Dizzee Rascal has received a mention in a new government-commissioned report which controversially found that the UK “no longer” had a system that is rigged against ethnic minorities.
The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities instead claims that factors such as social class and family structures were far bigger factors than race on people’s lives.
It was set up in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the UK last summer, but its report, which was published yesterday (March 31) has faced criticism from campaigners.
In the foreword of the report, Dizzee Rascal’s performance of ‘Bonkers’ at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics was cited as an example of how an “Open Britain” currently exists.
“We saw an array of people and cultures from the sleepy English countryside to the frenetic music of the inner city,” the report states.
“It not only featured British icons like James Bond and the monarchy, there was also a joyful expression of the contribution made by the Windrush generation as well as the working class contribution to the country’s history and industrial might.
“One highlight was Dizzee Rascal belting out his hit Bonkers. Danny Boyle managed to create a vision of the UK which united all communities. He gave us an ideal of an open, optimistic UK, refreshed with new communities. On that day the whole nation was proud to be British.”
Despite their claims, the report has received widespread backlash – with Labour accusing the government of downplaying institutional racism.
Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy, who previously led a report on racial bias in the justice system, said on Twitter that Britain’s black community was being “gaslighted” and he was “tired of the endless debate about whether structural racism exists with little desire to actually address it”.
Simon Woolley, who was the head of the government’s race disparity unit until last year, also criticised the commission for disregarding individual experiences.
Lord Woolley told The Guardian: “If you deny structural race inequality then you’ve got nothing to do and that in of itself is a huge problem. There was structural racism before Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter, in all areas and all levels of our society. There are shocking disparities and shocking outcomes in health, education and housing. That’s why we set up the race and disparity unit in the first place.
“Covid-19 laid bare these structural inequalities in such Technicolor and made them worse, where [BAME communities] are dying in greater numbers, becoming severely ill in greater numbers, and losing their jobs.
“Then to be not only in denial, but saying: ‘What are you complaining about? We live in a society that is much better than it was 100 years ago’ is monumental disrespect and disregard of people’s lived experiences, but above all a lost opportunity for systemic change.”
Meanwhile, Dizzee Rascal was recently confirmed to play Crystal Palace Bowl’s South Facing Festival this summer.