My prior post on Ruth Kelly and the newly created Commission on Integration and Cohesion led me to wonder about the composition of both this commission’s and the Commission For Racial Equality’s governing body. While the CIC is a fixed-term, advisory body the CRE has legal powers to enforce the 1976 Race Relations Act by investigating, enforcing and taking legal action; with such a statutory organisation on matters pertaining to race, the CRE commissioners’ ethnic composition is of legitimate interest.
The ethnic composition of the UK as of 2001 is available from National Statistics Online:
- White 92.1%
- Mixed 1.2%
- All Asian or Asian British 4.0%
- All Black or Black British 2.0%
- Chinese 0.4%
- Other 0.4%
With 12 commissioners, including the chairman, listed on the CRE‘s website we can make a start; the commissioners’ photos are available here. According to the photos there are six white, three asian and three black commisioners — appointed by the Home Secretary. Of note, both the Chairman and Deputy Chairwoman are black. If one was to appoint commissioners according to the ethnic composition in the general population, for 12 commissioners we get:
- White — 11 Commissioners
- Mixed — None
- All Asian or Asian British — 1 Commissioner (I’m being generous)
- All Black or Black British — None
- Chinese — None
- Other — None
Even if one appoints a commissioner for the ‘mixed’, black and chinese categories, white commissioners would still be in the majority. As it stands, the CRE panders to minorities in the very make-up of its board of commissioners and most senior appointments — as the Home Secretary intended.