Notes on: Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report (The Sewell Report)

Dave Harris

[This is a massive report and I'm going to just make notes about the main conclusions and whatever points strike me from the data as I go through. There are some characteristic recurring arguments to note:

1. The usual 'binary' between 'ethnic minorities or BAME' and 'white' is too simple and conceals important variations within each group,eg between black African and black Caribbean,or Indian groups on the one hand, and white Roma or white working class boys on the other.
2. When we consider more detailed or 'granular' comparisons, it is much harder to sustain simpler explanations, especially of a persistent and constant racism affecting inequality in the UK. For example. black Africans do better than black Caribbeans in the education system, but white working class boys do worse, while Chinese students do better than any of them -- so what sort of racism is that?
3. It is easy to get the wrong idea about racism in the UK if we rely on subjective/personal/individual data alone -- one example is the alleged rise in racialised hate crime in the UK seen in incidents recorded by the police but not in the results of the National Crime Survey (which they think is more reliable). However, they also cite, uncritically, police (?) records of knife crime increases (c 146 -- see below)
4. They do play with absolute numbers and percentages to make their case and you have to be careful -- for example the number of cases in perinatal mortality is indeed very low, but the relative differences between white and ethnic minority mothers is still very noticeable (which they do not conceal, to be fair).  They say that i
n 2019, '80% of those proceeded against for religiously or racially motivated hate crimes were White, 9% Black and 7% Asian', (142) but do not give the figures as proportions of the population. They do not consider any of the subjective material on the experience of mothers from ethnic minorities, although it is that that makes the headlines (eg Birthrights Report)-- it could be addressed through their general scepticism about subjective data but it would be good to see a specific case.
5. They do vary in their critical use of quantitative data and are particularly uncritical about surveys on attitudes or opinion polls generally. They do not comment on some of the reports,including one that exonerates the police, for example.
6. They do acknowledge the weight of racism in the section on health, but rather indirectly -- it produces stress and mental instability, they are prepared to concede, and this might be responsible for the higher incidence of mental illness among black groups (223). That data in turn is then linked to work on the unsettling experiences affecting migrants of all ethnic groups -- but black Caribbean groups in particular are not recent migrants. Further, the whole discussion of mental illness follows a section on disproportionate use of restraining orders. They mention racism as a possible factor in involvement in gangs together with negative stereotyping as a factor affecting juries --but these are very brief mentions
7. They do have a clear agenda in openly opposing BLM activism, and critics have pointed to Sewell's past support for Academies as well (which come out well)

They did not investigate anti-Muslim prejudice and anti-Semitism specifically. They saw that historic experience of racism was still important and 'there was a reluctance to acknowledge that the UK had become open and fairer… The data also revealed many instances of success among minority communities. These often been ignored or had been seen to be of little interest (to the media)' (6). They were often 'led upstream to family breakdown as one of the main reasons for poor outcomes. Family is also the foundation stone of success for many ethnic minorities' (7). They wanted 'to remove obstacles for everyone, rather than specific groups'.

'The spirit of BLM was the original trigger for our report', but they want to describe a new period, a year of participation, a fundamental shift where the U.K.has become a more open society even though it may 'be only half open to some, including the white working class'. For full participation, communities must grasp those opportunities however. Some groups are more optimistic than others, such as the new African communities.

'As their Caribbean peers sit in the same classrooms, it is difficult to blame racism in education for the latter's underachievement'. This is a comparison referred to several times and is important to their argument

They note that 'young black men are 24 times more likely to die of homicide than their white counterparts', that more black and Asian people need to participate in health trials to get better data, that there is no strong case for decolonising the curriculum or bringing down statues and instead 'we want all children to reclaim their British heritage' (8), for example to see how Britishness influences the Commonwealth… And how the Commonwealth… influences what we now know as modern Britain, including… well-known British words… [that] are Indian in origin… [and] the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave. Not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves'.

They want to end the term BAME because the group is 'held together by no more than what it is not'. They are not impressed by unconscious bias training and are more impressed by 'conscious attempts to foster talent from a wide range of backgrounds'.

