The UK “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries,” a government report has found.
The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities – which was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – says that issues around race and racism are becoming less important and, in some cases, are not a significant factor in explaining disparities.
It found that children from many ethnic communities do at least as well or substantially better than white pupils in education.
According to the report, the success of much of the UK’s ethnic minority population in education and, to a lesser extent, the economy “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries.”
Commission chair Tony Sewell said there is no evidence of “institutional racism” in Britain, although there is evidence that “overt” prejudice exists.
Mr Sewell said that while there was anecdotal evidence of racism, he denied there was any proof that it was structural.
“No-one denies and no-one is saying racism doesn’t exist,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. We found anecdotal evidence of this. However… evidence of actual institutional racism? No, that wasn’t there, we didn’t find that.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News there remained “a lot of serious inequalities in this country, including amongst ethnic minority communities.” However, he said the findings released so far “does suggest that a good deal of progress has been made in the country over recent decades, particularly in important areas like education and employment.”
The report has been rubbished by race quality organisations and campaigners.
The Runneymede Trust said: “The facts about racism in this country do not lie. No matter how the Commission spins its findings, ultimately it does concede that we certainly do not live in a post-racist society, because the fact are undeniable.
“60% of the first NHS doctors and nurses to die were from our BME communities. For Boris Johnson to look the grieving families of those brave dead in the eye and say there is no evidence of institutional racism in the UK is nothing short of a gross offence. This commission long lost the confidence and the trust of the ethnic minority communities when it appointed Tony Sewell to lead it.”
And the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Institutional racism exists and we need to tackle its root causes – the rest is a distraction… Its (the report) conclusions in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, and when the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities has laid bare racial disparities in stark terms, indicates an exceedingly worrying disconnect from well established and evidenced discourse on equalities and race-relations.
“From healthcare to education and the criminal justice system, institutional racism is, in fact, far more deeply embedded than is acknowledged, including, for example:
- 60% of the first NHS doctors and nurses to die were from minority communities
- 2% of White British households experienced overcrowding compared with 30% of Bangladeshi households
- Muslim men were up to 76% less likely to have a job of any kind compared to white, male British Christians of the same age and with the same qualifications
- Black Caribbean students in England are almost five times more likely to be excluded than their white peers in some local authorities
- Less than 1% of University professors identify as black
- The likelihood of receiving a prison sentence in 2018 for drug offences was 240% higher for defendants from minority communities than their white counterparts
- 48% of all children in custody in 2019 were from minority backgrounds
- 4 stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 black people between April 2018-March 2019