Evidence of Ethnic Inequality 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 complaints. 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 occurred. The 1968 Race Relations Act • 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 of time. The 1976 Race Relations Act • 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. Immigration control • 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 Unemployment • 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 African Caribbeans. • 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. John Rex • Rex believes racism to be based on belief systems. • Rex suggests that people justify their racist beliefs with dubious logic. The hate comes first, then the rationalisation. David Mason • Institutional racism as a term has been used in five different ways: – 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 ethnocentric policies. – Colonial racism where minority groups take on low status work. – Political opportunism where racism policies are seen as popular. Paul Gilroy • Establishing a separate cultural identity is a significant form of resistance to capitalism and to racism in imperial societies. • 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 fashion. • 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 fashionable. John Beynon 1986 • There are eight possible causes of Inner City ethnic rioting: – Unemployment – Deprivation – Racial disadvantage – Racial discrimination – Political exclusion – Powerlessness – 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 achievement. • 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.
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