Racism: Is The UK Just As Guilty As The US?

Racial injustice has been around since before the slave trade in the 15th century and has recently started a wave of protests all over the world.

Racism is quite prevalent in America where viral clips are spread to other countries for us all to see. There have been too many of these clips and stories shared, one of which happened this year which hit the hearts of many. This was the story of George Floyd.

George Floyd
On 25 May 2020, a clip that shocked many was spread across the internet. This clip contained shocking scenes where an African American Man named George Floyd was being crushed to death under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd could be heard whimpering the now-famous phrase “I can’t breathe” as his life was being maliciously taking away from him by someone who was supposed to be trying to prevent lives from being taken.

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This case is unfortunately not the first case of police brutality or racism in general in America, far from it in fact. With other famous cases including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. However, most cases of racism are never reported or recorded on a phone like George Floyd’s death so the number of racial encounters is massively unnamed and unreported which is horrendous seeing as we see racism in American news quite a lot and to think this hasn’t even reached the surface of how bad it is truly horrific. It may seem as though the UK is nothing like the US due to the lack of viral news and police brutality shown however this is simply not true.

The UK is just as guilty as America, once again it is just not caught or reported as much as we would like. Many BAME receive racial slurs to their face frequently, possibly every day. It is also said that black Britons are equally as likely to have experienced racism in their workplace as on the street.

Just like in America, many white people in the UK openly use the ‘N’ word whether as a joke, insult, or even when they are singing along to a song. The casual use of a word with so much meaning to a race that has been tormented just because of the colour of their skin is unacceptable.

Racism is engraved in all parts of our systems in society whether is political, educational, or even the criminal justice system.

Systematic racism starts in schools where events like the ruling of the British Empire are taught and glorified even though many people of different races who were not white were punished and killed. And children of BAME are taught about many white important historical figures and yet learn little amounts about their own culture and identity.

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In the UK racism can be seen everywhere yet some members of parliament refuse to acknowledge the UK’s problems, with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, previously stating that ‘The UK is not racist’.

The widespread inequalities in wealth. healthcare. employment and crime are incomprehensible seeing as in cities like London ethnic minorities make up over 40% of the population however they are still treated as minorities and not as British citizens.

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Just like America, we have our famous cases of racism in action with one of which being the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Stephen was a black British teenager from London who was murdered whilst waiting for a bus in a racially motivated attack. It took 18 years for him and his family to get justice and there were official inquiries into the MET for institutional racism.

As much as most of us would like to think that the UK is not as bad as the US in terms of racism, we are in fact just as bad. Systematically we have a huge problem especially when it comes to education and the workplace where kids and adults are losing opportunities based on the colour of their skin which is not right at all. Police brutality is not recorded or reported as much as it is in America however it does not mean it is not happening. Stop and searches have shown the systematic racism engraved into some police officers’ heads after it was reported that between April 2018 to March 2019 there were 4 stop and searches for every 1000 White British People compared with 38 for every 1000 Black people. We need to do better. The UK is not innocent.


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