Journal

What’s the point of the Race Relations Act if black people are STILL discriminated against?

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61

Fifty years since the act was passed and it’s not clear how far we’ve come

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2015 marked the 50th anniversary of what we now know as a landmark piece of legislation.

It’s called the Race Relations Act 1965, it was the first of its kind, and it addressed two very contentious issues in 1960s Britain: ethnicity and race.

But have race relations matured since this pivotal Act?

With clear showcases of racial tension being demonstrated as recently as this century — particularly in London — it is clear the Act may have fallen short of its long-term aim of nationwide equality.

But what prompted the passing of the Act? And how can we use its background to create a whole new conversation on 21st century racism?

Unknown to many and parallel to the racially-fuelled crises of 1960s America, Britain had an equally contentious episode of prevalent racism. While the southern states of America were experiencing events like the famous Birmingham riots of 1963, us Brits had our own version of events (as Emeli Sande would call it).

The Notting Hill riots of 1958 involved a group of white, working class men nicknamed the ‘Teddy Boys’ attacking West Indian residents in their homes and on the street. They were said to be radicalised by the ‘Keep Britain White’ campaign by the White Defence League — an eerie echo to the rhetoric of UKIP and the BNP, two parties that both boasted similar nationalist sentiments in their election campaigns this century: “Love Britain Vote UKIP/BNP.”

Of the very many who participated in the attacks, less than nine were convicted, thus many argue the police did not handle reports adequately. Yet, thanks to this tragic event, the birth of an event we all know and love was born, the Notting Hill carnival, a celebration of the culture of those who were attacked — a true testament to how a rose can grow in concrete.

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Some say the riot was spurred on by the assault of a Swedish woman, attacked for having a Jamaican husband. Nevertheless this riot, combined with the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 and a medley of other events, stimulated the enactment of the first Race Relations Act in 1965, which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, and ethnic or national origins in public places.

Fast-forward to 2011 and we have the mirroring London riots, of which the precursor was a racially contentious event: the shooting of an unarmed black man.

But behind the madness in the streets, there was a true disgruntlement with the police that actually had a legal basis. If you watched the short documentary series The Met: Policing London, you would have seen how fearful Tottenham police were of the possible backlash they could receive as a result of the inquiry into the lawfulness of this death. The verdict was that — although there was no proof Mark Duggan was in possession of a firearm at the time he was shot — his killing was still lawful. This sent the ominous message that, despite the convention of ‘hands up, don’t shoot’, the police were lawful in shooting this unnamed man dead. Au contraire to the publicity the riots received, the conclusion of this inquiry was not widely broadcast in the media and, luckily for the police, no riot occurred.

The bigger picture was that the riot reflected a significant breakdown in race relations and thus the failure of this Race Relations Act, particularly between blacks and the police. This legislation was extended to outlawing the refusal of housing, employment, or public services under the Race Relations Act 1968.

So why are young black girls still being discriminated against in employment? Why was Simone Powderly told to change her braided hairstyle if she wanted to secure a job selling high-end products? And why was is that Lara Odoffin’s braids were not considered to be a part of the uniform of a company she applied to work for? With arguments heating up about ethnic hairstyling and cultural appropriation, surely the denial of a job based on a hairstyle popular among black people says a lot about the perception of black hairstyling and thus literally goes against the Race Relations Act 1965, 1968, 1976 and the Equality Act 2010, which supersedes and consolidates all of these acts.

An interesting insight into how blacks perceive the police was shown in a recent BBC documentary This is Tottenham.

It focuses on the relationship between Tottenham’s MP, David Lammy, the public services of Haringey, the police and the people. But the interlinking of relationships hit high fever when the topic of a missing person, Ambrose Ball, was brought to Lammy’s attention.

Ambrose went missing in January 2015 after a car crash and his family argued the police had not investigated the disappearance properly due to Ball’s profile. The media was not interested in the disappearance of a middle-aged black man despite the circumstances being suspicious. And after parallel cases of missing persons outside of London who were white and female gained nationwide courage, it was clear that there were biases in publicity and media representation.

