The quality of life that exists both between and within ethnic groupings in Britain


This is, in part, a consequence of the fact that African-Caribbean’s live, disproportionately, in inner-city area’s where such crimes are particularly likely to take place. However, they also have a racially motivated character. Abercrombie and Warde pg 261(1981) states A Home Office report of 1981 on racial attacks estimated the rates of racially motivated incidents per 100,000 of the population at 1. 4 for whites, 51. 2 for West Indians and Africans, and 69. 7 for Asians in a three-month period. Although these figures are alarming I think they would be much higher if the ‘dark figures’ were also recorded.

Education is another factor that has to be addressed when discussing equality within and between ethnic groups. According to Fulcher and Scott A growing concern with ethnic variations in educational achievements led to the Rampton Report of 1981 and the Swan Report of 1985, which showed that there were ethnic differences in attainment. This is not to say that all children from ethnic minorities will do bad at school, if that were to be the case we would not have members of ethnic minorities represented in professions such as medicine or politics or the law.

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However, “There is no doubt that ethnic minorities have met discriminatory attitude and practices in education”. (Fulcher and Scott, pg 255) Such practice comes in the form of many disguises; many pupils are not allowed to wear their traditional clothes inside school. Many schools forbid the wearing of scarves, which in affect is unequal treatment to some Asian’s or Indian schoolgirls, who’s faith calls for the wearing of scarves to cover the female body. Also relations between different cultures in school are sometimes strained due to racial tension.

This comes in the form of bullying, which, can lead to more problems. Many children speak their mother tongue when they enter school, this is a disablement given to them by their parents, for not encouraging their children to speak the national tongue of the country they are living in, thus causing the education department extra problems. The school then has to employ a specially trained teacher to act as translator for both the child and the school. If children do badly at school they struggle to find a job when they leave.

According to Usha Brown, (2000) In 1996 the Commission for Racial Equality conducted an exercise in the North of England and Scotland to see how young people from ethnic minorities fared in their search for jobs. All applicants had difficulty in getting responses to job applications. However where there were responses it was found that a white applicant’s chances of getting an interview were nearly 3 times greater than those of Asian applicants and almost 5 times more than those of black applicants Yet, one of the reasons why Britain is now home to a wide range of races is because of a shortage of workers in the 1950s and 1960s.

Post-war Britain was experiencing economic expansion and many British workers were able to move into better jobs. This created gaps at the low end of the occupational ladder, and Jamaicans, as well as other West Indian, Indians and Pakistanis, were drawn in as a replacement population. Watson J. L pg 125(1979) This new population came to work and the majority worked hard; many had to face massive discrimination and open hostility from their hosts. Yet they continued to work hard and help rebuild our war-torn Britain. Fifty or so years later many are still working to becoming accepted by their host country.

The majority are still offering public services such as taxi drivers or fast food takeaways. Maybe the fact that slavery was once in existence, explains why so many people still take on the stance of the superior race being served by the inferior race of ethnicity. Even the children from ethnic backgrounds, who are born in this country, experience discrimination and prejudices from members of other groups living in the same community. Surely this most be explained as ignorance, how can someone say, “Get back to where you belong”, if biologically they were born in Britain?

Historically, racism is no new phenomenon; Jesus was killed because he offered an alternative idea that did not conform with the norm, which he offered to all members of society and the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan in the USA in the early 1920s, only reinforced the idea, to some groups in society that, different was wrong or that foreign was bad and needed eradicating. The mass genocide of the Jewish nation is another prime example of racism, albeit, an institutionalised form. Another reason why there is so much racism in society may be because of the learned prejudice children encounter when listening to other members of their family.

Many children may hear their parents speak about their distrust or dislike of ethnic minorities, that they too grow up repeating and believing the same sort of things. This may suggest, in the hopes of lessening the differences in the levels of quality of life for the members of ethnic minorities, we have to examine the way we socialize our children. If more children grew up with the same universal concepts that we all are entitled to the same level of consideration and respect, then maybe, the future generations of ethnic minorities may not experience such a wide range of differences.

This could only be obtained if everyone thought the same, thus, there is a need for everyone to be taught the same. We need to re-educate our children and maybe ourselves, in order for any chance of changing things in the future. The media has helped in the development of relations between different ethnic groups. There are more members of ethnic minorities used in television adverts than ever before, this alongside the introduction of ethnic minorities within soap operas and mainstream television has helped the wider audience learn to understand the different aspects of different cultures, there, reducing the effect of ignorance and racism.

Thus lessening the gap between the quality of life between these groups. Conclusion People have been living together, amongst different cultures for many generations now, it has never been a straightforward process and I don’t think it ever will. There will always be one group of people who will discriminate against other groups. This is no longer to be accepted if we want equality for everyone. As well of thinking of people as part of an ethnic group, we should also be thinking of people as part of the human group, after all we are all human beings.

We need the use of the Sociological imagination when thinking about ethnicity to help us understand the bigger picture. It shouldn’t matter what colour you are, or where you were born, nor should it matter if your beliefs differ from mine, what should matter is that we all recognise we are all different, whether that be by age, gender, height or weight, but, the most important is the ability to recognise we are all human. This is a skill we should be learning now as Britain is growing with the recent influx of immigrants fleeing their home countries and coming to Britain in the search of sanctuary and peace.

Unfortunately, empirical evidence proves the majority of the minority will face many different levels of inequality.

Bibliography Abercrombie N and Warde A (1993) “Contemporary British Society” Polity Press UK [email protected] demon. co. uk Usha Brown, Glasgow Caledonian University. July 2000. Watson J. L (ED) (1979) “Between Two Cultures” “Migrants & Minorities In Britain” Billing ; Sons LTD UK Westwood S and Bhachu P (1988a) ‘Images and realities’, New Society, 6 May.


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