They no longer think 'the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities' although there are impediments and disparities which are varied although 'few of them are to do with racism'. That term is just a catchall explanation that needs to be explicitly examined.

Instead 'geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism. That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK'. This is another key point referred to frequently.

We should only apply institutional racism as a term 'when deep-seated racism can be proven on a systemic level, and not be used as a general catchall phrase for any micro at in, witting or unwitting'.

This is a roadmap for racial fairness. There are obstacles and practical ways to overcome them, 'but that becomes much harder if people from ethnic minority backgrounds absorb a fatalistic narrative'. Their recommendations should give 'a further burst of momentum to the story of our country's progress to a successful multicultural community'


The UK is not yet a post-racial society and prejudice and discrimination still exists, as does outright racism, but the UK is still relatively open and has come a long way, more than other European countries, even though there are still 'some "snowy white peaks" at the very top of the private and public sectors' (9). There is an onward march of minorities into positions of power and responsibility though.

The roots of advantage and disadvantage are complex and 'as much to do with social class, family culture and geography as ethnicity', as confirmed by data over five years collected by the Race Disparity Unit and a number of other reviews, including Lammy, focusing on education, employment, crime and health. They look at ethnicity, socio-economic background, geography, 'culture and degree of integration'(10), and found that 'most of the disparities we examined, which some attribute to racial discrimination, often do not have their origins in racism'.

However, 'the concept of racism has become much more fluid, extending from overt hostility and exclusion to unconscious bias in microaggressions'. Ethnic minorities now have higher expectations and will not tolerate behaviour that would have been endured or shrugged off before, but there is also an increasingly strident form of antiracism that tries to explain all minority disadvantage as white discrimination. However things like different experiences of family life and structure can explain many disparities. Early experiences, family structures, although we must not stigmatise single mothers — but the impact of family breakdown does have an effect on the life chances of children.

When it comes to health, 'ethnic minorities do better overall than the white population and actually have better outcomes for many of the 25 leading causes of death' (11).

Recommendations include: 'build trust, promote fairness, create agency, achieve inclusivity' building trust includes challenging racist and discriminatory actions, increasing the care quality commission's inspection processes, using artificial intelligence to strengthen the equality act, building new partnership between police and communities, training police officers with better practical skills. Promoting fairness means trying to understand the factors that drive success of high performing groups in education, looking at what advances fairness in the workplace, checking ethnic pay disparities and pay gaps especially in the NHS, trying to establish an office for health disparities, preventing harm and reducing crime, building social and cultural capital through physical and cultural activities, getting the police to use body worn video to 'increase legitimacy and accountability of stop and search' (13). Agency is to be increased by helping pupils make better choices about their future potential, when they apply to HEI, opening up apprenticeships, encouraging innovation for would-be entrepreneurs, improving safety and support for children at risk, especially from criminal exploitation, and supporting families. Inclusivity is to be achieved by teaching an inclusive curriculum, 'to tell the multiple nuance stories of the contributions made by different groups'  '[with 'high quality teaching resources produced by independent experts'], introducing a local residency requirement for recruitment to the police, matching candidates for the police with the needs of the communities they serve in, using data to improve information gathering and preventing misuse, and dis-aggregating the term BAME.

These are spelled out later and include things like considering online abuse, involving the College of Policing to develop standards for community safeguarding, and enabling stop and search data to be scrutinised, developing more monitoring for recruitment, developing the multiagency action to safeguard young people, gathering evidence based practice from universities and employers.

The Report goes on to argue that 'the idea that all ethnic minority people suffer a common fate and a shared disadvantage is an anachronism' (27) although this is still a perception, as in the nationwide BLM marches, and the persistence of intergenerational mistrust. They found instead 'that the big challenge of our age is not overt racial prejudice, it is building on and advancing the progress won by the struggles of the past 50 years… We cannot accept the accusatory tone of much of the current rhetoric on race, and the pessimism about what has been and what more can be achieved'.

There are cases where ethnic minority communities have been left down, like Grenfell or Windrush, or disproportionate suffering in covid, but they can be rectified. There are also examples of what an open Britain stands for, such as the 2012 Olympics. And there is evidence of some progress, for example that 'the ethnicity pay gap [based on median hourly earnings of all ethnic minority groups and the white group] is down to just 2.3% and the white Irish, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups are on average earning notably more than the white British average' (28). Very much depends where you are in the UK. 'One advantage that ethnic minorities have is that they are disproportionately based in London — around 40% of the U.K.'s ethnic minority population live in London (compared with just 9% of the white British population)'.

'The numerically largest disadvantage group is low income white boys, especially those from former industrial and coastal towns, who are failing at secondary school and are the people least likely to go to university. Unlike many other reports on race and ethnicity we have included the white group in our deliberations. For a range of outcomes white working class children trail behind their peers in almost all ethnic minority groups, although the extent of these disparities vary by area' (29).

'Overt and outright racism persists in the UK' but it looms larger in our minds because it is visible and the rise of social media means it can go viral. Overall 'making anonymous abuse harder online is a complex issue but should be a public policy priority'. Social media can amplify racist views. 'While 13% of white people say they have been subject to racist or prejudiced insults on social media, the figure rises to 19% for people from the Pakistani ethnic group and 22% for black people'. It is frequently reported. This tends to 'point our attention in negative directions'. Lots of public debate 'is ill informed or uninformed — for example it's believed that hate crime is worsening, sometimes because of Brexit, or because of racism online, even though there is only 'a small proportion of cases involving physical violence'.

Hate crime figures may be rising 'because of improved police recording processes and a greater awareness of what constitutes a hate crime' [reference to Home Office publication here] which may lie behind the increase of 131% of police recorded race -related hate crime. However, responses to the Crime Survey 'which is considered more reliable than police recorded crime' show a reduction in racially motivated hate crimes [of about 30%], which may indicate 'another example of overly pessimistic narratives'. A classic comparison between subjective and objectiove data -- another key point in the Report.

Another such pessimistic narrative is on race and health, where the increase in age-adjusted risk of death from Covid in black and South Asian groups 'has widely been reported as due to racism, but 'many analyses have shown that the increased risk… Is mainly due to an increased risk of exposure to infection… The fact that black and South Asian people are more likely to live in urban areas with higher population density and levels of deprivation; work in higher risk occupations… live with older relatives. If it were systemic racism operating through their lives, 'this would be reflected in overall mortality figures across the life course' but 'black and Asian groups have had lower mortality rates from all causes, and data from Scotland suggests Asian ethnic groups have higher life expectancy than white ethnic groups' (30) despite living in deprived neighbourhoods. This shows that we need to look at underlying risk factors rather than just race and ethnicity, and avoid fatalistic narratives.

In particular, there is evidence to think that '"Britain is doing much better on race than on class"' [attributed to S Katwala, the head of the British Future think tank], and this is because race discourses are dominated by full-time academics and media persons. However 'many disadvantaged black and Muslim groups do feel defined by their race, whereas fewer middle-class professionals from Indian and Chinese ethnic groups feel the same. The rise of identity politics has led to pessimism, as have 'single issue identity lobby groups… [which]… tend to have a pessimism bias in their narratives… and they tend to stress the "lived experience" of the groups they seek to protect with less emphasis on objective data' (31). This inevitably affects public debate about race, emphasising discrimination and minimising 'minority self-reliance and resilience'.

The research they commissioned looked at educational outcomes and ethnic groups which included 'sex, ethnicity and socio-economic status', with the latter defined as 'parental education, occupation and family income'. They think that educational success should be celebrated and replicated. They think that 'evidence shows that… Black African, Indian and Bangladeshi pupils perform better than white British groups, once socio-economic status is taken into consideration'. 'Immigrant optimism' may be responsible — recent immigrants see education as a way out of poverty and spend more time on it because they lack financial capital. Other researchers found higher aspirations among ethnic minority kids compared with white ones, especially boys. Tthe exception is Black Caribbean boys who have lower expectations of going to university  [56% ,73% for girls, 61% white boys, 69% white girls] (32) . This may be 'an internal drive or a response to external discrimination' — whatever it is it produces agency.

BAME is reductionist and disguises huge differences, and assumes that the whole issue is about majorities versus minorities. It also conceals discrepancies within that group. Among the new terms we shall employ are white ethnic minorities which also feature a diversity of groups such as 'white Irish, Gypsy, Roma, travellers and Eastern Europeans' (32). The term BAME itself is not that popular among ethnic minorities. We need more granular data accordingly, including differences within racial or ethnic groups, 'such as urban middle-class Gujaratis versus rural Mirpuri' (33).

There is misleading and imprecise language about race and racism and 'linguistic inflation' with terms like institutional, structural and systemic. There is a tendency to 'conflate discrimination and disparities' and a tendency to use the term racism 'to account for every observed disparity' which exaggerates its effects and can put people off and increase tension.

Institutional racism in particular is a problem. MacPherson defined it as a collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service, and was worried in particular about the underreporting of racist crime which showed a lack of trust in the police, and a set of practices and behaviours that were commonplace which harmed ethnic minority groups, but this is 'largely no longer the case'. The term 'is now being liberally used, and often to describe any circumstances in which differences in outcomes between racial and ethnic groups exist in an institution, without evidence' (34) this has 'dulled its credibility… Undermined the seriousness of racism… led to insufficient consideration of other factors'. We need robust assessment and evidence and we have to show that groups had been treated differently because of their ethnic identity.

What would this evidence look like? We would need surveys of individual prejudice and 'tests of aggregate prejudices, such as curriculum vitae studies' (35). If prejudice took the form of 'social pressure' where people believe the others are prejudiced and they are expected to discriminate, surveys would be required to see the extent to which beliefs about these expectations exist. There have been more more surveys about attitudes towards racism and hate crimes and much better recording, although social media has permitted more proliferation of negative messages and attitudes and toxic messages.

Accusations of racism that are hard to prove 'open to interpretation or even vexatious' have also multiplied. Subjective definitions are problematic. We can have situations where it depends on how people perceive the actions and there is no consistency. It is now 'possible for any act, including those intended be well-meaning, to be classified as racist'. It's obviously harder to measure the true extent of racism. Perceptions do matter, trust has to be earned, and processes have to be seen to be fair. Limits might be suggested by 'assessing the intent of the perpetrator as well as the perception of the victim' while continuing to hear victims voices. We need 'clear standard definitions of the terms' instead of using them interchangeably. As it is, referring to systemic institutional or structural racism can also just relate to the feelings of not belonging, rather than actions behaviours and incidents and organisational levels.

We need 'more objective foundations… observable metrics… quantitative and qualitative evidence' (36). We should use different terms: 'explained racial disparities, where there are persistent ethnic differential outcomes which can be the result of other factors such as geography class or sex; unexplained racial disparities where there is no conclusive evidence about the causes; institutional racism where institution is racist and has policies, attitudes or behaviours that are discriminatory; systemic racism where there are interconnected organisations or wider social groups which exhibit racist or discriminatory processes attitudes or behaviours; structural racism "to describe the legacy of historic racist or discriminatory processes, policies, attitudes or behaviours that continue to shape organisations and societies today"' NB the other definitions above are close indirect quotes].

'White privilege' [and white fragility] is also controversial. It is American and it can alienate people who don't feel privileged or fragile. The implication is that it is white people's attitudes and behaviours that cause disadvantage and suggests that being an ethnic minority in the UK is to be treated unfairly 'by default'. 'The evidence we have studied does not support this… and that it is counter-productive and divisive'. They prefer the term '"affinity bias"' to describe 'psychological comfort from looking like the majority of people around you'. Racism is not just about words. We must investigate evidence and give good resources to the Equality and Human Rights commission.

The UK has 'acute geographical inequality' on a scale that is seldom appreciated, for example half the population of the UK 'live in areas where prosperity is no better than the poorest parts of the old East Germany or the poorest states in the USA' (37) and there is evidence the country is splitting between these areas in London and the south-east, especially the ex-industrial and mining areas and towns on the coastal periphery. This is 'overwhelmingly a white British problem', but a section of the South Asian population who live there are also affected and find themselves placed below the white British group. Nevertheless the English region with the worst life expectancies is the north-east, one of the whitest, the local authorities with the highest number of deprived neighbourhoods are all in the North, and all except one 'have a disproportionate representation of the white British population' (38). 9.1% of white British people live in the 10% of the most deprived neighbourhoods — this is relatively low, but absolutely high (4 million people). There's a sense of stagnation and being left behind, low ambitions, poor attainment low pay.

The social mobility hotspots are in London and the south-east. The areas where income deprivation affects children most are 'all overwhelmingly white British. Areas targeted for improvement in social mobility are overwhelmingly white. This sort of data underpins the view of the social mobility commission 'that its recommendations should focus on improving outcomes for all — not centre on specific ethnic groups alone' (39).

28% of people in black households were on persistent low income, 25% of Asian households and 12% of white households, but there has been movement towards the white British median. It is less so with wealth and property ownership [with a gap of nearly 10 times between black African and white British, less so with Pakistani]. Property is the main source of wealth. Home ownership has the Indian ethnic group in front with 74%. Black Caribbean households have double the rate of ownership of African ones, 40% as opposed to 20%. Overcrowding is more common among ethnic minority households. Pakistani and Bangladeshi people were overrepresented in the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, 31% of the population. Over half the households in Pakistani Bangladeshi and black groups were in receipt of state support especially child tax credit.

Family structure has changed in the last 50 years. They are not passing judgement or saying that two parents are always better than one. Lone parent families with the right support can provide a good start in life, but they do need more support. There is a prevalence of family breakdown. Overall 15% of families will lone parent, but 63% of black Caribbean children were growing up in lone parent families and 62% in black and other ethnic groups. Indian ethnic groups lowest at 6%. Asian families seem more family oriented. Differences in socio-economic status are relevant with higher rates among poorer people. There is some literature pointing to negative incomes tied to family background, especially in the USA -- '"family strain"'. The government should aim to develop new initiatives.

Different groups vary in their attitudes to integration and mixing as well. Some ethnic minority groups seem to 'actively hold back integration' (43). More than half Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are economically inactive (25% white women), 17% of Bangladeshi women 9% of Pakistani women were unable to speak English, and tended to live more separately from the mainstream, and are also more likely to marry people from their ancestral home, representing a '"first-generation in every generation"' syndrome. The answer is to do much more to support families.

According to recent polling,  93% of Britons disagree that you have to be white to be British, while 89% would be happy for their child to marry someone from another ethnic group. Some believe there are still tensions between ethnic groups [not necessarily white groups?] (69%, with 20% thinking there is a great deal of tension). 55% of adults believe that BLM protests have increased racial tension, including 44% of ethnic minority Britons (45).

Racism means both attitudes and behaviours that would not have been racist in the past and this is one reason for 'rising sensitivity… microaggressions and safety, and stretching the meaning of racism without objective data to support it'. The most successful groups, Indian and Chinese, see fewer obstacles and less prejudice. Those who do less well, black people and Muslims tend to see and experience more of both. Black African people are 'considerably more positive' than black Caribbean. 76% of black people believe there is white privilege, 59% of all ethnic minorities, 29% of white people. Nearly half of ethnic minority Britons 'do not think their race has been an obstacle to their personal advancement'. The majority agree that race relations have improved, three times as many as those who believe race relations have got worse. British Future polling suggests there is no big divide on the things that concern us.

Comparison with international experience involved a report comparing the condition of minorities worldwide [the Minority Rights Group International, 2016] and found that treating minorities fairly is a universal challenge but that the UK manages it comparatively well because of  'the welfare system and robust antidiscrimination laws'. The European survey on being black in the EU showed that experience of racial harassment varied from 63% in Finland, 51% in Ireland, down to 21% in Britain, the second lowest result, and the UK has the lowest figure for black respondents who experienced discrimination in jobseeking, education, health, housing and public or private services (46) thus 'the U.K. has improved race relations more rapidly than in other countries', including being more active in collecting data.

