Institute of Race Relations statement: Racial violence since the death of Stephen Lawrence

by , under Institute of Race Relations

Written by Institute of Race Relations

As the twentieth anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence approaches, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) examines racial violence since his death in 1993.

 Kuvankaappaus 2013-4-19 kello 20.32.09

See original poster here.

In the twenty years since the death of Stephen Lawrence, we can report that 106 people have lost their lives in (known or suspected) racist attacks – five per year on average, that black people are  twenty-eight times more likely than white to be stopped and searched by the police (using Section 60 powers), that in 2009/10 black people were over three times more likely than white to be arrested, that black and those of mixed ethnicity are over twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, that three quarters of 7-year-old Pakistani and Bangladeshi children are living in poverty compared to one in four whites, and that those classifying themselves as ‘Other Black’ are six times more likely than average to be admitted as mental health inpatients.

Yet as a society we are in denial about racism. Because the 1999 Macpherson report (into Lawrence’s death and subsequent policing), for the first time, acknowledged institutional racism and the Race Relations Amendment Act followed in its wake, politicians regard the issue as over, declare our society ‘post-racial’. But the kind of mechanistic, box-ticking equality measures being implemented leave intact the laws which discriminate, the power of the media in fomenting hatred and – the levels of racial violence.

Worse, multiculturalism itself is now held responsible for racial tension; think-tanks redefine ‘the problem’ in terms of individual attitudes, identity and willingness to belong; and local anti-racist structures are being decimated. Said IRR researcher Dr Jon Burnett, ‘The twenty years since the unprovoked murder of Stephen Lawrence reveals not the end of racism, but the fact that it is deeply entrenched and infinitely adaptable. What we fear is that as austerity measures begin to bite and politicians compete over restricting immigration and benefits, the fall-out will inevitably be an increase in racism.’

Ongoing research by the Institute of Race Relations shows that racial violence does not impact on all communities equally. As racism is shaped by factors such as military intervention abroad and the resort to nativism in social policy as austerity measures bite, its nature changes, as does its manifestation in towns and cities undergoing swift demographic change.  At a time of growing anti-foreigner rhetoric, it is newly arrived migrants, asylum seekers and those identified as visibly or culturally different, who are more likely to be the victims of racial attack. And, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, such attacks are running at the rate of 130,000 per year.

Read original statement here.

  1. Klay_immigrant

    I lived in Britain for 12 years and not once was I stopped and searched even though I’m of mixed race (black/white). Do I find that strange? Not really because I don’t hold open hostility towards the police and don’t act suspiciously. It’s all about attitude not race in terms of how you will be treated by the police.

    For example I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, a group of black people shouting abuse at police walking past for no reason. As a result they were stopped and searched. Afterwards that same group complained that they were searched because they were black. In their eyes it had nothing to do with their actions and that’s the main issue. By using race and ethnicity it can be used as a cover for what really happened as will be inevitably attract more attention than their actions and people such as Enrique will jump to conclusions due to their own prejudice.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Klay, we’re all different and our experiences are different. Just because you have not been mistreated by the police doesn’t mean that other have not.

      You cannot generalize but if you look at the story, the vast majority of those killed aren’t white.

    • Mark

      Klay

      It’s all about attitude not race in terms of how you will be treated by the police.

      Klay, you are a racist. I have not read such a racist comment on here for some time, but then you’ve been absent!

  2. Klay_immigrant

    Also 5 people on average a year losing their lives due to racist attacks for a country of 63 millions is extremely low. Ofcourse it’s not perfect as it’s not zero but it not exactly an epidemic where ethnic minorities should fear for their lives.

    Many many more obscure ways that have claimed more lives per year in Britain than racist attacks such as being struck by lightening, dying after falling out of bed, or eating contaminated food. So let’s put things into prospective.

    • Mark

      You are incapable of putting things in perspective. Where did you get the ‘five people a year’ statistic? And since when do you measure the seriousness of racism by HOW MANY PEOPLE GET KILLED? So if people don’t get killed, it cannot be serious.

      You are a joke, Klay. Putting things in perspective involves getting at the real experiences of racism, not your perfect little life and your oh so wise experiences of ‘blacks’ baiting the police, from which you have constructed your entire picture of racism in Britain.

      How can you expect people to take you seriously? Perspective? You are having a larf! Denial, denial, denial…that’s your perspective.

      How dare you accuse Enrique of jumping to false conclusions due to prejudice when you have by your own admission NEVER experienced racism. Enrique has experienced death threats…you haven’t got a clue about the how the world is for other people….lost in your own fucking bubble!

  3. Klay_immigrant

    Mark

    -‘You are incapable of putting things in perspective. Where did you get the ‘five people a year’ statistic?’

    From Enrique’s article above. Shows that you don’t even read articles before replying to people’s comments. Not a great method.

    -‘How dare you accuse Enrique of jumping to false conclusions due to prejudice when you have by your own admission NEVER experienced racism’

    That’s my point. By the very definition that I’m not white you imply that I must have experienced racism at some point of my life. That’s not true in my case and not true for many other ethnic minorities but ofcourse you have taken the role as a spokesman representing views of visible minorites like myself and assuming that racism is widespread.