When crises are happening and race is a factor, we must consider whether there is a need for more drastic measures to be taken to mitigate how race is being used as a ground for discrimination. From racially aggravated riots to denial of employment based on ethnic hairstyling, we can no longer brush off the topic.

Racial contention exists, and thus I question: though protective laws are in place, to what extent are they in practice? How are they significant? Do we need new ones? The British media must not sensationalise crises across the Atlantic any longer. There are home-grown British issues that require critical attention, one being the disillusionment of the youth with British politics.

Discrimination based on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic and national origin is unlawful and affects us blacks both personally and disproportionately, therefore we must review this to evaluate how far we truly have come.

Korkor Kanor is a student at the University of East Anglia.

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61 Comments

Chris Gayling

I haven’t been offered a training contract. Let me indirectly blame discrimination not my grades or university prestige.

(16)(10)

Anonymous

I don’t like what someone has to say, but am to stupid to argue with it. Let me attack the university see attended because I can’t argue like a grown-up.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Did you even read the article?! Has nothing with race and trying gain a TC!
You guys are boring now!

(9)(2)

Lord Lyle of Stop Black Racism

Because black people are not the only people who are discriminated against on the grounds of race , but racist black people promote the idea that only black people are discriminated against and black people never racially discriminate against others.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Old Etonian

Yeah, it’s not a RG uni at all…

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Inb4 the comments section becomes an absolute cesspit.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

Oh, too late…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Balls out for Harambe

Wants to debate race relations, censors half of the comments/arguments.

Just another day at LC. Leftie cucks.

(9)(0)

Jacob Goyimseller QC

Oi vey! Shut it down!

(1)(0)

Patrick Connelly

I’m a white British person and spent 35 years in various sales and marketing roles. I had a large number of blue chip food manufacturers as clients and I am amazed that I did not meet any black professionals working in middle or senior management roles.

Where do all the young management and business graduates go to start their careers? Maybe they’re not aware that the food manufacturing industry is major employer of graduates or are they not being given an opportunity?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Wtf are you on about?

(6)(0)

Lord Pickytockybankdetails

This is food for thought.

(6)(0)

Stallone

Cool story brah, changed my loyf.

(2)(1)

Mallone

Cool repetitive comment brah, changed my loyf. Again.

(0)(0)

Stallonesque

Not repetitive. I alternate between “bruh”, “brah”, “loife” and “loyfe”.

(2)(0)

Lord Pickytockybankdetails

I hear Irwin Mitchell will ‘ave ’em.

(1)(1)

IM equity partnah

Oh we’ll ‘ave ’em, it’ll change ‘er loyfe.

(2)(0)

Wannabe lawyer

When will you raise London NQ rates to £80k?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Kinda a pointless premise.

What’s the point of having a law if some people still break it? Well that’s surely obvious; the point is that less people carry out the act which the respective law makes illegal, even if some still do.

(10)(0)

Lord Lyle of Stop Black Racism

Then there was Martha Osamor (a Nigerian ‘activist’) who sued Lord Derry Irvine for indirect discrimination as he simply appointed his best mate as his chief advisor rather than advertise the post. The court held that it was indirect discrimination , but not against Martha Osamor as she had no prospect of becoming advisor to the Lord Chancellor. (No qualifications you see)

(4)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(1)

Glory Powershower

No need to be mean mate.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Jesus Christ, I don’t even need to see faces to know how white and privileged LC’s comment section is.

(6)(9)

Old Etonian

I know right, it’s so, so awful. Such privilege, goodness me.

Gimme a minute while I go and get the world’s smallest violin to play for you.

(7)(0)

Lord Cohen of Talmud

Because no BAME person could possibly disagree with this article. Oh wait a minute, they could. I do you racist twit.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I wasn’t providing an opinion on the article. You inferred that. I actually think that for the most part, discrimination (at least, conscious discrimination) is a marginal issue these days.

The less said about subconscious discrimination the better, because there’s no real way of stopping that, besides replacing every authority with a computer, incapable of distinguishing between ethnicities.

But anyway, back to my original point, I was just making a general observation that you’re all white and posh sounding, lol

(1)(1)

Tunde

Stfu wasteman

(3)(0)

Lord Cohen of Talmud

So you are saying someone must be a certain race because of what they say abd what opinions they hold. Like I said. Racist twit

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Lol you might as well be white

(0)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

BAME!

🎼 I wanna live for-ever!!!🎤

(4)(0)

Lord Lyle of Stop Black Racism

I concurr with Patrick Connolly. One of my first racial discrimination cases was against a well known cinema chain. The client pinched the staff list.

What a slam dunk! All the lower staff were ethic minorities and all the management were white. The cinema settled in damages to the client with a glowing reference for her future employer. That was a fun case.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What is the point in the Theft Act? People still steal…

(15)(0)

Not Amused

The idea that Britain had an “equally contentious episode of prevalent racism” is simply wrong. It is an attempt to re-write history and retrospectively import another country’s behaviour. It is an attempt to blame white British people for the bad behaviours of white American people. It is, in my view, a racist idea designed to inflame racial tension.

(8)(1)

Tell-It-As-It-Is

Yes you’re right-it is an attempt to ignore the fact that Britain has even greater institutional racism than the United States where at least affirmative action provides some relief for ethnic minorities and there has been a genuine attempt to correct the wrongs of the past.

Britain is no better than America historically; Britain kept its dirty laundry of slavery in the Caribbean, concentration camps in the Boer War, mistreatment of the Irish, and colonialism in Africa and Asia away from ‘home’ but still carried out these atrocities. Not all was bad-true, colonialism brought a common law system and some form of a British interpretation of rule of law in some places but still it leaves a rather bad taste in the mouth.

Blacks who settled here and upheld the NHS in the 1950s and 1960s were told ‘No Blacks, NO Dogs, No Irish’ upon arrival; it was not too long ago that ‘No Black in the Union Jack’ was sang by the National Front and race riots occurred in this country-a country where blacks and Asians were killed in attacks.

This all considering anything Britain can claim that made it ‘great’ from the 17th to 20th centuries came off the back of the African slave trade and also the ‘Jewels of the Empire’-although India is often referred to by this term (singularly) it should be applied to all the places that Britain established a colony or settlement.

Notice how post Empire, Britain became diminished i.e. joining E.U. predecessor after being rejected twice. A significant amount of Britain’s resources derived from the Empire and post-Empire Britain had to face the reality that without these resources, ‘Great’ Britain was just a title.

(3)(10)

Corbynismo

Thanks for this nice tidbit of Marxist wisdom. Blew ma moynd.

(0)(1)

Tell-It-As-It-Is

Telling the truth about Britain’s history makes it Marxist? Nice try mate, you couldn’t be more wrong.

(1)(4)

Not Amused

“Blacks who settled here and upheld the NHS in the 1950s and 1960s were told ‘No Blacks, NO Dogs, No Irish’ upon arrival”

This is one of the most pernicious lies about the past. It is not true. It has been thoroughly de-bunked. Repeating it is again an attempt to spread racial division and cause racial hate. It is racist.

(6)(1)

Tell-It-As-It-Is

I personally know and have interviewed several who saw these signs-were they blind?

As for the importance of black nurses to the NHS, I would not expect you to accept this fact. The contributions of blacks and Asians to this country have long been diminished by ‘True Britishers’

What is in doubt is HOW widespread these signs were but there is little doubt over the fact that this type of discrimination existed. It is why Afro-Caribbeans had to resort to buying houses and formed distinctive communities-they found difficulty renting from racist landlords.

Stop trying to hide Britain’s history of racism. It is equally as bad as the United States if not worse.

(6)(3)

Historian of Counsel

No matey, after the abolition of slavery, the British Empire was officially colour blind.

British subjects of all colours were officially equal before the law. The franchise was often granted on the basis of a property qualification, meaning that a rich black person would have the vote, whereas a poor white would not. Granted, whites tended to be richer than blacks.

Furthermore, there was never any state sanctioned discrimination or segregation, unlike the Deep South of the USA. While Pre-1965, there was nothing to stop private individuals or businesses from discriminating, the state neither encouraged nor mandated the same.

South African apartheid which started AFTER the Second World War led to their expulsion from the Commonwealth.

What’s more, rich BME people had access to things like the top Universities in the days of Empire. E.g. Mahatma Gandhi. Everything was based on wealth and class, not race or ethnicity.

