by Ahmed Olayinka Sule

When I first heard that you would be presenting a documentary on Channel Four titled, “Things We Can’t Say About Race That Are True”, I was keen to know what you had to say. Even though I was concerned about what was reported in the media about the documentary before it was aired, I decided to hold my peace. Having watched the documentary on 19 of March 2015, now is the time for me to let you know what is on my mind.

I guess you must be pleased with yourself having ignited a fierce debate on race. You must also feel a sense of triumph that you have “unearthed” some new insights into race relations. There is no doubt that you have played a prominent role in race relations in modern day Britain. From serving as chair of Runnymede Trust to heading the Commission for Racial Equality and later Equalities and Human Rights Commission, you have been at the forefront of race relations. But Sir, I am concerned that what you presented in your sixty minutes documentary has undone everything you have worked for in the last twenty-two years. The documentary is both logically and morally flawed and in the next couple of pages, I will explain why.

The main thesis of the documentary is that harmony among the people of Britain is being compromised because people are unable to reveal their inner feelings on racial matters for fear of being tagged racists. You argue people should be free to speak out and be ready to offend people’s racial sensitivities as this will save lives. There is no doubt that Britain needs an honest conversation on race and this is something I have written about sometime ago. However, the premises you have used in arriving at your conclusions are logically flawed on a number of grounds.

Trevor Phillips

You begin your documentary by “appealing to your authority” as an expert on racial relations to suggest that what you say in the documentary though controversial is correct. You state, “I should know. I helped to create those laws (racial laws) and I used to be their enforcer.” The fact you headed a race relation organisation for a decade is not a sufficient justification to assert that what you say on race matters is correct.

Later on, you discuss the concept of stereotypes and say, “Many stereotypes are true” and reel out a list of stereotypes such as Jews are powerful; Indian women are likely to work as chemists; Romanians are likely to be pickpockets and blacks engage in violent crimes.  In asserting, “Many stereotypes are true,” you are inferring that because something is true for a subset of a population, it is true for the whole of the population. If Romanians engage in pick pocketing as you assert, what about the pickpocket activities that occur in many parts of Britain where Romanians are not represented? Does this mean wherever pick pocketing occurs in the world, it is more likely to be carried out by Romanians?

To justify your claim that black folks are more likely to engage in crime, you note blacks are 2 times more likely to be sentenced for violent crimes and six times more likely to be convicted for robbery. You then rule out racial bias in the criminal justice system as a possible factor by arguing that three quarter of black murder victims are killed by blacks. Martin Luther King once penned a letter to six clergymen in which he wrote, “I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.” Like the six clergymen King wrote to, you have also engaged in a superficial kind of social analysis that ignores the structural causes. To get to the root cause of why blacks are sentenced by the British criminal justice system, you need to ask the question: Why are so many black folks overrepresented in the criminal justice system? A research conducted by the organisation you once headed for ten years revealed that a black person relative to a white person was eleven times more likely to be stopped by the London Metropolitan Police; so why wouldn’t a black folk be more likely to be convicted? Why are blacks six times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs relative to whites even though they use less drugs than white folks? You focus on the so-called black on black crime while ignoring the “never mentioned” white on white crime. Isn’t it ironic that while statisticians are keen to compile data on blacks killing blacks, they refrain from publishing data on white on white killings, despite the prevalence of media reports about white people murdered by white folks? Have you taken time to analyse why “Black crime” is a pleonasm, whereas “White crime” is an oxymoron in modern day Britain?

In shedding the spotlight on racism in football, you interview Les Ferdinand, a retired footballer and ask him about his views on the incident in which his cousin, Anton Ferdinand was alleged to have been called a black cunt by former England captain John Terry. After spending a few minutes discussing the incident, you shift the discussion from the racist remarks made against black players to the lack of black coaches in football. You then argue that Britain has got its priority wrong by focusing on racism at the individual level rather than addressing racism at the macro level stating, “The real taboo isn’t black cunt, it’s black boss.” Once again, you commit a fallacy of composition by using a single incident as evidence that agitators have got their racial priorities wrong. You also use a red herring to shift the discussion away from an issue, which is endemic in Britain, to a topic that is less disturbing. What is the point of having black managers if they are still going to be subjected to the same racial abuse faced by black players and black fans? Racism has to be tackled from both the micro and macro level. So to rephrase what you said earlier, the real taboo is not “either/or” (black cunt or black boss); the real taboo is  “both/and” (black cunt and black boss).


