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BME groups ‘disappointed’ after Ipswich MP criticises ‘patronising’ unconscious bias training

PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 29 September 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was one of a number of MPs who said they would refuse to take part in the unconscious bias training if it were offered to parliament. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was one of a number of MPs who said they would refuse to take part in the unconscious bias training if it were offered to parliament. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Black and ethnic minority groups have expressed their disappointment after Ipswich MP Tom Hunt branded unconscious bias training as “patronising”.

Funmi Akinriboya is the founder of the BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG) which provides support for black and minority ethnic families and individuals in north-west Ipswich and surrounding areas. Picture: BSSGFunmi Akinriboya is the founder of the BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG) which provides support for black and minority ethnic families and individuals in north-west Ipswich and surrounding areas. Picture: BSSG

The Conservative MP elected to parliament in the 2019 election, said he would “refuse to participate in the use hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to appease an agenda which presumes the worst in people and patronises them”.

Mr Hunt has added: “I don’t subscribe to the notion that we’re all riddled with unconscious biases and need to have them ‘trained’ out of us.”

He joins a number of other Conservative MPs who have decided to refuse the training if it is offered.

However Funmi Akinriboya, founder of the BME Suffolk Support Group, said: “There are so many things we do which are unintentionally biased and if we want to talk about diversity, we need to look at ourselves to examine our own prejudice, humble ourselves for real change to take place.

Funmi Akinriboya is the founder of the BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG) which provides support for black and minority ethnic families and individuals in North-West Ipswich and surrounding areas. Picture: BSSGFunmi Akinriboya is the founder of the BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG) which provides support for black and minority ethnic families and individuals in North-West Ipswich and surrounding areas. Picture: BSSG

“If this identifies areas which our MPs or councillors need to work on to make the county a better place for all communities then why not, why wouldn’t you take it?

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“It would open his eyes and it is not the case of being treated like children, that is not what he should be focusing on.”

MORE: Ipswich MP Tom Hunt hits out at unconscious bias training

A spokesperson for the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) added: “We do not understand why anyone would have a problem with having unconscious bias training.

“There are many good people out there who inadvertently get it wrong and the training equips us with tools to check our blind spots when it comes to our implicit biases.

“Such training can only enrich you with better appreciation of our diverse perspectives which results in social coherence and well-being of our communities.

“We actively encourage everyone, our leaders especially, to undertake such training.”

Mr Hunt said he was disappointed with the response but added: “Of course racism and other forms of prejudice still exist in this country and we must stamp them out at every opportunity.”


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