The meaning of racism and equality

DDU director Alka Sehgal Cuthbert was one of the panelists in this debate, part of the conference ‘Towards the Common Good: Rethinking Race in the 21st Century’, hosted by The Equiano Project, Emmanuel College and King’s College, Cambridge.

How has the meaning of racism and equality changed? Race and anti-racism have moved increasingly centre stage in public life and institutions, even before the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. But today’s anti-racist movement, placing increased emphasis on racial difference, seems to contrast with the universalist character of the 1960s civil rights era.

This change of emphasis is significant, yet it has received little pushback from institutions. What is new and different about today’s anti-racist movement? What, if anything, has contributed to this change? And to what extent can liberal values continue to give meaning to the notion of equality?

The other speakers were:

Sir Trevor Phillips OBE
Businessman; Chair, Index on Censorship

John McWhorter
Professor of Linguistics, Columbia University

The debate was chaired by Samir Shah CBE chief executive and creative director, Juniper

Watch the debate