IDC Inquiry into Racism in Aid
It’s been an interesting week so far for government inquiries. The one we’ve had our eye on is the International Development sub-inquiry into racism in the aid sector, part of the broader inquiry into the philosophy and culture of aid.
An overview from Will Worley in ‘FCDO must consider how UK aid cuts hurt people of color, advocates say’, gives insight into the session’s highlights. However, we recommend that anyone interested in understanding the links between colonialism, aid and racism to check out the full inquiry (linked here) during their lunch break, and hear some fantastic women of colour talk succinctly and frankly about the issues at play.
Here are some of our highlights from the session:
- First, Dr Narayanaswamy offered a comprehensive and precise explanation of how aid is the extension of colonialism. She highlighted the need to have a collective narrative of colonialism that includes the West as agents perpetuating current inequalities and not just a story of ‘black and brown people’ in the Global South.
- Degan Ali was unapologetic in unveiling the realities development dynamics for partners in the Global South. She spoke of how hesitant the sector is about having conversations on race and how although there has been some progress, this needs happen faster. Degan spoke of how people working in the charitable sector like to be seen as ‘good people’ who have sacrificed a nice life, and therefore cannot be racist. She stated that is simply not true, we operate within historically unequal structures, imposing western language and culture, whilst placing little to no value on the lived expertise of southern partners.
- Natalie Lartey suggested that as a sector, we are unwilling to be open and transparent about how colonialism, racism and poverty are linked. The lack fo acknowledgment as a sector and country about the roles that slavery, colonialism and unequal trade are play in causing poverty and maintaining it, creates space for misunderstanding and room for narratives that focus on superiority, inferiority and white saviourism.
- Finally, a big thanks to Lorriann Robinson for highlighting REDI Collective along with Diasporic Development and Charity So White as organisations working within the sector working towards anti-racism. Lorriann called for the UK aid sector to be specific, detailed and target orientated in their EDI ambitions, whilst advising the IDC to encourage organisations to invest with intention into the area, instead of asking PoC within their organistions to lead, strategise, manage and implement EDI.