Another flaw in the documentary is that it suffers from selection bias.  First, since you are discussing race, one would have expected sufficient representation from people of the different races. In your documentary, non-whites were not adequately represented as you interviewed only three ethnic minorities namely Simon Woolley, Tarique Ghaffur and Les Ferdinand. Second, most of the people interviewed were those who agreed with your line of reasoning. It was only Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair who disagreed with your point of view.  The prevalence of white interviewees and people in support of your line of reasoning biases the conclusions of your documentary in favour of the viewpoint of the dominant culture in Great Britain.  Viewers would have got more out of your documentary if you had also included victims of racism rather than focusing mainly on those who “think” they would be branded racists if they speak their minds.

A key theme of the documentary is the reluctance of white people to speak out for fear of being called racists. To support this claim, you cite two cases namely the Rotherham grooming scandal and the Victoria Climbie incident, where the investigation into the cases revealed that people were unwilling to intervene for fear of being tagged racists. Mr. Philips, this is a clear case of cherry picking as you conveniently select cases, which support your viewpoint while ignoring other cases. You fail to discuss issues, which might have been useful for the viewers to get a complete picture of racism in modern day Britain. For instance, while you link the Rotherham grooming scandal to the perpetrators race (Asian men), you say nothing about:

  1. a) Operation Yewtree, which is an investigation into the abuse of young children by predominately “white” celebrities such as Jimmy Savile, Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, Freddie Starr etc
  2. b) The Westminster paedophile ring which involves senior “white” government officials and
  3. c) The 121 Britons arrested as part of Operation Rescue, a global sting to crack down on online paedophilia.

If you can devote time to investigate why white people are nervous about expressing their views for fear of being called bigots, wouldn’t it also be beneficial to investigate whether British ethnic minorities are also afraid to speak out about the abuse of vulnerable children by “white” establishment figures for fear of being called bigots?

In summary, your “ground breaking“ documentary is full of logical fallacies based on cherry picking, red herrings, sweeping generalisations, misapplication, syllogism, false dilemma and false cause. Having addressed the logical inaccuracies of the documentary, I will devote the next couple of paragraphs to address its moral failings. While I don’t doubt your sincerity, the documentary has done more harm than good in respect to race relations in United Kingdom. You have provided those who have been in denial about racism in this country with the ammunition to fire at those that agitate for racial justice. You have also provided bigots and racists with prejudiced-coated bullets to fire at British ethnic minorities. Moreover, thanks to your documentary, bigots and racist can now add to their lexicon, “I am not a racist, after all Trevor Philips said many stereotypes are true,” and “ Trevor Philips says there is no difference between anti racists and racists like us.”

You also downplay the legacy and significance of Martin Luther King, a man who laid down his life for the emancipation of black folks. After footage of King’s speech at the March in Washington was shown in the documentary, you say that King’s vision changed the way people thought about race and gave birth to a new idea. You proceed to state that a noble set of aims is “not enough” and that the risk of great reform movements is that good intentions can morph into informal law and then become dogma. Shortly after, the film footage changes from the scene at the March in Washington to a March in Russia in the presence of Stalin and you say “What started as a March of Liberation can turn into thought control and even worse.” You subsequently suggest that the movement has given birth to a new doctrine that 1) All whites are alike 2) Whites are tainted and guilty and 3) Whites should not criticise a non-white. It is shocking that you could implicitly link the Civil Right Movement with Stalin’s repressive actions and then suggest that it has given birth to a racist doctrine. While I appreciate that you want to provoke debate, you dishonour Martin Luther King and the millions of Civil Rights participants by your faulty analogy. One wonders why you implicitly link the civil rights movement with repression, while you remain silent on a political party whose rhetoric’s dehumanises ethnic minorities.

After watching the documentary, I was very disappointed, but after giving it some thought I finally understood “the game.” You would not be the first person to throw your people under a bus; neither will you be the last. The history books are filled with stories of those who have worked directly and indirectly against their own people. While this documentary may come across to many as a production of a black folk speaking truth to his people; for others on the other side of the colour line, it comes across as a documentary whose voice is like that of Jacob and whose hands is like that of Esau. The documentary also reinforces the issues raised in Frantz Fanon’s book, Black Skin, White Masks, a book that examines how colonialism is internalised by the colonised and how some black folks end up emulating their colonial oppressors.

