Year 10 History and Politics pupils discuss issues around Black Lives Matter, June 2020.
‘Tackling racism in the United Kingdom’ by Ben
Racism is illegal in the United Kingdom. In 1968 the UK Parliament passed the Race Relations Act which prevented discrimination against any person on the grounds of their race. This law has since been repealed and is now covered by the Equality Act of 2010, which includes race as one of eight protected characteristics.
Despite this, we can see that racism is still widespread in the United Kingdom. This is most obvious in football where, recently, fans have had to be banned from attending football games due to the racial abuse of players and stewards. The UK is a very diverse country and has seen many waves of immigration to it. Before the Second World War many Jewish people came to the UK hoping to escape persecution and post-war migration started with arrivals from the Caribbean on the Windrush. Since the 1950s many Indian and Middle Eastern people have also emigrated to the UK. This shows how ethnically diverse the UK is and, considering this, I do not think that racism should be tolerated in any way.
However, only a few days ago Matt Hancock, the Secretary of Health, told the media that UK protests are ‘all in response to events in America’. This shows that the UK government clearly does not understand that not only is racism around in the UK, it has been ignored by the government. We can see this as, after protesters tore down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, the Labour leader Keir Starmer said that it should have been taken down already.
So, what can people do? In America, thousands of people have taken part in protests against the deep-rooted racism that still exists there and in almost every other country. During these mainly peaceful protests there has been rioting and violence, people have been killed and many injured. This has, however, had a huge effect, global awareness has been raised about racism and the officer who murdered George Floyd has been charged with murder.
Although in recent years racism has been declining in the UK, as we have seen from America all it takes is one racist person to end someone’s life and spark international outrage. For this reason, I think that we need to challenge the government to take a stronger stance against racism and make the UK into a country in which racism is a thing of the past. I think the only way this will be achieved is with drastic action, as we have seen throughout history. This is how women got the vote and the monarchy was abolished in France and so I believe protests are the only way change will be made.