Adultification

So is that it? Do we accept the findings and sleep easier at night safe in the knowledge that the society that we live in in one of equality, fairness and anti-discrimination?

According to The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recently published controversial report (also referred to as the Sewell Report), institutional racism and structural racism is nothing more than an “anachronism” or “amplified, inter-generational mistrust”.

The report, commissioned by the Government in direct response to the inequitable death rates amongst some ethnic groups during the pandemic and growing concerns about the way racial prejudices and bias adversely impacted the way black people were treated by the police, arguably not only gaslights people’s painful experiences of racism, but goes as far to suggest that widespread institutionalised racism doesn’t actually exist in the way it is widely perceived to. Instead, it seeks to explain racial inequalities as being the result of “linguistic inflation”, diluting the meaning of institutionalised racism which should only be used when “deep seated racism can be proven on a systemic level.”

Do we park the Windrush scandal? Forget Grenfell? Do we ignore the health inequalities being experienced by black people, such as the fact that black women are 4 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women?

So, is that it? Do we accept the findings and sleep easier at night safe in the knowledge that the society that we live in in one of equality, fairness and anti-discrimination? Do we discount the earlier reviews such as the Macpherson Report, commissioned in the wake of the murder of Stephen Lawrence which concluded that there was indeed evidence of institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police and that the debate centred on the nexus between racism and policing is a “debate thus ignited must be carried forwards…”

Do we park the Windrush scandal?

Forget Grenfell?

Do we ignore the health inequalities being experienced by black people, such as the fact that black women are 4 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women?

Is the Lammy Review which illuminated blatant and “overt discrimination” in our criminal justice and disproportionalities in ethnicity found at every stage of the Criminal Justice System and pervasive racial biases which perpetuated such disparity now outdated?

I would argue that the reports such as those aforementioned that proceed the Sewell Report are relevant, more now than ever.
Just last week I read about the case of Simone Perry. A young, inexperienced mother of 22 from Northamptonshire whose 5-month-old baby son Renzo died by drowning in the bath in Jan 2019. Simone Perry had left her “clearly much loved” baby alone, in the bath seat in 13 centimetres of water for 4 minutes whilst she stepped out of the bathroom to take a phone call. During the trial, the court heard that Perry, upon finding her son immediately called the emergency services, began CPR, and admitted to the attending ambulance crew that she was to blame.

Whilst both Kate and Gerry McCann told police that they checked on the children regularly during the evening, it is likely that their children were left unsupervised for more than 4 minutes at a time.

Despite initially lying about using the phone, Perry admitted that her actions lead to the death of her son, showed remorse from the outset, and there were no other concerns regarding her caregiving.


In May 2007, three-year-old Madeline McCann disappeared whilst on holiday in Portugal. It is widely assumed that she was kidnapped by a person unknown to the family, from their hotel room which she was sleeping in, unsupervised with her two year old twin siblings. Her parents, Kate and Gerry, experienced parents and middle class medics were dining with friends in a restaurant at the time of her disappearance.


Whilst both Kate and Gerry McCann told police that they checked on the children regularly during the evening, it is likely that their children were left unsupervised for more than 4 minutes at a time.

It is important to note that the McCann’s have been subject to baseless accusations in the years post Madalines disappearance, and this blog is in no way intended to case judgement or aspersions. The purpose of this blog is to use the McCann case as a comparison with the Simone Perry case. A comparison I believe provides more evidence that institutionalised, structural racism and classism is still, despite the “findings” of the Sewell report ever present, insidious and divisive.

If racial disparity, inequality and the biases that feed institutional racism are no longer a problem, I wonder why Perry, a young mixed heritage working class mother received a custodial sentence of 22 months for gross negligence manslaughter, yet the McCann’s received an outpouring of public sympathy?

The only trial they faced, was trial by media which subsequently led substantial damages being paid to the McCanns by Express Newspapers for publishing several defamatory articles which were written about them.

The judge in the Perry case stated that Perry had “allowed {yourself} to deliberately be distracted.” As did the McCanns, and yet, they received a very different response to Perry. Both the McCanns and Perry have had to face the unthinkable and will need to live with the knowledge that lapses in judgement and caregiving resulted in tragic consequences. Yet despite this, only one parent is currently in prison.

Were racial biases and classism factors in the way these cases were responded to?

Not if we take the Sewell Report as gospel. Make no mistake, examples of institutionalised racism are evident every-single-day. We have to do better and keep seeking the truth

Nikki Holmes