Racism exists in UK because Britons don’t ‘wholly understand’ slave trade history, says academic 


Racism and discrimination exist in UK because Britons don’t ‘wholly understand’ nation’s slave trade history, says National Trust academic

  • National Trust published report on links between slavery and Trust properties 
  • Rita McLean is chair of a group examining how to act upon the findings 
  • In 2007 Ms McLean said: ‘A lot of the problems in society in terms of racism and discrimination stem from this episode in history and that needs to be addressed’ 

Racism still exists in Britain because the population has not ‘wholly understood’ the country’s history with slavery, the academic in charge of a National Trust review has said.  

The Trust became embroiled in controversy when it published a 115-page report on ‘Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery’ in September.     

Museums and heritage consultant Rita McLean is chair of a group examining how to act upon the findings of the National Trust’s report into the links between its properties and Britain’s imperial past, The Telegraph reports. 

In 2007 on the bicentenary of slavery’s abolition  Ms McLean said: ‘A lot of the problems in society in terms of racism and discrimination stem from this episode in history and that needs to be addressed.

‘That’s still to be recognised on a wide scale and I think the issues and implications from that are not wholly understood.’

Ms McLean was appointed to be in charge of a ‘working group of external specialists’ who will ‘advise and steer the Trust’ in how it approaches the review. 

It comes as Tory MPs are set to demand that Boris Johnson launches a fightback against the politically correct ‘woke’ agenda of Britain’s institutions.

Museums and heritage consultant Rita McLean is chair of a group examining how to act upon the findings of the National Trust’s report into the links between its properties and Britain’s imperial past

The Prime Minister will be urged to speak out for Britain’s ‘patriotic’ silent majority and take a stand against bids by ‘elitist bourgeois liberals’ to rewrite or denigrate the nation’s history.

More than 25 Tory MPs will write to Mr Johnson this week, warning him that ‘Britain’s heritage is under attack – ironically from those missioned to guard it’.

The Trust has sparked a fierce row over the issue of Britain’s past, with members accusing the charity’s annual general meeting of advancing a ‘woke agenda’ and pursuing a ‘witch hunt into the lives of past property owners’. 

Conservative MP Sir John Hayes said: ‘What Ms McLean needs to understand is that we are a product of all that went before. You can’t sanitise history.

‘Consequently what we are as Britons is a product of the whole mix of things that has happened historically. Out of what has been before has grown what is now. You can’t pick and choose which bits of history you want to disown.’

Conservative MP Sir John Hayes said: 'What Ms McLean needs to understand is that we are a product of all that went before. You can't sanitise history'

Conservative MP Sir John Hayes said: ‘What Ms McLean needs to understand is that we are a product of all that went before. You can’t sanitise history’

Conservative MP Andrew Murrison said that the title of the Trust's 'disturbingly unbalanced survey' which 'conflates slavery and colonialism' had 'given the Trust's game away'

Conservative MP Andrew Murrison said that the title of the Trust’s ‘disturbingly unbalanced survey’ which ‘conflates slavery and colonialism’ had ‘given the Trust’s game away’

He called for the Trust to reveal more detail about the working group, as it was important that Britons know the members are ‘proper people who can be relied upon by National Trust members’. 

Sir John also said some MPs thought the Trust had compromised its charitable status and now transparency about details is important.  

Conservative MP Andrew Murrison said that the title of the Trust’s ‘disturbingly unbalanced survey’ which ‘conflates slavery and colonialism’ had ‘given the Trust’s game away’. 

He added: ‘Dripping confirmation bias, this must rank as the least evidence-based publication put out by a charity in recent times.’

Ms McLean had been Head of Museums and Heritage Services at Birmingham Museum and Art gallery at the time of her comments.   

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