In conclusion, the documentary was a “worthy” attempt at promoting racial harmony (sic) and you deserve a Noble Prize recognition for your performance. I am sure that if the Nobel Committee were to dish out awards today, the 2015 Nobel Prize for Racial Boldness will go to Nigel Farage. It was amazing to see him look straight at the camera and boldly say, “We are colour-blind. We as a party are colour-blind.” However, the much coveted Nobel Prize for Promoting Racial Tension, which has a monetary value of “30 pieces of silver”, will go to no other person than our one and only Mr. Trevor Philips.


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ahmed sule

Ahmed Sule is a CFA Charterholder, Chartered Accountant, photojournalist and social critic. He also  obtained a Certificate in Photojournalism at the University of Arts London. He has also worked on various photojournalism projects including Obama: The Impact, Jesus Christ: The Impact, The Williams Sisters etc. He cites Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Kwame Nkrumah and W.E. Du Bois as his major influences. Find him on twitter @Alatenumo






19 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Trevor Philips: Why Your Documentary Is Logically and Morally Flawed.

  1. Disagree with most of this but, with drugs it’s selling them,not having them for ones own use that there’s a higher rate of BME people charged for it,and that’s because where they’re sold, for instance in campus, the pills, style drugs sold, are sold ,by whites,but there’s less cops there to spot it,


  2. Guy is a complete hypocrite and most problem of race are his own creation when he was the Head CRE which latter became Equality Commission. In fact,under his chairmanship equality law was badly diluted and tribunals imposed filing fees and abolished payment to compensate the loss of income to lay representative and pay for their overnight stay to represent those who are in greater need of representation at the tribunal where the racist employers employ fat cats.

    It was Trevor Phillips who made the Racial Equality Commission now known as Equality and Human Rights Commission toothless, but made mint by running his consultancy and over £110,000 pa as Equality Tsar despite the conflict of interest.and got away with racism by using Labor Party office.

    Full story below:


  3. I am not black. Neither am I white. Heinz 57. But I thought that Mr Phillips programme was overall very well done. Sure, there are many bits that I found contrary to my views. But that is the point.
    I find it very regrettable that many folks seem to take such affrontary views with such discourse. You just prove his point.
    The likes of Krass stating that they had not even seen the documentary but were wholeheartedly able to give a verdict??? The name suits you, my friend.
    Lets try to grab positives from this and work together to fill the gaps. Surely the overall point is that in the UK we have a truly fantastic multi cultural population but the challenge we have is that we have not integrated. We have allowed ( or forced if you think that way) for separation instead.
    I can take you to many different areas of London that are separatist by situation. From the Koreans of New Malden (largest density of Koreans outside of Korea in the world) who’s mothers still have no word of English despite being here twenty years (but are still lovely people. And their food is gorgeous) to my grandchildren’s area of Barnet where the local parks tea hut is run by a very nice group of ladies but I have to order in Polish or by pointing. This is a council sanctioned tea hut on council land. And they pay all their dues.
    Trevor Phillips overall point was that we should try to remove the chip from our shoulders (in some peoples cases logs if I am going from this article) and have better integration. And absence of fear.
    As someone who emigrated to Europe before then moving onto settling in Asia (where ironically whites do not make up 1% so please do not give me any sob stories in the UK where non whites make up 15% in the south, 45% in London, before missing our children and grandchildren too much and returning to our homeland) I find it pathetic with all this taking of offence.
    We all originate from Ethiopia apparently so just deal with it. We are the same. You are not black American any more than white American. Both were imported. We are not British this, that or the other. It’s where you are born. What passport you hold, that gives you rights.
    The children that my son teaches in South London love to frequently try to rebuke a situation with comments starting with “in my country we ….”. When asked where they were born they say England. When asked where their parents were born they say England. But here ancestry eventually leads else where. Where the hell has integration failed!


  4. While former London mayor Ken Livingstone maintained a facade of compassion for the disadvantaged, his policies increased violence on public transport, in homeless centers and in public areas which were not well policed. They increased violence towards the poor. This is not consistent with compassion for the disadvantaged.


  5. Trevor Philips also says about Rotherham,’ 3 of the perpetrators were white, the rest were Pakistani Muslim….’. If this is really about race, then what has the ‘Muslim’ got to do with it? Why does he not mention the religion(s) of the 3 white men? It’s the same western media narrative of trying their best to hammer home the ‘Muslims are bad, not part of us, dangerous, etc’ . Did the convicted Pakistanis each tell the police they identified as ‘Muslim’? Some how even when one behaves contrary to Islam and indulges in murder,child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse the likes of Trevor Philips will still label him Muslim….essentially he was insinuating Muslims behave that way, beware of them! But the same man/media wouldn’t mention the religion of Anders Brevik….he just doesn’t fit the picture and he has to undergo psychiatric assessment. How many people who kill like him but have brown skins are ever considered for psychiatric assessment? Why do they never mention the religions of the predominantly white male child sex ring participants?