(6)(0)

Tell-It-As-It-Is

Absolutely nonsense. Employment in the colonial strata was determined by colour-although there were several appointments for top positions such as governor, chief medical officer, etc these positions were rarely if ever given to blacks and worse still during the twentieth century these positions were expressly excluded from blacks and Asians.

If you did not know blacks were discriminated against in the military in Britain, in the medical and legal professions in the colonies. FACT.

British universities were open to black but so were American universities-Harvard had black graduates alongside other universities for over a century. UMASS Amherst had a black graduate as early as the 1820s/1830s. So whats your point mate?

Why do you think Mahatma Ghandi supported Indian independence (or came to this position)? It was because of the discrimination he suffered that he came to realise that India needed independence.

Britain has always been based upon race, ethnicity, AND wealth and class. Which makes it even worse than America…

(0)(6)

Anonymous

it’s people like this girl that make the university system a joke, crap uni and screams discrimation at every turn – no one cares about your 72 from a university that shells firsts out like free candy

the premise of the article makes it seem like a five year old wrote it lmao

(4)(4)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The UK is her homeland, narrow minded bigot.

(0)(0)

Tell-It-As-It-Is

Precisely which is why the comment above was totally unnecessary. For those ‘True Britishers’ who think Blacks and Asians are not as British as them, need to remember they , the ‘True Britishers’ arrived here from Saxony, France, etc…

(1)(3)

Gregory Lauder Frost

Yeah yeah — muh nation of immigrants!!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I disagree with the article but that is just racist and ignorant.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Given the unpleasantness immediately after the Brexit vote, it’s obvious discrimination and racism is still a thing. It will always be a thing. Humans are s**tty, s**tty animals.

(1)(0)

Jacob Goyimseller QC

Fuck off – that was the shitlib media blowing isolated incidents out of all proportion!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Wasn’t there a marked rise in hate crimes across the country for the period after the Brexit vote? Hardly isolated.

(0)(0)

Tory Powerhouse

This article is such a pile of horseshit.

Being black/brown won’t get you a footing in the City, sorry. The earlier these deranged lefties realise this, the better.

Now excuse me, I gotta go check in with my stable manager, there’s a polo match I’ve got coming up.

(0)(1)

Rozzer

Yep, that poor chap Mark Duggan, a drug pusher and serial abuser of women, such a delicate flower, how dare they shoot him.

Last time I checked the idiot had a gun on him and got what he deserved.

Why the hell does LC post tripe like this?

(5)(1)

Jacob Goyimseller QC

Oi vey! Blasphemy! Mark Duggan is a left wing saint! He dindu nuffin! So what if he had a gun? With all these evil white racists on the loose he needed it to protect himself! He was a father, dont you know?

(2)(1)

Mammy Duggan

Dissa REESISEM!!!!!!!

(0)(0)

Lord Lyle of the British Army

Gather round boys and girls and listen to the tales of the British Empire:

1. Who has visited the Somme valley cemeteries and not wept? Soldiers from throughout the empire who volunteered to defend us, including the largest volunteer army in the history of mankind – The British Indian Army.

2. Who knows of the American segregation of its troops in WW2 and how Brit white troops joined with American black troops in bar fights in London against racist American white troops.And we whooped the American asses and taught them a lesson. Those who fight with us are comrades, regardless

(0)(2)

Scouser of Counsel

It’s true.

I suggest that commentators track down a little known public information film made in 1943 for US troops called “A Welcome to Britain” teaching visiting GIs about British life and culture.

One scene shows a black man talking to a white woman on a train, and the point is made to the troops that there is no segregation in Britain and that such an interaction is socially acceptable here.

And that was over 70 years ago.

This country isn’t perfect when it comes to race relations, but I think we’re streets ahead of the US!

My late grandmother had black kids in her class at school back in 1920s Liverpool and she remembered a white kid being caned for calling one of them a “n****r”.

(5)(1)

Lord Lyle of Truth

Thank you LC for moderating my post about Dianne Abbot and Lola Ayonrinde. It is televised . You can’t be sued over what is in the public domain scaredy cats.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.