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UK Report on Race Relations Stresses Progress and Cultural Differences, Met with Pushback

Leon Neal/Pool via AP

The UK is a “relatively open society” that is “no longer” widely influenced by structural racism, concluded an internal report on the race relations of the former empire.


Released in full on Wednesday, the 258-page report was conducted by the UK Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and sought “to look at the underlying causes of disparities to better understand why they have come about.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report’s findings have been met with criticism by many, both across the pond and in the U.S. 

The report concludes, “Outright racism still exists in the UK… but…The country has come a long way in 50 years and the success of much of the ethnic minority population in education and, to a lesser extent, the economy, should be regarded as a model for other White-majority countries.”

It goes on to say, “our experience of ethnic minority Britain from the inside makes it obvious to us that different groups are distinguished in part by their different cultural patterns and expectations, after all that is what multiculturalism was supposed to be about. It is hardly shocking to suggest that some of those traditions can help individuals succeed more than others.”

The study, commissioned by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, introduced 24 recommendations under the general categories of building trust, promoting fairness, creating agency and achieving inclusivity. But ultimately, citing the countries progress, the report stated “a degree of optimism is justified.”

In a statement responding to the report’s somewhat “optimistic” outlook, the institute of Race Relations, a six decade-old European research and publication outlet, criticized the findings, saying in part, “While much is made of the differences between communities, primarily in educational attainment and elite employment, we can see no attempt here to address the common ethnic minority experience of structural racism within areas such as the criminal justice system.”


The institute continues, “We would further anticipate that future government research on inequality will be framed by issues of ‘ethnic disadvantage’, with differences in ethnic outcomes attributed to cultural and genetic factors, rather than the discriminatory hand of state institutions.”

According to the BBC, the main conclusions from the study are as follows. 

  • Children from ethnic communities did as well or better than white pupils in compulsory education, with black Caribbean pupils the only group to perform less well
  • This success in education has "transformed British society over the last 50 years into one offering far greater opportunities for all"
  • The pay gap between all ethnic minorities and the white majority population had shrunk to 2.3% overall and was barely significant for employees under 30
  • Diversity has increased in professions such as law and medicine
  • But some communities continue to be "haunted" by historic racism, which is creating "deep mistrust" and could be a barrier to success

Many have taken to Twitter to voice their opinions of the narrative-subverting report. 


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