There is still a powerful current of unease and anger, seen in last summer's BLM protests. There is still a sense of detachment and unease and sensitivity, 'a scholarly consensus that a "psychological asymmetry" unavoidably characterises majority – minority relations across different cultures, including in the UK', and younger ethnic minority people may identify more strongly than older generations with multiple identities rather than assimilation. Strong ethnic identities should not be seen in themselves as an obstacle. 'People are evidently capable of juggling multiple identities'. It is important 'to evoke positive emotions of trust and affection in the country's minorities', to emphasise that every individual is treated fairly and not on the basis of their ethnicity, that 'we respect ethnic identities but also share a common, unifying civic identity as British citizens' and we must 'reinforce the symbols of Britishness' (47)  that signal that. [Not promote better economic and geographical unity after all than? Or as well?]

They are quite confident about the data. They remind us that differences or disparities 'are not always sinister do not always arise from discrimination'.[Yes they do -- class discrimination] They are aware that some data collection lacks precision and is not as granular as it might be especially in terms of ethnicity. For example the Census still uses the big five classifications which can hide different outcomes between different subgroups. This is especially relevant in the crime and policing data. Ethnic groups can move between censuses. The most disaggregated categories possible should be used. Further subdivisions might be made in white other to distinguish between West and East Europeans, and black African, to distinguish between sub Saharan African people and Somalis, 'now a substantial group in their own right' (49).

When reporting data so we should focus on net disparities not gross ones. Most ethnic minority groups are younger and more urban and this needs to be recognised when looking at raw data on crime, using, for example regression analysis which adjusts for relevant factors. We should also use relevant benchmarks, for example to prevent 'a more negative picture of minority achievement than is justified' — there are 'different histories, periods of residence in the country, class and educational backgrounds and average ages, so there are many reasons, apart from discrimination why you would not expect that representation in a given profession, say should match each group's share of the general population' (50).

Statistics might be used more responsibly 'in the sometimes emotional field of race and ethnicity'. For example the reporting of hate crime figures 'make clear that recent increases are in incidents reported to the police and more reliable national survey evidence suggests that actual hate crime incidents are falling' [as above]. There might need to be a special 'set of ethnicity data standards'. Users 'should note the limitations of the analysis especially when data is provided for an aggregated group which can mask differences in outcomes for detailed groups. Users should avoid binary analysis 'for example comparing White and other than white'. Generally, 'every level of disaggregation adds analytic value providing that it remains possible to draw meaningful comparisons' (50) [this is one reason why they want to disaggregate the term BAME].

In terms of policy generally, they need to reform the old tendency which has followed a binary distinction between white and BAME [a useful political split though] ; seeing all racial and ethnic disparities as negative; and has formulated policy to target aspects of minority disadvantage. They think the best way is to 'make improvements that will benefit everyone, targeting interventions based on need not ethnicity'. So for example if not enough black people are getting the professional jobs after graduating, we need to examine the subjects studied in the careers advice they are receiving and improving that will improve prospects for everybody. This will be ' fair, it will be more effective than diversity training for teachers'. If we focus diversity and inclusion training on white discrimination, we may alienate those very people. 'Far better to focus on the biases, nepotism, in-group favouritism and motivated reasoning that people of all races are susceptible to'. Of course diversity and inclusion training has moved the dial. A paper they like has spelled-out the implications recommending that diversity training should not police misunderstandings but build relationships and deal with the inevitable disagreements.

As a result they take an optimisation rather than a maximisation approach, not seeing how far they can address minority outcomes even if majorities are discriminated against, but trying to produce a balanced outlook optimising outcomes for all groups and encouraging an open climate of debate. We must not call too many fouls or award too many penalties. The traditional focus has been on giving help to marginalised groups, which made sense when ethnic minorities were heavily advantaged and all the prejudice came from white people, but the position is more complex and some ethnic minority groups are doing better on average than white people. Now, discriminating in favour of one group means discriminating against others. Instead we should have things like name blind CVs, more diverse recruitment channels, family friendly policies enabling labour market participation for ethnic minority women. We should encourage more general participation in employment health trials or university participation, assuming that 'we are getting it right for marginalised groups then we are getting it right for the majority', and one of the best changes here has been the development of comprehensive schools and self managed academies, especially the major improvements that resulted in London which have brought up standards generally as well as for black students.


