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Race in the UK. Is there racial equality?. This presentation looks at The demographics of race in the UK and Scotland Racial inequalities Government attempts to create equal opportunities Progress towards racial equality Attitudes towards race. Multicultural UK.

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race in the uk

Race in the UK

Is there racial equality?


This presentation looks at

  • The demographics of race in the UK and Scotland
  • Racial inequalities
  • Government attempts to create equal opportunities
  • Progress towards racial equality
  • Attitudes towards race
multicultural uk
Multicultural UK

Racial composition of England, 2010, ONS

The majority of Britain’s minority ethnic population live in the large cities of England.

multicultural scotland
Multicultural Scotland

Above L-R; Aamer Anwar solicitor (Lawyer, Sheridan trial), The Glasgow Girls, anti deportation campaigners; Agnesa Murselaj, Amal Azzudin and Roza Salih, Humza Yousaf MSP (SNP), Hanzala Malik MSP (LAB).

Scotland has a smaller proportion of BME residents than England; The 2010 Annual Population Survey by the Scottish government and the ONS estimated Scotland's total population stood at 5,149,900, of whom about 82,900 were "Asian or Asian British", 17,000 "Black or Black British", 16,500 were Chinese and 23,000 mixed race, with a further 30,700 "other".

The greatest concentration of the Scottish BME population is in Glasgow and to some extent its suburbs. In recent years East Renfrewshire has seen the largest percentage growth in BME population as residents move to the outer southern Glasgow suburbs.

race is not just defined by colour
Race is not just defined by colour

White people can be racist towards each other!

There is a long history of anti-Irish racism in the UK. More recently there have been cases of anti-English racism in Scotland and racist attacks against eastern European immigrants.

Under the Equality Act (2010), racial discrimination arises when a person or group is treated less favourably than another in similar circumstances 'on racial grounds'. These are defined as colour, race nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origins.

Discrimination might be on the grounds that a person was black (colour), Chinese (ethnic or national origins rather than nationality if the person came from Malaysia), or Pakistani (nationality), and it includes discrimination against white people (grounds of colour), or against Europeans of particular nationalities (for example, Irish, English, Polish).


Racial tensions, in general have increased since the 9/11 attacks on America. The 7/7 bombings in London and the Glasgow airport attack have also heightened tensions.


race crime
Race crime

Race crime is defined as any charge of racially aggravated

harassment and behaviour in terms of Section 50A of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 or Section 18, 19 or 23(1)a of the Public Order Act 1980 or any racial aggravation in terms of Section 96 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

In the year 2011 - 2012, the Scottish Procurator Fiscal Office received reports of 4,518 charges relating to race crime, 8% more than in 2010-11. This is the highest number reported in the last six years.

Court proceedings were taken by the Procurator Fiscal in relation to 81% of the total charges.

These figures do not, of course represent the actual levels of racist crime in Scotland as often racist behaviour is not reported.

racial harassment the bnp
Racial Harassment: The BNP

At the European Elections of June 2009, the racist British National Party (BNP) managed to have two MEPs elected.

Many who voted BNP may not have been aware of the party’s history of racial violence and intolerance.

The BNP benefitted from a low turn-out and widespread public displeasure of the major parties in the aftermath of the MPs expenses scandals.

Recession, unemployment and insecurity are the classic breeding grounds for the Far Right.

The BNP have several local Councillors in England and is becoming increasingly sophisticated in portraying itself as a “normal” political party.

The BNP failed to win representation in either the 2010 UK, 2011 Scottish parliament or 2012 local elections.

Not in My Name



Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was judged to have used racist language towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. He was banned by the FA for 8 matches.

Chelsea captain John Terry appeared in court charged with racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry was found not guilty.

institutional racism the met

Institutional racism remains a problem. The term came into the public domain after the botched investigation by the Metropolitan Police into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The force accepted it was institutionally racist.

Institutional Racism: The Met

“the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.

It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people”.

McPherson report

stephen l awrence re trial
Stephen Lawrence Re-Trial

In December 2011, Gary Dobson, 35, and David Norris, 34, were found guilty of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, some 17 years after the original trial. This was made possible after changes to the “double jeopardy” law, which means a case can now be re-opened if there is “new and compelling evidence”.


continued racial problems at the met
Continued racial problems at the met

2012 Met race allegations

The Metropolitan Police continues to be dogged by accusations of racism. In 2012 there were several allegations of racial abuse and a number of police officers have been suspended.

There have been 51 complaints of racism in 2012 alone. London Mayor, Boris Johnson admits that “there is much still to do.”

government action race relations acts
Government Action: Race Relations Acts

Overt racial discrimination (i.e. name calling, bullying, refusal of jobs) has been illegal since the Race Relations Act of 1976.

This law makes it illegal to discriminate in jobs, housing and public services, on the basis of a person’s ethnic background, although amazingly the police service was, at the time, omitted from this Act.

