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The prevalence of racial elements in television today

The act was an important step in reducing the prejudice that ethnic minorities faced, which are unimaginable for many of us now. But this was the closest I ever came to encountering far-right racism, and was a long way from the experiences of an earlier generation, who had to navigate attacks as part of their daily life. Racist attacks are still common in the UK today, and increasingbut there has nonetheless been a clear shift in the culture.

Most British boardrooms are all white. Michael Eboda Read more The other area where the Race Relations Act had an impact was in opening up work opportunities that had been routinely denied. Many, including me, are in relatively good positions as a result of its legacy. The 1965 act itself was important in addressing the overt prejudice towards minority communities unlike later amendments, which were essentially empty gestures.

Racism is still alive and well, 50 years after the UK’s Race Relations Act

It outlawed the prejudice of individuals, whether in the street or the boardroom. But policy in the years since the act has confused tackling prejudice with tackling racism, and done nothing to address the latter.

Racism is the systematic oppression of communities based on their colour and can thrive even when open prejudice has declined. If we stopped measuring racism in attitude surveys and legislative change we would realise the real test is to analyse the disadvantages faced by ethnic minority communities. This is a test that Britain is hopelessly failing.

  • Michael Eboda Read more The other area where the Race Relations Act had an impact was in opening up work opportunities that had been routinely denied;
  • During the booming postwar era, a period of optimism and prosperity, the traditional nuclear family flourished;
  • Pre-dating MTV by a year, BET initially focused on Black-oriented music videos but soon diversified into original urban-oriented programs and public affairs shows;
  • Throughout its 7-year run, Maude tackled social and political issues such as abortion, menopause, birth control, alcoholism, and depression;
  • Ethnic minority groups are significantly more likely to have a long-term limiting illness or diabetes ; and minority men are also significantly more likely to have prostate cancer;
  • None of the 1960s sitcoms mentioned any of the political unease that was taking place in the outside world, providing audiences with a welcome diversion from real life.

In his 2008 book, Racism and EducationProfessor David Gillborn asks whether the racial inequalities that continue to plague Britain are a racist conspiracy or an unfortunate coincidence. If we examine any area of life we will see significant racial inequalities. For instance, the unemployment rate for all ethnic minorities is 11. This gets worse when we break the number down further, with black people almost three times as likely to be unemployed 15.

Health is another area of viscous inequality. Ethnic minority groups are significantly more likely to have a long-term limiting illness or diabetes ; and minority men are also significantly more likely to have prostate cancer.

This last statistic intersects with the systematic overrepresentation of black people in the criminal justice system.

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The disproportionate use of stop and search is well documented; it is possible that the DNA of three-quarters of young black men between the ages of 18 and 35 is on the police database and black people are more disproportionately represented in UK prisons than in the US. On the 50th anniversary of the Race Relations Act, not only is racism alive and well, but the nation has actively avoided dealing with the issue.

Focusing on individual prejudice allows people to feel comfortable that they are not to blame, because it is the backwards racists who are the problem. Do black children's lives matter if nobody writes about them?

During the anniversary of the act we will see a lot of celebration about how far Britain has come, but the reality of racism in Britain is that the picture is now different — without being any better. But the backdrop is the systematic racial inequalities that blight communities, creating countless victims. The truth is that no legislative change will end systematic discrimination in Britain because racism is coded in to the DNA of the nation. If we are serious about addressing systematic racism then we need to stop focusing on the prejudice of individuals.

Britain must acknowledge the uncomfortable history and reality of racial discrimination and be prepared to consider solutions that transform the conditions faced by oppressed groups. Maybe then we will be able to truly celebrate progress on race relations.