It’s important to understand what we are talking about when we discuss racism in the UK. The google definition of racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” To put that simply, racism is discriminating against someone, judging someone based on their ethnicity/the colour of their skin.
Why are we, a training provider, talking about racism in the UK? It’s so important to start conversations around topics such as racism because many people are under the false pretence that it is not an issue in the UK. We also think it’s important that we don’t leave anyone to assume our view on this topic; we want to make our opinion clear and heard. Here at EMA, you’re judged on attitude and hard work – a person’s appearance will never stop the EMA team from welcoming you into our Hub.
We also think it’s important be aware of the racism in the UK, and by learning and acknowledging it you can actively be unsupportive of it.
Let’s talk about the history of the UK. The recent history – we’ll look no further than the past 50 years. It’s important to know what the UK’s history is with racism to make sure we are continually overcoming it, not just sweeping it under the rug.
Police brutality is a term that has been in the news a lot recently, particularly news from America. When talking about racism within the police force many people make the error of assuming that because you hear a lot about America, the UK does not have the same issues. However, this is not true. It wasn’t until 1984 that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act was put forward which stated that the police must give a reason as to why they are stopping someone. Fast forward 30 years and it’s often reported that people feel they are targeted for stops for no reason other than being black. In 2019 The Guardian reported that “Black people in England and Wales are 40 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched…”, this would be plausible if the majority of the UK’s population’s ethnicity is black, however, according to Statista.com, only 3% of the UK’s population are Black British citizens. Following this data, it’s understandable why many people believe they are stopped because of the colour of their skin. It’s important to be aware of these kind of statistics in the UK to keep away from assuming that racially driven issues with the police is not only in America. The first step to minimizing an issue is being aware of it.
Black History Month was first made a fixture in the UK in October 1987 and has been celebrated during the month of October every year since. These days it isn’t always easy to find time to put aside to do that extra reading, to make sure you can be aware of every issue in the news. But Black History Month is that excuse to put that time aside and learn something new about Black History. The UK wouldn’t be what it is today without the British Empire, but everything about the British Empire needs to be taught. Britain was built on colonialism; in the name of the British Empire hundreds of people were forced from their homes, predominantly across Africa, many were killed. We need to face the realities of the UK’s history as the citizens who live here. It’s not recognised to the necessity it needs to be because the majority of the country is of white ethnicity. Britain is an inclusive country which has been built on the introduction of new cultures, because of this, there are many British citizens who aren’t represented through the history which our education system teaches us. It’s the downplayed issues such as racism that cause a heavy divide within the country. By putting the time aside to do 10 minutes reading into Black History, you’re putting 10 minutes aside to a more peaceful society.
This blog has only covered a few issues that the Black community has faced and still faces in the UK, but you can read so much more. It’s important to educate yourself when you have the time to do so, so you can understand other people’s culture/ learn more about your own culture. On our Instagram we will be creating a highlight which will underline important issues, like racism, and where you can go to read more.