  6. Your all flogging a dead horse. The era of white guilt is over and the only people I see complaining are West Indians. Asians are too busy getting on, going to university and running businesses. The majority of violent crime in London is black on black, deal with that before you try anything else.


  7. How do criminals use media to control the police?

    Media blackout of crimes brings more sympathy and helps criminals to control the police
    via one-sided racially biased media messages, and is therefore a form of “positive
    discrimination”. However, it can have negative effects for those it favours. Limiting the
    powers of police in ghettos makes murder easier, hence a high homicide rate amongst
    occupants of such communities. An increase in crime makes investment in such communities
    less practical, hence makes more relative poverty. ( You may get a full PDF versiaon of
    this report by emailing me at:, otherwise you may see: )

    Riots get a lot of media attention. So, if you have a riot, and then tell sad stories to
    the journalists, you get public sympathy. E.g. there was a British Black Power
    movement in the 80s. This involved several riots. A main complaint was that the
    police were stopping and searching blacks a lot. However, several outlets of
    the British media gave both sides to this story. They pointed out the police
    had reasons for this. The militants said their crime rate was entirely due to
    racism on the part of the racist white majority in Britain, as were their
    levels of productivity and prosperity. Some journalists pointed out that their
    crime rates, and rates of productivity and prosperity, were consistent with
    those of places where blacks were the majority, such as Africa and the
    Caribbean. It was also pointed out that there was a lower tolerance to crime in
    these areas. That British blacks were therefore getting away with a lot of
    things that they wouldn’t get away with in their home countries. The militants
    didn’t like this reporting, it belied their claims. They liked to criticize, but they
    didn’t like to be criticized. So they claimed it incited hatred towards blacks, and had a
    demonstration in London, in 1985, on Fleet Street, the street of the press, against
    freedom of the press. There was no significant evidence that the press had caused hatred
    towards blacks. Most Britons
    already knew of the crime rate amongst blacks. The British media, overall,
    probably reduced hatred, as it said that most blacks were not criminals. So the British
    media corrected some stereotypes. Still, the militants got their way. In 1986, a new
    British law was
    passed which restricted freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. In real
    terms, it meant that you couldn’t criticize, or publicise, the crimes of
    non-white criminals. In Britain, your freedom of speech on these issues is now
    taken away, even when your motive is clearly to stop crime and/or stop racism.
    Spreading false messages, while repressing criticism and other opposing views,
    is a strategy which has been used by some highly oppressive regimes – some of which
    carried out mass killings. I’m sure you can think of at least one such regime,
    yes? The claim that the disclosure of the black crime rate is likely to incite
    hatred towards blacks is not true. Many of the most popular black artists
    advertise themselves as being criminals. Tupac Shakur has sold over 75 million
    records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all
    time. He boasted of his criminality – he even boasted of being in jail as a foetus
    – and he was.

