Evidence of Ethnic
An overview of writing on
ethnicity and inequality
Facts about ‘race’
• 7.1% of the population belongs to an ethnic minority
• Most of these people live in urban areas
• The ethnic minority population is growing faster than the
whole society because they are generally younger in age.
• The largest single group of ethnic minority people are
Indians, followed by Pakistani and then Black Caribbeans.
• Most of those who consider themselves to belong to an
ethnic minority community are in fact, British because they
were born in Britain.
• They are claimed to have ‘hybrid culture’ which is a mix of
their home culture and British culture.
1965 Race Relations Act
• This banned discrimination on the grounds of race, colour
or ethnic or national origin in public places.
• It made it illegal to incite racial hatred in writing.
• It set up the Race Relations Board to respond to
These laws were clearly ineffective:
– Racism is not illegal in private and racism still occurs.
– The onus is on the victim to prove that racism
The 1968 Race Relations
• This extended the previous Act to include: employment,
housing and the provision of services.
• There was very little discrimination ever proved, few cases
were won, and most were related to advertising!
• The Police were exempt from this Act and investigated
themselves in cases of complaints.
• It was generally seen as an expensive and toothless waste
The 1976 Race Relations
• This introduced the idea of indirect discrimination which
mean that employers could not set up ‘blinds’ to cover
blatantly racist policies.
• It set up the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). See
their Website at <www.cre.gov.uk>.
• There are limited resources and few prosecutions. It is
difficult to prove that people are motivated by racism.
• Race relations legislation is controversial and generally
not especially helpful except in changing attitudes.
• Many writers claim that immigration controls have been
used unfairly to discriminate against non-white immigrants
whereas those from Australia and European countries
have been accepted into the UK without control.
• In 1993 the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act was
actually designed to limit immigration and reduce the
number of asylum seekers.
• It acted to remove the right of appeal against the decision
to deport people.
• Asylum seekers also lost their right to housing.
• There were a number of incidents which embarrassed the
government over the implementation of the laws.
The Cantle Report
• Race riots occurred in British cities in 2001.
• The main rioting was in the North and associated with
Asian communities in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley.
• The Cantle Report was produced in December in that year.
• It claims that there is racial segregation between the
communities and increasing distance between the groups.
• It argues for increased integration between groups.
• The Home Secretary, David Blunkett suggested:
– Immigrants should learn English
– They should take a loyalty oath to the UK
• Official figures for January 2001 show that unemployment
rates for ethnic minority men is twice that for white men.
• The ethnic minority groups which are most likely to be
unemployed are Black Caribbeans and Black Africans at
nearly four times the average rate.
• The group least likely to suffer unemployment is Indian
men. Possibly because these are likely to be middle class
in terms of education.
• The trends are exaggerated in the case of women.
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are unemployed at a rate of
23.9% which is five times the average for all women.
Crime and Criminality
• Black males are more likely to go to prison than all males.
• This does not apply to all ethnic minorities – but it does to
• Only 0.3 judges come from ethnic minority backgrounds
and 0.1% of senior barristers are black.
• The rates of execution in the USA for non-white people are
twice what could be expected from their rates of
representation in the community.
Black crime and sociology
• Demography – blacks are younger in age distribution than
the general population and rates of crime are also much
higher than among young people.
• Racism – the police are racist. This is supported by the
Scarman Report and the McPherson Report into the
Stephen Lawrence case.
• Resistance to imperialism – criminality is a form of
resistance and a political stance. This is a Marxist view
and the evidence to support it is poor.
• Marginalisation – Black people are marginal to mainstream
society and cannot achieve their aspirations to wealth via
the normal channels because of the racism of society.
They turn, therefore, to crime.
Michael E Brown
• There are three types of ethnic conflict:
– Systemic conflict occurs when groups live close to one
another. Groups may launch attacks to gain advantage.
– Domestic conflict relates to groups who feel
vulnerable and they attempt to break away from the
more powerful people who will submerge their culture.
– Perceptual explanations relate to how groups are
trained to relate to each other.
• Rex believes racism to be based on belief
• Rex suggests that people justify their racist
beliefs with dubious logic. The hate comes first,
then the rationalisation.
• Institutional racism as a term has been used in five
– Conspiracy where people are seen to deliberately set
out to discriminate.
– Structural Marxist where the racism is a consequence
of state policy.
– Unintended racism results from badly designed or
– Colonial racism where minority groups take on low
– Political opportunism where racism policies are seen
• Establishing a separate cultural identity is a significant
form of resistance to capitalism and to racism in imperial
• This was once done by African Caribbeans through dance,
music, art and sport.
• However, in post modern society, many people are
adapting and adopting black cultural styles as a form of
• It offers people a variable identity but disenfranchises
black people from ownership of their own culture – hence
the drive to keep developing new styles that black people
can own as their styles become adopted by the
John Beynon 1986
• There are eight possible causes of Inner City ethnic rioting:
– Racial disadvantage
– Racial discrimination
– Political exclusion
– Distrust of police
– Hostility to police
It is these which cause race rioting in cities, though often a
single event may trigger the actual riot.
Heidi Safia Mirza
• Black women experience inequalities of gender and race.
• Females work hard in school and have values of
• This is because families are matriarchal and girls accept
that they will be primary carers for their children.
• Black girls are very high achievers but books on ethnicity
do not acknowledge that male and female patterns of
achievement are different.