Racism and ethnic discrimination in the UK seminar discussion.Watch
Basically, my premise is that although I absolutely accept that racism exists as a form of prejudice in this country, it exists on an inter-personal level and not as a social construct. The thing is, I am sure that some statistics are going to be thrown around depicting the fact that black-British are statistically less likely to get into university, more likely to be from a single-parent home, earn less and occupy less top-tier jobs than their white counterparts...but in my opinion all of these statistics are a correlate, in that ethnicity is not the defining factor. The majority of the black population occupy the lower income bands, they are working class, and many of the statistics used to infer inequality are applicable to that entire social strata (working class, lower working class). I myself am from the lower working class and I think that many of the issues bought up in the racial divide debate exist in white communities too. Crime, drug use, unemployment, low educational attainment and generally bleak life prospects from birth. I think we as a society focus so heavily on ethnicity and gender as factors of social division that we ignore the biggest factor. The most important factor in determining life expectancy, earnings, job prospects, educational attainment, crime and dependency, is economic class. I know personally white people who grew up in a single parent, low income home in a poor area, around drug use etc, and they grew up to be unemployed stoner 'chavs', yet I also know personally (friend of a friend) a black guy from a married, middle class family who was afforded opportunities and last I heard one of the brothers was a finance broker in London and the other also has a very reputable job and drives a brand new Audi. I don't think race determines opportunity and prospects as much as the economic band you are born into.
In the US, and arguably some other countries, I think that race is cause for much bigger divide, in that racism is deeper rooted in their society based on historical conceptions. The majority descend from slavery and their low socio-economic status and diversity issues stem from that, whereas in the UK the vast majority of ethnic minorities immigrated through choice to seek better life prospects, escape political turmoil etc, its such a different scenario.
As I said, I'm not in any way denying the existence of racism in this country, of course it unfortunately exists, but I think it is on an inter-personal level. There are some absolute idiots out there who portray outdated racist attitudes, but they are the minority and are ridiculed by most. We are not perfect but I think we are better than most countries, I look around my campus and my city and I see that, in general most are colourblind. I don't see ethnicity as a person defining trait any more so than eye colour and I think the majority of young people are the same.
I've said a lot, and as I said I am just debating whether to bring these points up or keep my mouth shut. I would love to hear others views, and any arguments against my points, peoples experiences with racism etc, because these are just my own perceptions but maybe I am missing out on the bigger picture in some way.
Only 1/20 working class white boys goes to university mainly because of bad schools for working class black boys 1/3 mainly because they grow up in city such as London and attend good or excellent schools.