Freelance writer Charlie Bins was frustrated with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after discovering that they appeared to protect the rights of whites but had no power when it came to the equality of black people.
Forty-two year-old freelance writer, Charlie Bins was frustrated with the lack of equality for Africans worldwide. He was frustrated with the fact that African history was a merely a footnote in Britain, grossly distorted and underrepresented, compared to other groups such as Jews.
Charlie decided to confront these inequalities and took his fight all the way to the EHRC. Spotting an inconsistency with how the EHRC treated white people and black people, Charlie confronted them through emails.
In June 2011 Charlie began his fight by exposing this racist website http://www.tightrope.cc/jokes.htm, asking the EHRC to remove the website as it is offensive to black people, but was met with this response:
“Dear Mr Bins, Thank you for your email of 30 June addressed to Trevor Phillips, the contents of which have been noted.”
“As my colleague explained to you in his email of 14 June, because the way the Equality Act 2010 is structured, it would not be possible for either yourself or the Commission to mount a legal challenge to the CEO of an internet service provider. This is because the media and the internet are not areas that are within the scope of the Act as it is generally felt that freedom of expression is a fundamental freedom within a democratic society.” (18 July 2011)
Charlie conducted research on his own behalf which contradicted what the EHRC told him. He found numerous examples where websites were taken down because they were offensive. One example was a MailOnline report which said that both Apple and Facebook removed content which called for Palestinians to rise up against Israel (Apple drops iPhone ‘intifada’ app that encourages users to launch violence against Israel: 23 June 2011: and Facebook pulls page calling on Palestinians to take up arms against Israel: 30 March 2011)
Charlie also found another example in a Guardian report (Does MIA’s Born Free video overstep the mark?: 28 April 2010: by Anna Pickard) which covered how music artist MIA’s new video about ethnic cleansing was taken down from YouTube because it was deemed too violent and shocking.
The EHRC recommended that he took his own independent legal action to remove the website which amazed Charlie. In response he said:
“So your Org can’t have the British CEO of Google Matt Brittin, take the tightrope page down? Why can’t you take a legal route? You did with the BNP saga. MIA’s born free is immediately taken down from facebook. Facebook also pull an Apple app called the intifada which is said to offend a large group of people; but when Tim Westwood, promotes the n’ word worldwide, which also offends a lot of black people, nothing happens. Why?…Your org wastes time challenging the BNP in the courts-(not in our name.) Yet the teachers in UK schools can be members of the BNP-no questions asked, and you wonder why so many black youths are excluded from your schools…Why would I try the UK legal system? It protects the rich institutions here, ONLY. Hence why I am taking my case against circle to the ECHR.” (18 July 2011)
The EHRC repeated what they said to Charlie before that they were powerless to do anything despite the contradictions that he raised.
Charlie Bins has raised important points about the EHRC and the lack of representation for black people in Britain. A report by the Runnymede Trust last week exposed the fact the the UK government has failed to deliver on race equality (UN to be told that UK failing to deliver on race equality) The concern is so serious that a group of charities is to present this report to the UN in Geneva this week. The group was also concerned about budget cuts to the EHRC and the government’s failure to implement sections of the Equality Act dealing with dual discrimination, the fact that an individual can be discriminated against on more than one level such as gender and race, or religion and race etc. (See examples of dual discrimination here: http://www.xperthr.co.uk/article/104723/equality-act-2010–10-example-dual-discrimination-scenarios.aspx)
Last month a report by the Windrush Project highlighted the fact that the Big Lottery fund refused to finance a project nationwide commemorating transatlantic slavery and its abolition.(Read Big Lottery refuses to fund a memorial day for slavery). The excuse was that the project did not target those most in need in the community. From this viewpoint Charlie’s accusations that the EHRC is selective when it comes to fighting for black equality holds weight. Where is the EHRC to point out to the government that public money which includes taxes from black communities is used to finance Jewish Holocaust history and memorial days? They are nowhere to be seen or heard.
So as Charlie pointed out in his email to the EHRC, black people and indeed white people will not be made aware of “The thousands of Namibians slaughtered by the Nazi’s 100 years before the European Jewish Holocaust…the ten million Congolese slaughtered by the Belgian Nazi’s?”, and the “… millions of Africans killed by the West during colonialism and now neo-colonialism.”
Black communities in the UK must now decide whether they will continue waiting for government handouts or come together and begin to do things for themselves. The Windrush Project would not need the help of The Big Lottery fund if black communities were willing to donate less than a pound towards the project. Charlie would not need to turn to the weak EHRC if black communities formed their own equality organisations funded by the community.
Charlie Bins’ story will hopefully begin a debate about these issues.
Charlie’s correspondence with the EHRC: