Violence spreading into new areas
1st July 2010: Racism continues in the UK. A research has revealed dangerously high levels of racial violence in the UK – a violence which is spreading into new areas.
On an average, five people a year in the UK have lost their lives to racial violence since the murder of a black youth, Stephen Lawrence, in 1993- a total of eight-nine victims in seventeen years.
For reaching the conclusions, the report — Racial Violence: The Buried Issue — looked into 660 cases of racial attacks in Britain in 2009. The report was released this week by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) — London-based think tank on the struggle for racial justice in the UK, Europe and around the world.
Some other key findings are: Eighty-nine people have lost their lives in attacks with a racial element since the murder of Lawrence in 1993. And the victims of attacks are overwhelmingly Asian (45 per cent), Black (18 per cent), and migrant workers (10 per cent).
The IRR says: As mainstream parties compete as to which can reduce immigration fastest – ostensibly to defuse community fears – no one asks who actually bears the immediate fall-out of such tensions – Black and Minority Ethnic, asylum-seeker/refugee and migrant communities.
As far as the authorities are concerned the Macpherson inquiry, set up in the wake of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, has dealt with racial violence. It no longer exists, it is no longer a problem issue.
Analysis of 660 racial attacks in 2009 reveals that certain groups of people are particularly at risk: ‘dispersed’ asylum seekers, newly-arrived migrant workers, those who look Muslim and/or work in isolating trades such as taxi-cabbing, food take-aways, small shops and eateries.
The map of violence has changed quite dramatically since studies were first done a generation ago, when primarily areas like Southall, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham witnessed the most racial attacks and racist murders.
Such areas are now, in part through struggles against racism, more ‘at ease’ with their diversity. Today racial violence is on the rise in towns, cities and villages which are only now beginning to change demographically – with the arrival of asylum seekers, migrant workers, overseas students, and the natural movement of settled BME families from the larger conurbations.
According to the report’s authors: ‘The governments’ line that community tension is based solely on new immigration to the UK is partial and opportunistic. The UK is now witnessing an ever-expanding mosaic of different racisms based on different local conditions.
`And politicians themselves are responsible, through their neglect of poor disadvantaged areas, policies including the demonisation of certain groups and rhetoric around the war on terror, for creating, particularly in areas where competition over scarce resources is keenest, a climate in which racial violence will flourish. The drastic economic cuts of the new government can only make things worse.’