RACISM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT
(21 July 2005)
must all wake up to the changing face of racism and play our part
in building an integrated society, the Commission for Racial Equality
(CRE) announced today. On the publication of its annual report for
2004, Trevor Phillips, CRE Chair, said: "The nature of racism
is changing subtly, but critically. We cannot respond by recycling
the slogans of the '70s and '80s when race was regarded as a black
and white affair. Today, we know that the reality of multi-ethnic,
multi-faith Britain is more complex.
when we talk 'racial equality' and 'disadvantage', we are not necessarily
referring to the needs of young black men. Rather we are speaking
of the stigmatised eastern European asylum seeker; the Iraqi woman
trapped in her own home by stone-throwing yobs; the Gypsies and
Travellers who will live for 12 years less than the rest of us;
and the Muslims unjustly victimised for atrocities committed by
a tiny minority of followers of their faith."
Phillips explained that it's not just the victims who have changed;
the very nature of racism itself has also evolved. He said: "A
recent ICM survey for the CRE shows that blatant discrimination
or gross harassment is not found as frequently as in the past. But
increasingly we are seeing the emergence of some other forms of
racial bias which demand different tools.
need, for example, to tackle what might be called cumulative or
'stealth' racism. By that phrase I mean a series of small, apparently
insignificant decisions, incidents, or encounters, none of which
by themselves could be the subject of court proceedings, but all
of which are to the disadvantage of ethnic minority employees or
continued: "2004 was a busy year, whilst modernising the CRE
and improving our own systems we have been working across all sectors
to tackle discrimination and improve integration.
the private sector front, we launched a much needed guide for small
business - downloaded from our website by 59,000 people last year
alone. We also lobbied Government to get racial equality built into
their spending review process and specific targets have now been
included in the Public Service Agreements of relevant departments
to address inequality in areas like employment and health.
have also worked with partners to secure changes to the Housing
Bill which means that local authorities will have to address the
accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers and then make appropriate
Phillips said that the CRE's key priority for the next three years
is to drive forward integration. He said: "In the coming years,
we will address the issues being played out in the real world. At
a time when progress on equality in some areas is dangerously close
to a standstill; and when our communities are in danger of sleepwalking
into a kind of passive coexistence, we cannot put integration on
hold. It is the answer to those who seek to divide us.
year we awarded £3.8m to local race equality organisations
with a large chunk of this distributed to innovative programmes
aimed at bringing people of all backgrounds together - through activities
like sport or youth camps. We know that this will not guarantee
that young people become friends. But we do believe it will mean
that they need not be strangers, and we think that once they know
each other they are less likely to be enemies.
multi-faith and multi-ethnic tragedy that was the London bombings
has marked our capital city out as the working model for integration
in a modern society. Now we have to decipher the blueprint and share
its principles throughout Britain."
highlights in 2004:
Secured Government commitment to introduce legislation ruling
out religious discrimination in the provision of goods and services
Sparked off a vigorous debate about the future of 'multiculturalism'
Published the first stage of the CRE's formal investigation into
the Police Service in England and Wales
Launched a Race Equality Impact Assessment website to help public
bodies meet this crucial part of the Race Equality Duty
Consulted on the draft new Employment Code of Practice
Launched a three-year strategy for Gypsies and Travellers
Given assurance that the CRE will not join the proposed Commission
for Equality and Human Rights at the outset, remaining independent
In November 2004, the CRE became the first non-departmental public
body to be awarded the Law Society's quality mark for excellence
in the delivery of legal practice, Lexcel.
CRE's annual report can be downloaded from www.cre.gov.uk/annualreport2004
Race Relations Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone
on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.
The Commission for Racial Equality was established under the Act
to work for the elimination of discrimination, the promotion of
equality of opportunity and good race relations generally.
Commission can advise or assist people with cases before courts
and employment tribunals and can conduct its own investigations
when it has grounds to believe discrimination may be taking place.
bodies have a duty to eliminate discrimination in the way they work
and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations.
The Commission is working to help them deliver this duty.