The Race Relations Act was incorporated into the new Equalities Act (October 2010)

The Scottish Government has also launched a variety of anti-racist campaigns and supported the Show Racism the Red Card initiative.



The Equality Act replaces the Race Relations and other racial equal opportunities acts:

Race is a “protected characteristic.”

Discrimination; when "someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic” remains very illegal.

Understanding the 2010 Equality Act



Introduces “positive action”. This means that employers can now favour under-represented groups – provided the candidates are of equal suitability – to increase the diversity of their workforces.



The EHRC replaced the old Commission for Racial Equality in 2008.

It’s job is to support the implementation of the Equality Act. It seeks to promote good race relations and offer legal advice to organisations and individuals.


Trevor Phillips, chair of EHRC

the muslim women power list

The EHRC publishes the Muslim Women Power List in order to challenge some of the stereotypes about Muslim women, and to highlight the fact that they share the ambitions and challenges of all working women: to succeed at a good job and often to combine marriage and motherhood with a fulfilling career.

The muslim women power list

Sayeeda Warsi (Minister without Portfolio at the Cabinet Office and Chair of the Conservative Party was named as the UK’s most powerful Muslim woman.

Muslim women power list 2009

2010 record number of bme mps
2010 Record Number of BME MPs

There are 27 minority ethnic MPs, an increase of 13 from 2005. Helen Grant becomes the first woman of African descent to represent the Conservatives at Westminster.

Shabana Mahmood (LAB), above Left, became the first ever female Muslim MP. Priti Patel, above Right, became the first Conservative Asian female MP.

2010 Record Number of BME MPs

government of scotland
Government of scotland

Scotland now has two BME MSPs. There were many more BME candidates but not in winnable seats. Two more BME MSPs equals only 1.5% of the parliament's 129 MSPs and below the 4% of Scotland's population which is non-white.

Humza Yousaf

Hanzala Malik

Humzaz Yousaf on Afghanistan

local government in scotland 2012
Local Government in Scotland 2012

There are only a few BME councillors; 17 out of 1,223 councillors, or 1.4%.

Shamin Akhtar,


East Lothian

Yen Hongmei Jin, SNP, Dumfries & Galloway

Mohammed Asif, Labour, Dundee

Shabbar Jaffri, SNP, Glasgow

continued inequality the glass door
Continued Inequality: The Glass Door

There is anecdotal evidence from research in England that employers say “my workforce wouldn’t be happy about working for a boss with a hijab”

Rowena Arshad, Director, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland

Many of Scotland’s minority ethnic community workers are employed in low level, poorly paid jobs. Retail and catering are two of the main sectors, often through self employment, (newsagent or grocery store) or being employed by other minority ethnic employers, e.g. working in restaurants.

Some people speak, not of a glass ceiling (gender discrimination) but a “glass door” for minority ethnic men and women. If you don’t see people like you in top level jobs it may become a self fulfilling prophecy.

There are also racial stereotypes, fuelled by Islamophobia, which make employers less likely to employ or promote minority ethnic candidates.

aspiration and frustration
Aspiration and Frustration

A 2010 survey by the charity Business in the Community, “Aspiration and Frustration”, found that despite years of Government legislation, equality of opportunity remained a long way off.

It concluded that :

Some of the best-paid professions such as banking, law, politics and the media were not seen as a realistic option for BMEs.

Those with an historic reputation for racism, such as the police and armed forces, are still seen as unwelcoming to minorities.

The ‘caring’ professions, education and medicine, which have a positive history of BME recruitment are seen as good options but are seen as less well-paid and offering less career progression, particularly education.

The 2009 Race for Opportunity Report showed that BME workers make up 10.3% of the population but only 8.5% of the workforce and just 6.3% of those in management positions.

Room at the top

2012 race for opportunity findings
2012 Race for Opportunity Findings
  • Race for Opportunity’s research found that:
  • In the past 12 months 29% of BAME candidates were offered a job compared to 44% of white candidates when going through recruitment agencies
  • In the past 12 months 57% of BAME applicants were invited to interviews through a recruitment agency, compared to 73% of white candidates
  • In the past 12 months, when applying to directly to employer, outcomes were much more equal, with 29% BAME applicants and 29% white applicants securing jobs


"It was 46 golden minutes when three young Britons showed the watching world just who we are. A ginger bloke from Milton Keynes, a mixed race beauty from Sheffield, an ethnic Somali given shelter on these shores from his war-ravaged homeland. This is what Britain looks like today."

The Sun newspaper istraditionally negative in it’s attitudes towards immigration. Is it reflecting changing attitudes among the public about race?



In 1998, France won the football World Cup on home soil. Their style of play was celebrated.

And so was the multi-racial composition of the team.

They were hailed "black-blanc-beur" (black-white-Arab).

But after the tournament finished and economic problems surfaced, racial tensions returned.



“Many people come to live in Britain. What effect, if any, would you say people born outside the UK who have moved to Britain have had on the following?”