The IRR publishes a report today on how racial violence is shaping the UK.
Racial violence: facing reality warns that attacks on BME individuals are actually spreading to new areas of the country, as under the impact of globalisation and austerity measures, populations swiftly change; and points to the potential dangers in ‘decanting’ those affected by the benefits cap to towns and cities which have little history of ‘diversity’.
Attacks are often taking place in communities where BME families or workers are isolated, where there are few support services and such experiences often go unrecorded and become part of a repeat pattern.
The tendency of statutory agencies to view racial violence through a prism of a generalised ‘hate crime’ means that the conditions that give rise to racism are not being understood and addressed and community safety strategies are not being created: the emphasis having moved to simply criminalising individual perpetrators.
Said report author Jon Burnett, ‘The myth is that post-Stephen Lawrence, racial violence has been magically dealt with. A few mechanical changes cannot deal with what is a huge trend tied to national political and economic forces. The legislation is allowing the criminal justice system to target a few perpetrators – and often they are not the most serious offenders, but just the easiest to successfully convict. This is putting the cart before the horse. Violence does not, by and large, spring ready-made from people’s evil thoughts, but from the larger conditions – and these are not being addressed. There is an urgent need for government – nationally and locally – to consider the implications of austerity measures, industrial and services closures, the enforced moving of populations and cuts in welfare to social issues such as racial violence.
In the twenty years since Stephen Lawrence’s killing, we have seen over one hundred deaths from racial violence in the UK. That is a terrible indictment.’
Racial violence: facing reality can be downloaded here
Read an IRR News story: ‘Spotlight on racial violence: October-December 2012’
Read an IRR News story: ‘Where anti-Muslim sentiment leads’
Read an IRR News story: ‘Spotlight on racial violence: July-September 2012’