Even 20 years after her son was killed by a racially-charged hate crime, Doreen Lawrence believes racism is still a major problem in Britain.
Via Telegraph UK:
Doreen Lawrence will issue a warning this week that, despite progress on race and equality in the 20 years since her son’s killing, British society appears to be going “backwards”. Politics and the professions are dominated by an “Old Boys’ Network”, she will say, and even though there is a more diverse population than ever before, Britain is still “organised and shaped” by race.
People from black and ethnic minority families who have overcome adversity still face discrimination in the job market with even their surnames counting against them, according to Mrs Lawrence. And even having top qualifications and “good” accents are often not enough to overcome subtle racism, she will add. But white groups are also suffering discrimination which is rarely acknowledged or even discussed, she believes.
Her comments come in a speech she is due to deliver later this week to open a new research centre specialising in race and education at Birmingham University. She will say: “Race matters: it matters to all of us. “Crucially, when we talk about race we are not just talking about the experiences of black and minority ethnic groups. “We are also talking about the experiences of white groups. “Yet this is something that we, as a society, seldom acknowledge or discuss.”
Mrs Lawrence and her family fought for two decades to see the racist gang who murdered her son in 1993 brought to justice in a case which exposed deep failings in the criminal justice system and wider society over race. Last year two of the gang, David Norris and Gary Dobson, were jailed but four others remain at large, according to the trial judge. In her speech Mrs Lawrence will say the dream of a society in which race does not matter is still far off. “There has been progress over the last twenty years but stark inequalities still persist and – in some ways – we seem to be going backwards,” she will say. “Talking about race is fraught with challenges – just talking about race makes some people angry. “Others deny that race has anything to do with them: they say they don’t see race, that good intentions and common-sense are enough. They are not. “Just as we are a society that continues to be organised and shaped by class and by gender, we are a society that – some twenty years after Stephen’s murder – continues to be organised and shaped by race.”
Professor David Gillborn, director of the new centre, said: “Debates about education are almost solely based around class but what we have found is that despite having a professional education and good income and knowing their way around the education system, black middle class parents still face an uphill battle against the chromic low expectations that many teachers bring to their interactions with black children.”