    You have the audacity to accuse white people who say racism is not a problem that they can’t possibly understand because they are white but then white people who say racism exists are creditable in your eyes even though they are white. That’s a major contradiction.

    • Mark

      Klay

      That’s my point. By the very definition that I’m not white you imply that I must have experienced racism at some point of my life.

      Rubbish. Where have I said that you MUST have experienced racism because you are not white? Nowhere.

      My point was that it is a huge mistake to take ONLY your own experience and to extrapolate from that what the situation is for OTHER people.

      I’m glad you haven’t experienced racism, but that doesn’t qualify you to talk about racism. In fact, in many ways, it disqualifies you if you then interpret that freedom from racism to somehow be the ‘norm’ and everything other people experience as racism is ‘made up’ or ‘deserved’, as you implied with your little story about the ‘blacks’.

      That’s not true in my case and not true for many other ethnic minorities but ofcourse you have taken the role as a spokesman representing views of visible minorites like myself and assuming that racism is widespread.

      You know, many times I have avoided ‘measuring’ racism, and I have heavily criticised methods used by both the police and other posters here to try to measure racism. The issue for me is one of attitudes to racism and racist issues, and this is something that applies in a situation of low or high racism. I spend the vast majority of my time commenting on this site shooting down various false notions about racism.

      Spokesperson? Are you drunk? What have I said on behalf of any ethnic minority? Give me a single quote where I assume to speak on behalf of anybody? You have already made up your mind about the kind of person I am and why I write on this blog, but the sad part is that none of it matches up to reality. In fact, it sounds rather like the accusation you threw at Enrique, that you decide things about me based on your own prejudices against people who write about racism.

      You have the audacity to accuse white people who say racism is not a problem that they can’t possibly understand because they are white but then white people who say racism exists are creditable in your eyes even though they are white. That’s a major contradiction.

      And of course you went looking for contradictions, because there has to be some, doesn’t there?

      Just how far off base are you going to go here Klay? For a start, where have I said that white people who say racism is not a problem cannot possibly understand it BECAUSE THEY ARE WHITE? It is not their skin colour that limits their experience, but the fact that their skin colour has meant that they live a life of privilege, and it is extremely difficult for anyone, of any colour, to see their own privilege. It’s not because they are white that they cannot see racism, it’s because of the privilege they enjoy from being white. That is a very important thing to understand. So stop spouting fucking nonsense, because I’m not going to spend all fucking night taking you back to school.

      Again, the idea that whites who say they understand racism are okay even though they are white is suggesting that somehow their skin colour is what is important here in terms of their understanding. There is NO DIRECT link. It is NOT ABOUT skin colour. It is about whether or not a person of privilege has taken the trouble to understand that privilege and to understand what it might be like to live your life without that privilege. Walking down the street, going to shops, finding a job, these are things that most of us do and we feel relatively safe, and not objects of suspicion. However, for a minority who are stigmatised because of their religion or ethnicity, that freedom and dignity is taken away by the constant focusing on ‘terror’ or ‘crime’ or ‘welfare shopping’ that permeates the public space connecting these things with your ethnicity. When people in shops refuse to serve you, when strangers ask you whether you are an extremist or want to have multiple wives etc., or if people tell you to ‘go home where you belong’, then that safety and sense of inclusion that should be your basic right is taken away. You have lost your ‘privilege’ of being an accepted and valued member of society, able to go about their business without being ‘harrassed’ in this way.

      Now you might not have experienced this, but many many people have. And until the day that you properly acknowledge this harm and give it the name it deserves, i.e. racism, you can just take a running jump, and I really don’t care what ethnicity you are…that does not give you some magic wand to dismiss these topics or people who talk about them or write about them!

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –That’s my point. By the very definition that I’m not white you imply that I must have experienced racism at some point of my life.

      Nobody has implied this and probably that it is a favorite argument of those who play down racism, conservative among others, in our society.

      If you have never experienced racism how can you say what it is and, on top of it, claim that it’s only a minor issue?

  4. Klay_immigrant

    Enrique

    -‘If you have never experienced racism how can you say what it is and, on top of it, claim that it’s only a minor issue?’

    This notion that you have to experience something in order to know what it is, or it’s severity is so completely flawed. There are many examples that can show this.

    I’ve never been raped but I know what rape is and that it causes psycological issues beyond the obvious physical aspect of the crime. The same goes for robberies or other crimes.

    But moving away from crime you can include job descriptions that if your logic was applied would mean that the great majority of professionals in that field would not be suitable as they wouldn’t have direct experience of what their patients/clients have. Psychiatrists, male gynaecologist doctors, fire fighters, bankruptcy managers etc. the list goes on.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I’ve never been raped but I know what rape is and that it causes psycological issues beyond the obvious physical aspect of the crime. The same goes for robberies or other crimes.

      Exaggerating the point, Klay?

      My point is simple: If you are white, maybe also white spiritually, it’s difficult to grasp what racism is.

      You go further: Victims of racism exaggerate because “I haven’t experienced racism.”

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