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Racial injustice is real – and we will keep fighting it

April 4, 2021 10:35 PM
By Wera Hobhouse
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

As the Black Lives Matter protests highlighted so powerfully, too many people's lives both in the UK and across the world are blighted by discrimination, inequality and injustice. It is unacceptable.

There is still so much to do to tackle racial injustice in our country.

Black and Asian children are more than twice as likely to grow up in persistent poverty as White children. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller, Black Caribbean and mixed-race children are significantly more likely to be excluded from school than other pupils.

More than 200 people are the victims of racially-motivated hate crimes every single day. Speak to anyone who is Black, Asian, Jewish or mixed-race, and you'll find out how prevalent these experiences are among ethnic minority communities.

These have been fueled by Brexit, and by a Prime Minister who has yet to apologise for calling Black Africans "p**********" and calling Muslim women "letterboxes"

A Black person convicted of a crime is more likely to be sentenced to prison than a White person of the same age. Black and mixed-race people make up 18% of the prison population, despite being less than 6% of the general population.

Powerful parts of British society are still disproportionately dominated by White people. 59% of FTSE 350 corporate boards are all-White, as is the Supreme Court. Not a single one of the 138 High Court and Court of Appeal judges is Black.

To make matters worse, the Covid pandemic has disproportionately impacted ethnic minority communities. They are at higher risk if they contract the virus. They are more likely to work on the frontlines in the NHS or social care, so are more likely to contract it. And they are more likely to be on zero-hour contracts or have been made unemployed during the crisis, exacerbating existing economic inequalities.

Conservative Ministers must not use this report as an excuse to continue their shameful inaction on these issues.

They should start by abolishing their discriminatory Hostile Environment immigration policies, ending the disproportionate use of Stop and Search, and developing a proper Race Equality Strategy.

And they must implement the recommendations of previous reports without further delay, including: the Lammy Review on the criminal justice system, the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on immigration and the Home Office, the McGregor-Smith Review on race in the workplace, and the Angiolini Review on deaths in custody.

The Liberal Democrats will continue the urgent fight to tackle all forms of racial injustice and inequality throughout our society.

Everyone should have the chance to get on in life, free from discrimination and with their rights and dignity respected.