This is an 'emphatic success story of the British ethnic minority experience', in some cases producing 'remarkable social mobility, outperforming the national average'. However other groups have had lower than average educational outcomes. We need to explain these disparities in terms of different 'social, economic and cultural factors, [especially]...., Parental career, income and achievement, geography, family structure and attitudes to education]. 'Strong earlier support, good schools and evidence-based interventions' are crucial as is 'a wider understanding of the UK'. In terms of strong GCSE passes in English and maths, the white British group is 10th in attainment, outperformed by Chinese and Indian ethnic groups, indicating a close relation to socio-economic status and if we control for that, 'all major ethnic groups perform better than white British pupils except for black Caribbean pupils'(55).

The black Caribbean group is the least likely to attend university after the white British group. Better guidance is needed on selection and the promotion of alternatives, especially technical and vocational education and apprenticeships.

Patterns in attainment vary throughout schooling: at early years white British groups are fifth out of 18 ethnic groups, at key stage 2 10th, at GCSE 10th, at A-level 8th. Chinese and Indian groups show the highest attainment at A-levels, white Gypsy Roma and Irish traveller groups the lowest. 40% of the overall development gap emerges by the age of five. Poverty affects leaving school without level 2 attainment. Family geography and properties seem to be the 'three major sources of disparity' (60) [there is an increasing use of the measure of eligibility for Free School Meals — FSM]. Disparities between ethnic groups appear in terms of meeting the expected standard of development, again with Indian and Chinese ethnic groups at the top and Gypsy and Roma ethnic groups at the bottom, the gaps between those eligibile for FSM and others is also apparent [49% and 78% among white Irish pupils, 53% and 76% with White British achieving the expected standard at five years]. Family composition seems to be important, especially families with one parent, although deprivation seems more important. Stability and resilience is the crucial thing and this can be provided by different types of family unit.

At secondary level, average GCSE attainment 8 score for black Caribbean and mixed white and black Caribbean pupils was five points lower than the average for white British pupils, while scores for Indian Bangladeshi and black African pupils were above white British average.. Ethnicity, socio-economic status and sex are all related to attainment, but ethnic disparities remain once these are the differences are taken into account. Taking FSM, 14% of white British pupils were eligible, 19% of Pakistani, 23% of Bangladeshi and 25% of black African — 29% of mixed white and black Caribbean, 28% of black Caribbean. The causals seem to include reduced ability to help with homework and remote learning [!], and higher crime rates in more deprived neighbourhoods, together with an increased risk of health and developmental problems. Generally, the variation in attainment due to family income, parental education level and parental occupation status in terms of obtaining a strong pass in GCSE English and maths is larger than the gap between the ethnic groups [the specific measure was between children of parents with no qualifications and of those with a degree. The more general measures, socio-economic status was lowest of all for Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups (64)] [all this from a particular analysis from Strand --one of several conducted for the Commissionusing official stats] .

Nevertheless, 'overall, pupils from ethnic minorities perform better than white British pupils when accounting for socio-economic status' (66), except for black boys of high socio-economic status and Pakistani girls of high economic status who seem to have lower achievement compared to their white British pupils of the same status [the potential causes of these difference can be found in Strand's report].

Strand thinks that the '"immigrant paradigm" might be responsible, the devotion to education resulting from seeing education as a way out of poverty, embraced especially by more recent immigrants [not black Caribbean and mixed white and black Caribbean pupils, then — these been disillusioned? Why are they 'the least likely to be optimistic?]. Apparently Indian and Pakistani migration, also a long established can be mitigated by '"selective assimilation theory"' (70), reflecting their higher status in their countries of origin and their diverse areas of settlement — other Pakistani migrants living in poorer areas of inner cities have remained more segregated.

