many and rocked the world of professional cricket. It shows that this kind of institutional racism can come from anywhere, even at some of the highest levels of the sporting world.
It’s up to everybody to stand up and call out these kinds of incidents as and when they happen, and not let perpetrators hide behind the excuse of ‘banter’.
The Digital Equality Network Kirklees aims to share equality legislation for all with a specific view to African & Asian descendants as well as minority rights.
We give the voluntary, third, public and private sectors a platform to collaborate and celebrate diversity and inclusion. It debates and explores how individual organisations can make a difference within their local authority, community, and businesses to eradicate all forms of discrimination. Find out more about the den at www.kirkleeslocaltv.com/the-den