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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Is britain becoming more racist ?

I certainly think so and new evidence out today would back this up. I myself have noticed a sharp spike in the racist comments i'm hearing about the place with casual comments on other nationalities and races especially eastern europeans at the moment is getting worse and worse. The proportion of Britons who admit to being racially prejudiced has risen since the start of the millennium, raising concerns that growing hostility to immigrants and widespread Islamophobia are setting community relations back 20 years. New data from NatCen’s authoritative British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, obtained by the Guardian, shows that after years of increasing tolerance, the percentage of people who describe themselves as prejudiced against those of other races has risen overall since 2001. The findings come as political leaders struggle to deal with the rise of the UK Independence party, which campaigned on an anti-immigrant, anti-EU platform and has sent shockwaves through the political establishment and put pressure on mainstream parties All we have seen so far is the major political parties reacting with further lurch's to the right with even the labour party conceeding it was wrong on imigration and we let too many in. This does nothing to curtail the UKIP rise and in fact boosts their arguement that we are over crowded and there is not enough jobs or houses to go around which is partially true. In an echo of the voting patterns of Ukip supporters in last week’s European elections, the figures paint a pattern of a nation geographically divided – with London reporting the lowest levels of racial prejudice. Older men in economically deprived areas are most likely to admit to racial prejudice. The data is in stark contrast to other indicators of social change such as attitudes to same-sex relationships and sex before marriage. By those measures, the UK has become a more accepting, liberal country. The shadow justice minister, Sadiq Khan, said the findings should come as a wake-up call. “This is clear evidence that we cannot be complacent about racial prejudice. Where it manifests itself, it blights our society. Those in positions of authority must take their responsibilities seriously. It also falls to us to address the underlying causes.” causes ?? sounds all a bit sinister. The data was taken from the BSA survey carried out by NatCen Social Research and includes exclusive figures from the 2013 survey due to be published next month. It shows a broad decline in the proportion of people who said they were either “very or a little prejudiced” against people of other races – from a high of 38% in 1987 to an all-time low of 25% in 2001. However, in 2002, following the 9/11 attacks in New York and the invasion of Afghanistan, there was a sharp rise in self-reported racial prejudice. Over the next 12 years that upward trend continued to a high of 38% in 2011. The following year it fell to 26% – which experts say could be due to the positive impact of the London Olympics. a little simplistic perhaps but certainly worrying that even official evidence is backing up the idea that we are becoming a more racist, divided country and in fact going backwards in many ways. Omar Khan, acting director of the Runnymede Trust – Britain’s leading independent race equality thinktank – said the data should be noted by all the main parties. “This nails the lie that the problem of racism has been overcome in Britain or that somehow when Jeremy Clarkson said the things he did it is some sort of anomaly that does not tap into a wider problem. “Politicians became too relaxed and thought that all they had to do was let things continue unhindered and that generational change would take over. But this should act as a warning shot to politicians and the public about how we see ourselves.” The BSA survey data shows different levels of prejudice stemming from age, class and gender, with older men in manual jobs most ready to admit to racial prejudice. Dr Grace Lordan, from the London School of Economics, said her own research based on BSA data going back to 1983 showed a clear correlation between recession and the numbers who self-described as prejudiced. Her research found that the group that recorded the biggest rise was white, professional men between the ages of 35 and 64, highly educated and earning a lot of money. Their attitudes may directly affect others as many will have managerial responsibilities. All age groups experienced a spike in their racial prejudice after 2002, but those born since 1980 – generation Y – and the baby boomers born between 1940 and 1959 have seen prejudice levels fall since then. By contrast, people born between 1960 and 79 – generation X – and those born before 1939 increasingly identify as prejudiced. A fascinating picture also emerges in the self-evaluation of men and women. As with almost all indicators of prejudice, this data finds that men are more likely to describe themselves as racially prejudiced than women. However, that gap has closed significantly over the past decade with the number of men admitting prejudice falling from 37% in 2002 to 32% in 2013. Over the same period, the figure for women has risen from 25% to 29%. "We do know that the factors that predict the likelihood of a man or a woman admitting prejudice differ so we should not expect trends over time to be similar,” said Lordan. “For men, the usual socio-economic variables matter more – income, education and being full-time employed. For females the factors that can predict their attitudes are less obvious. We know that females who are in part-time employment are more likely to admit to being prejudiced – perhaps because part-time jobs in the UK have pretty poor conditions.” Party allegiance also appears to have a bearing on racial prejudice. Conservative supporters have consistently been the most likely to describe themselves as prejudiced against people of other races. However, since 2002, when 42% of Tory supporters said they were very or a little prejudiced (compared with 27% for Labour and 24% for Lib Dems), they have been overtaken by the category classified as “other”. This appears to coincide with the rise of the far-right British National party and then Ukip. So what has driven the apparent growth in prejudice? Prof Tariq Modood, from Bristol University, said the findings suggested many people were conflating anti-Muslim sentiment and racial animus. “I don’t think there is any doubt that hostility to Muslims and suspicion of Muslims has increased since 9/11, and that is having a knock-on effect on race and levels of racial prejudice.” Prof Bhikhu Parekh, the Labour peer who in 1998 chaired the groundbreaking Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, said the data revealed a country increasingly ill at ease with itself. “The last few years have been marked by fear of loss of identity,” he said. “There have been new people coming in and new mores. People feel uncomfortable. They lose their bearings. What should they say or do to not be classed as racist? “People have a feeling that we are losing control of our own society in terms of the EU and the liberal establishment and that they are not in charge of their destiny. They feel they can’t do anything about it.” But he also argues that the language around race has changed. “The term racism has undergone a change of meaning. It has lost its moral force. We use it today too freely. After the war if you said someone was racist, you had images of Hitler. A racist was someone who hated people. Now it is applied to someone who might say: ‘I love my people and want to keep others at a distance.'” The BSA survey data shows wide variance in levels of prejudice throughout the UK. In combined figures for 2012-13, 16% of people questioned in inner London admitted to racial prejudice. Outer London and Scotland emerged as the next most tolerant areas, at 26% and 25% respectively. Other regions – including Wales – hovered around the 30% mark. The West Midlands emerged as the place with the highest level of self-reported prejudice at 35% – a difference deemed statistically significant. It echoes the geographical split demonstrated in last week’s elections, when fewer voters in London supported Ukip. In London, one obvious explanation would be the churning population. Those with shallow roots are least likely to mourn change. Tony Travers of the London School of Economics said: “There is a self-defining image of London as a place that celebrates difference. It wasn’t created by Ken Livingstone but he did build upon it – in the same way as New York self-defined itself – and that approach has been carried on by his successor, Boris Johnson.” Travers identifies two migratory tribes in the capital – those who come from abroad and those from other parts of the country. Both choose to live in London and thus buy into the narrative. Strong roots are unnecessary. “The word Londoner is an entirely inclusive concept.” http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/may/27/-sp-racism-on-rise-in-britain

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