26 May 2022
‘The Wrong Sort of Black’
C of E Woke Illiberalism
by Lynda Goetz
Calvin Robinson, a right-wing journalist and political commentator, said last year “My race has nothing to do with my politics, nothing to do with my opinions”. He also said on Twitter that “Being mixed race wasn’t an issue for me for the longest time”. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is apparently unacceptable. Not only must he identify as Black, but he should apparently have the ‘correct’ political opinions to go with this skin colour – in other words, he should be supportive of Critical Race Theory, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and in general espouse left-wing, as opposed to right-wing views. He, like black educational consultant, Tony Sewell, is, in his own words, ‘the wrong kind of black’. He, like Mr Sewell, who headed up the commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, does not believe that the UK is an institutionally racist country.
As he told Allison Pearson, the Telegraph columnist, in an interview, “I refuse to say I’m oppressed. The minute I say I’m not a victim, I’m no longer black in their eyes… I’ve got the wrong politics”: so ‘wrong’, indeed, that the Church of England considered him unsuitable to be ordained. Mr Robinson was expecting to be welcomed into the church within a year. Having completed a two-year course at St. Stephen’s House at the University of Oxford, Mr Robinson was due to begin a part-time curacy at St. Albans Church in Holborn where he had worked as assistant curate. Those higher up in the institution had other ideas. After obtaining a Subject Access Report (SAR), Robinson discovered that internal communications between Church bosses had been highlighting his political views. One, whom he had considered a family friend, the Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Rev Rob Wickham, had been drawing attention to Robinson’s views expressed on GB News (where he is a presenter) and on Twitter. Wickham wrote to the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, twice towards the end of 2020 (the second time copying in the Rt Rev Emma Ineson, Bishop to the Archbishop of Canterbury) suggesting, ‘…his ordination should be looked at very closely’. The Bishop of Fulham also put in his ha’p’worth and Mr Robinson wondered how far up the decision was taken. As he pointed out, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has described the Church as ‘deeply institutionally racist’, was ‘part of the conversation’.
This story was revealed as an exclusive originally by the Mail last week. The problem is that Calvin Robinson fails to agree with the view, seemingly adopted wholesale by the Church hierarchy (although probably not by parishioners and clergy at local level – or those that are left anyway*), that the UK and the Church are institutionally racist. He was even informed by the Rt Rev Sarah Mulally that “As a white woman, I can tell you that the Church is institutionally racist”. According to Mr Robinson she did not appear to see the paradox in telling him that the church needs to listen to the lived experiences of ethnic minorities, but then refusing to listen to his lived experience ‘because it didn’t fit with her narrative’.
This attitude is clearly not limited to the Church. It is prevalent in universities, schools, museums, the Civil Service and all sorts of Establishment institutions which have allowed themselves to be held in thrall to a vociferous, vindictive and vicious minority which has no interest whatsoever in anyone’s views bar their own, but it does seem particularly shocking that an institution which is supposed to be inclusive, welcoming, supportive and not divisive, has amongst its higher echelons become so blinded by illiberal anti-free-speech woke beliefs that, in spite of their anti-racism taskforce suggesting quotas to boost the numbers of black and ethnic minority clergy, it cannot find a place for a man of colour because his political views do not echo their own.
A year ago I wrote an article for this magazine entitled The Racism ‘Debate’ – Not allowed. That article was also prompted by the unconventional opinions of a black man, Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate. He too was attacked for a belief that progress has been made in tackling racism. It is a view that the Left do not like and they do not brook dissension. Bishop Mullally, in a meeting with Calvin Robinson earlier this month, insisted the Church’s decision was not about his politics, but because his ‘presence’ on social media and TV ‘is often divisive and brings disunity’. This excuse seems completely disingenuous when the views of the Church hierarchy and the orthodoxies which they support are far more divisive and likely to bring disunity. The emphasis on colour as defining identity is itself causing division. That however is seemingly an unacceptable view, even if you are black, because black/right is not the right sort of black.
* Church attendance in the UK has fallen by 300,000 between 2009 and 2019
tile photo:luis quintero