Study: Majority of Ethnic Minority People in the UK Face Discrimination, but See Better Life Than US or Germany

A recent study reveals that approximately two-thirds of ethnic minority individuals in Britain experience discrimination in their daily lives. The research, conducted by British Future think tank, aimed to gauge public attitudes on race, identity, and prejudice, providing a comprehensive overview of the nation’s outlook. Out of the 2,500 participants surveyed, including 1,000 from ethnic minority backgrounds, 944 from white backgrounds, and a boosted sample of 300 black Caribbean respondents, the majority across all groups agreed that there is a need for significant progress on racial issues in the next 25 years.

Interestingly, despite the challenges faced, many ethnic minorities believe that life in Britain is better than in the US, known as the “melting pot” of cultures, or Germany, recognized for its immigrant-friendly policies. Of the ethnic minority respondents, 80% perceived life in Britain as superior, while the remaining 20% felt it was worse. Furthermore, 73% of white British participants believed that Britain is a better place for individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds to live.

Although the study also highlighted positive views on the progress made in the last 25 years, with 68% of ethnic minority respondents and 71% of white respondents acknowledging significant advancements, a small percentage expressed disagreement. Approximately 13% of ethnic minority respondents disagreed, alongside 17% of black respondents and 10% of white respondents.

The research coincided with the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, a ship that marked the beginning of the UK’s post-World War II immigration initiative. The Windrush generation, the children of those migrants, faced challenges due to tightened immigration rules implemented in 2012. Many who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s had never applied for individual travel documents as they traveled on their parents’ passports. Consequently, British citizens were wrongfully deported, lost their jobs, and were denied vital services due to insufficient documentation.

Awareness of the Windrush ship and its significance varied across age groups, with only 13% of young people aged 18-24 familiar with the Windrush story compared to 87% of individuals over 65. Among black Caribbean respondents, 89% expressed a desire for children to learn about the Windrush story at school, with 53% considering it highly important.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future and co-author of the report, emphasized the need for an ambitious agenda for change in the next 25 years, building on the legacy of the Windrush generation and addressing the progress still required in race-related matters in Britain.

The UK government has faced criticism for disregarding three of the 30 recommendations put forth in the official report that criticized its handling of the Windrush generation. These recommendations included the establishment of a migrants’ commissioner, increased powers for the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, and the organization of reconciliation events. While the Home Office has expressed commitment to rectifying the injustices faced by the Windrush generation, having paid or offered over £72.5 million in compensation as of April 2023, concerns remain.

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