Anti-Racist Union: Use of Welsh Language Upholds ‘White Supremacy’

Wales
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A Black Lives Matter-inspired review from the Arts Council of Wales has found that the use of the Welsh language is linked to “white supremacist ideology”.

A £51,000 taxpayer-funded review from the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museums Wales found that the use of the Welsh language by itself serves to exclude racial minorities.

The council’s Anti-Racist Union said that the feeling of exclusion emanates from the “the concept of ‘Welshness’ altogether, which often disregards Black and Non-Black People of Colour as the ‘other’ – there is a notion that if you are not white, you cannot be Welsh,” The Telegraph reported.

The Arts Council of Wales report concluded that it is itself “systemically racist” through its use of the Welsh language and that the very concept of Welsh “meant white”.

“Welsh language policies in current applications can exclude Black and non-Black people of colour,” the review stated.

“The continual exclusion and disregard for black and non-black communities is not due to willful ignorance; it is due to a calculated and repetitive pattern,” the report added.

Responding to the review, the chairman of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George and the president of the National Museums of Wales, Roger Lewis said in a joint statement: “It is not acceptable that access to publicly funded culture is so unequally distributed.

“It is our responsibility to ensure everybody can experience culture in the way they choose – in-person or digitally, in museums and other venues, or in their communities.

“At the same time, we had to face some difficult and important truths in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and to reflect on our role in tackling racism.”

Wales, one of the Home Nations of the United Kingdom, is officially a bilingual nation, using both English and the ancient Celtic language of Welsh as its two languages.

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 states that all public bodies must treat both English and Welsh with equal prominence.

The Arts Council of Wales’ employment policy states that the “Welsh language skills of all staff are assessed annually through self-assessment”.

The National Museums of Wales makes the determination on an individual basis if Welsh language proficiency is deemed “essential” for a position.

The Arts Council of Wales website even admits on its website: “We are a bilingual nation – legally, socially, culturally and as individuals and communities. Nothing makes Wales more distinctive than the Welsh language.”

“We’re committed to developing and promoting the arts in and through the medium of Welsh,” the council added.

The Anti-Racist Union said that public bodies in Wales should ease “the emphasis on having to speak Welsh, and providing opportunities to learn on the job.”

It suggested that they could employ “job sharing in roles that may require Welsh language proficiency, where a black or non-black person of colour who doesn’t speak Welsh can work alongside a Welsh speaker.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has seen numerous institutions, including historical bodies and universities, launch assaults on Britain’s heritage across the Home Nations over the past year.

In February of this year, for example, Scotland’s oldest museum announced that it would be creating the position of “Curator of Discomfort” to confront the supposed white supremacy inherent within itself and the rest of Scotland.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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