United Kingdom

NHS bosses tells managers to accept their 'white fragility' over race

The report, No More Tick Boxes, was written by workforce culture consultant Roger Kline, pictured, of Middlesex University

NHS bosses funded a 163-page report on workforce diversity that tells white managers to accept their psychological ‘fragility’ on race.

No More Tick Boxes informs readers that non-white NHS staff are routinely discriminated against because of Britain’s ‘history as an Imperial power’. 

It advises NHS mentors to check their behaviour so that they are not guilty of ‘micro-aggressions’.

And NHS East of England recommends managers read another guide that tells white public sector administrators they only got their jobs ‘because of the colour of your skin’.

NHS chiefs declined to say how much No More Tick Boxes cost, and stood by both guides’ inclusion on a reading list for managers.

No More Tick Boxes was written by workforce culture consultant Roger Kline, who is white. He wrote: ‘There has been much discussion about “White fragility”. It is a term that seeks to capture the defensiveness White people often feel when challenged about racism, especially when it implicates them directly.

‘The term “White fragility” speaks to how little it takes to throw us out of our racial comfort zones, but our reaction is unlikely to be fragile in its impact.

‘White fragility is the flip side of a sense of entitlement developed over many years.’

The idea – coined by a white American woman, former education professor Robin DiAngelo – is controversial. Fellow academics argue that it is a racist stereotype that lumps white people together as ‘oppressors’ who suffer the same psychological flaw, as well as being used to shut down debate.

The guide states that black and minority ethnic (BME) NHS staff suffer because of Britain’s colonial past: ‘Whilst the proportion of White people who are overtly racist is a minority, assumptions about inferiority which undermine the employment and well-being of BME staff are widespread and deeply ingrained through our history as an Imperial power.’

NHS East of England said: ‘The NHS wants to improve recruitment, retention and patient care by ensuring all staff feel valued and supported.’

The guide states that black and minority ethnic (BME) NHS staff suffer because of Britain’s colonial past: ‘Whilst the proportion of White people who are overtly racist is a minority, assumptions about inferiority which undermine the employment and well-being of BME staff are widespread and deeply ingrained through our history as an Imperial power’

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