GOC sets out anti-racism commitment
The regulator has emphasised that it is “committed to being a proactive anti-racist organisation” in a new statement
01 February 2021
The regulator released a statement on Friday (29 January) that laid out its commitment to “being a proactive anti-racist organisation.”
The statement begins by defining racism as per the Collins Dictionary definition, before going on to state that “the General Optical Council will not tolerate racism, prejudice, or any discriminatory behaviour.”
The GOC then acknowledges “that in our past endeavours we have been non-racist but passive in championing equality, diversity and inclusion, and in tackling racism.”
It promises that in the future it will “constantly challenge” itself to develop “understanding and create practices and support structures so that equality and inclusion are built into the foundations of the organisation and the values of its people.”
The statement is part of the GOC’s wider commitment to embed anti-racism and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within its organisation and across its processes.
It was drafted in collaboration with GOC staff and Council, and forms part of the regulator’s EDI strategy, which sits within its five-year ‘Fit for the Future’ strategic plan.
Lesley Longstone, the GOC’s chief executive and registrar, said: “Over the past several months, we have been reflecting on our commitment to anti-racism and EDI and how we can ensure it is embedded in everything we do.
“To continue the conversation and actions being taken, we are setting up an anti-racism group, which will review our structures, processes and practices. There will be opportunities to involve our wider community in these conversations and we hope you will get involved.”
The GOC’s Anti-racism statement in full
“The belief that people of some races are inferior to others, and the behaviour which is the result of this belief. Racism also refers to the aspects of a society which prevent people of some racial groups from having the same privileges and opportunities as people from other races.” – Collins English Dictionary
Racism is dehumanising and touches everyone at all levels of society. The General Optical Council will not tolerate racism, prejudice, or any discriminatory behaviour. Racism and discrimination are against the law. They deny the fundamental human right to live without fear of discrimination based on our innate characteristics.
Members of the General Optical Council and its staff have reflected on our own privileges; we have listened and had open discussions on Black Lives Matter, systemic racism and white privilege. We recognise that in our past endeavours we have been non-racist but passive in championing equality, diversity and inclusion, and in tackling racism.
Going forwards, the General Optical Council is committed to being a proactive anti-racist organisation, where we constantly challenge ourselves to develop our understanding and create practices and support structures so that equality and inclusion are built into the foundations of the organisation and the values of its people.
We cannot dismiss the issues that affect our staff, our registrants and stakeholders. It is our responsibility as an organisation to dismantle institutionalised racism and use our platform to champion, educate and enable change in greater society.
The General Optical Council is listening, learning and improving its own understanding of racism in order to address inequalities. We will identify and eliminate racism by changing our systems, organisational structures, policies and practices, as well as attitudes, so that systemic racism is not perpetuated, and power is redistributed and shared equitably at all levels. We will develop co-produced action plans, so that anti-racism is deeply ingrained in everything we do, from our policies and practices, to the values and culture that we nurture.
We recognise and acknowledge that racism still exists. We hear you; we believe you, and we will use our influence to challenge and change.