    The Public Order Act of 1986 prohibits saying anything, or displaying written material,
    which incites racial hatred. Racial hatred is defined as hatred against a Group of persons
    by reference to colour, race, nationality – including citizenship – or ethnic or national
    origins. Not long after the law was passed, a British paper was done for mentioning the
    race of a rapist. However, this law does not
    appear to apply to hatred which is incited towards whites, as there is still a
    lot of that in the British media. So the public are now fed stories when the
    police are being heavy handed – but are not informed of the full reasons for this.
    It allows criminals to control the media. He who controls the media, controls
    the public, the votes – and the police. This is very useful for crime
    syndicates, gangs and even petty criminals. The claim that reporting black crime
    rates incites racial hatred is a very useful for criminals. The crimes could be
    reported without inciting hatred. One could simply point out that there are
    also good blacks, when reporting the crime – as I’ve done in this report. Still
    political correctness has prevented police forces from fighting crime. If you
    are mugged by visible ethnic minorities (VEMs) in Britain, and you go to the police, you
    may very likely find that they trivialise the crime, try to make you feel it´s your own
    fault –
    or simply don’t record it. This is cowardly, this is selfish, this encourages
    crime – and this is racist. A lot of police officers feel the best thing to do
    is try and avoid arresting visible ethnic minorities, as they don’t like being
    seen as racist. [14][15][19] Senior police officers in Britain have admitted
    that PC-ness, and the fear of being called racist, have resulted in race crime
    against white people being under-reported. [14] Needless to say, this makes
    crime attractive to militant blacks and militants of other ethnic minorities.
    It was not just blacks who had power movements, others followed. In the 80s, I
    spoke with several Pakistani guys, in London, who figured the black militants
    had the right idea. When South Asians started arriving in Britain in the 70s
    and 80s, they gained a reputation as being hard working and law abiding. Many
    of them were not even fluent in English, but still worked. However, there was a
    South Asian power movement in Britain in the 90s and 2000s which, like the
    Black Power movements in America and Britain, involved rioting – it involved something
    else too – the 7/7 bombings in London. Yes, some of these militants reckoned
    God was on their side. Many other militants do too, including David Duke, Louis
    Farrakan, Rev Jesse Jackson & Rev Al Sharpton. The police are now cautious
    about dealing with South Asian criminals. [19] By 2000, although most of them
    were, and still are hardworking, law abiding and successful, British South
    Asians had a problem with a lot of young men, who were fluent in English, but
    were not working, and were getting into crime. In fact, with regard to
    immigrants who are VEMs, the crime rate is almost always higher amongst those
    born within the new country, than those who arrived as immigrants – this
    implicates racially biased messages (RBMs) as a major culprit. The UK now has one of the
    highest incarceration rates in Europe. The proportion of black people in jail in the UK
    was almost
    seven times their share of the population. Is this because they are unfairly
    targeted? No, its not. [14] [15] [19] [23]


  8. Reblogged this on Nagara and commented:
    Here’s the second piece reblogged from the excellent blog, Media Diversified. It covers all I was about to say on my own blog about Trevor Phillips’ programme and does it better than I could have managed.


  9. Rotherham was brought up because race was a pertinent factor in those crimes and that scandal. 1) It was one race preying on another race. 2) The crimes were covered up specifically because of the races involved and because of fears of racism.

    So to bring up the Operation Yewtree/Elm Guest House scandal as if to say “but whites have molested kids too!” is to completely misunderstand the point which was being made. Race was not a factor in these crimes, until you just decided to make it a factor by bringing up their races for no reason – but this is futile point scoring. It demonstrates ultimately an inability on your part to think abstractly about situations independent from your own racial identity and victim mentality.

    “The history books are filled with stories of those who have worked directly and indirectly against their own people. ”

    And if you apply this line of argument to white people, we are forced to conclude that, you may have Trevor Phillips working against your interest by making tv documentaries you disagree with, but us white people have THE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT working against our interest by supporting the legacy of mass immigration into Britain and its continuation (leading to our projected future minority status) and to the enforced fragmentation of our identity and culture, which we are openly not allowed to criticise else we will be attacked.

    Non-white people in the UK today are incredibly privileged. They will never *ever* be accused seriously of racism or threatened with losing their jobs for saying racist things. White people do live with this fear however. Even MPs such as Dianne Abbott can get away with slurring whites and keep their jobs. Non-white people need to wake up to this and to first recognise their privilege first before they engage so ignorantly in the UK race debate.


    1. “They will never *ever* be accused seriously of racism or threatened with losing their jobs for saying racist things. White people do live with this fear however.” It’s really easy not to say racist things. It’s a lot harder to not be black so you aren’t assumed to be a criminal and killed by trigger-happy cops (don’t know about the UK but that kind of thing happens a lot in the US).


  10. Haven’t watched this thing but from this article it sounds like it doesn’t address much besides racists wanting to be able to openly say racist things without repercussions and ergo the time to watch it would be better spent doing something else. Lines like “some stereotypes are true” really reinforce this feeling.


  11. “It’s about time we all allowed ourselves to be a bit more offended”. Except for white people having their views on race challenged, eh Trevor.


  12. Booyah! I am a fellow writer. I so wanted to write a response to the fuckery that this documentary was but let me tell you you cover all the points I could have made and some more and write with such clarity and transparency that only the determined ignorant sand those defaulted by reason and light would still see sense in the sentionalitic, master and ego pleasing piece by Sir Philips.

    In all honesty, I was quite distressed and disappointed that Trevor Phillips, clearly a man of standing would want to benefit from spreading racial untruths and myths, it was painful to be faced with how far we still have to go as a people when it comes to liberating ourselves. But as you say such is the legacy of racism and colonialism. Internalisation is the biggest threat to our freedom. Thank you for rationally and logically debunking.


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