The State of Race Equality in London – Is the cup half full or is it half empty?
By Maxine James and Ade Sawyerr of Equinox Consulting
Eight years after the passing of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and despite several government initiatives at national, regional and local levels, the people of London still have no comprehensive information on how the implementation of the Act has worked to address and reverse the critical state of race equality in the capital city.
There are still glaring inequalities in the private, public, community and voluntary sectors that are out of place in an advanced country such as Britain; especially in London where people of Asian, Caribbean and African descent represent almost a third (29%) of the capital’s total population. Persistent inequalities in political representation, health, education, employment, housing, transport and the criminal justice system impact on the lives of these people on a daily basis affecting their basic needs.
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 placed general and specific duties on public bodies to (a) eliminate unlawful race discrimination, (b) promote equality of opportunity between persons of racial groups and (c) promote good relations between persons of different racial groups. But in reality the years since these ideals were conceived seems to have produced no discernable impact on these inequalities. This suggests that either race equality initiatives are not working as anticipated or the law does not provide strong enough sanctions to discourage individuals and organisations from breaking the law.
In this article we intend to provide a compilation of race inequality data to highlight that despite what may be seen as gains in race relations there is still a need for further action. We believe that the authorities must show leadership and undertake and through concerted action with several organisations signal to the Asian, Caribbean and African communities that their own contributions are in tune with what the political leaders of London want to achieve.