Call for more government action on racial discrimination

Researchers at Edinburgh University have called for more government action to tackle racial prejudice.

They said levels of discrimination against black and ethnic minority (BAME) Scots were persisting.

The Scottish government introduced a Race Equality Framework in 2016 to tackle racial discrimination.

However, a survey published on Wednesday suggested fewer people from the BAME community believed the current anti-discrimination laws were working.

The polling company Survation questioned more than 500 members of the BAME community on their experiences since the last survey was conducted in 2017.

More than a third (34%) of those questioned said they had experienced discrimination in the past two years.

Of these more than a quarter (27%) felt it was becoming more frequent.

Lead researcher Professor Nasar Meer, of the Edinburgh University’s School of Social and Political Science said: “This survey builds on others in previous years and points to a persistent trend of racial discrimination black and ethnic minority Scots.

“It is encouraging that black and ethnic minority Scots still have faith in Scottish institutions to tackle racism, but this trust has decreased over time.

“Although levels of non-reporting have improved, they still remain high so more targeted support is needed to help overcome this.”

Name calling

Researchers found 49% of those who had experienced discrimination did not report it – down from more than 60% in previous years, which they said suggested a greater willingness to register complaints.

A total of 42% agreed the Scottish government was doing enough to tackle racial discrimination – down from more than 50% in previous surveys.

A similar pattern was true of reported confidence in the laws (60%), which was lower than in previous years.

Instances of discrimination included;

  • name calling
  • the use of inappropriate language
  • incidents on public transport
  • and prejudice in the workplace.

Of those who had experienced discrimination at work, 25% said it had happened when applying for a job, 18% said it had affected their promotion chances and a further 18% their attempts to seek equal pay.

A Scottish government spokesperson said racism and discrimination have no place in Scotland and it was continuing to take decisive action, including a campaign with Police Scotland to tackle hate crime, explicitly targeting racists.

The statement added: “In addition to our Race Equality Framework, which sets out our long-term goals, our Race Equality Action Plan outlines more than 120 actions we are taking over the course of this Parliament to secure better outcomes for minority ethnic communities in Scotland.”

Written by: Reevel Alderson

First published 03.10.19:

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