Black Caribbean lack of optimism 'is largely due to their circumstances and context of disadvantage' and can be remedied by educational initiatives. Racial biases can be displayed by schools teachers and the curriculum, especially '"underlying bias of teachers"' [according to a respondent to the commission]. However it's hard to judge how important this is 'on a national level', but divergences 'suggest that other factors may be more influential' and 'if there is a racial bias… It has limited effects and other factors such as family structure, cultural aspirations and geography may offset this disadvantage' (69). Educational aspirations of pupils and parents, academic self-concept, frequency of completing homework may also be important and there is research on all of these. Overall, 'the level of success experienced by many ethnic minorities in the UK is outstanding and should be recognised as such' (70), but it is recommended that more research is required especially on the high performing pupils communities, and factors there might be 'replicated to support all pupils'.

Geography is important and in some places poorer pupils are two years behind their peers by the time they take the GCSEs in predominantly white areas [including Plymouth], far fewer in London even though there are higher levels of ethnic minority representation. The same goes with FSM pupils. Gaps in primary school attainment of increased.

Overall the gap is not the same in the UK as in the USA — it is 'approximately eight times smaller' (71)

Attainment gaps at GCSE and A-level at age 19 have increased recently, but have improved for FSM and non-FSM children [a confusing bit here, apparently they peaked in 2015 and 2017]. The gap might have widened because non-FSM children have improved their attainment disproportionately. They want to agree with the OFSTED line that 'with very few exceptions, good education to one kind of child is exactly the same as good education for another, irrespective of their sex, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics. Good curriculum, good teaching, good behaviour, good pastoral support, strong school culture and high aspirations matter for all children'. Persistent underachievement should be met with improving the school's core offering 'so that all children can do well' rather than targeted interventions. Even stuck schools can improve after a focus on 'strong behaviour and discipline, and ambitious well taught curriculum and early reading in primary's, often with the support of a strong multi-Academy trust' (72) [OFSTED findings]. Individual group based intervention can be minimised. They take as a case study the Delta Academies trust who provided evidence of considerable improvement and identified themes which hold back disadvantaged white British students: 'multi-general disaffection and low aspiration, instant gratification, parental debt and poor planning low aspirations, failing to see the perceived benefits of education, poor behaviour, well-meaning professionals will address symptoms, low literacy levels in the communities' [looks like a very old-fashioned cultural deprivation stuff--ignores socio-economic really] (73) Delta turned round a particular school and nearly doubled the numbers of disadvantaged pupils getting a strong pass

Teachers are mostly white British. There are different opinions on the importance of teacher diversity. UNESCO thinks it important, evidence on ethnic teachers is scarce, gender doesn't seem to have a unidirectional effect: 'children tend to value teachers, whether men or women, who are consistent, and evenhanded and supportive of them' (75) another factors might be important such as the quality of teacher training, school improvement and the core school offering. Teachers and ethnic minorities can bring valuable lived experiences that can face 'pushback'. There can be missed opportunities to teach more inclusive portrayals of British culture. There are problems diversifying the curriculum. All teachers should 'revel in the rich diversity of their peers' [weak]. Governors should be more diverse, better data collected, and clear expectations set.

Poor behaviour and discipline are a problem, experienced by three quarters of teachers, two thirds of whom say they have considered leaving the profession because of it. Permanent exclusion can be necessary but should only occur in cases where the behaviour of the child is a risk to safety. There are about 400,000 temporary exclusions every year and 8000 permanent exclusions. The main reason is 'persistent disruptive behaviour, making up about 30% of all temporary exclusions and the most common reason for permanent exclusions (still only 35% though) (76). 2018 to 2019 15 (0.2%) permanent exclusions were due to racist abuse, and 4889 (1.1%)temporary exclusions. There ethnic groups, white gypsy and Roma pupils and Irish traveller pupils at that highest temporary exclusion rates followed by mixed white and black Caribbean pupils and black Caribbean pupils Chinese and Indian groups had the lowest temporary exclusion rates, and the same pattern is seen with permanent exclusions.

There's been a recent review to recommend that exclusions are used appropriately, and the Timpson Review 'found no evidence of systemic or institutional racism, but instead pointed to complex factors' including local combinations of 'differences between schools, poverty and childhood trauma', specifically '"overlapping vulnerabilities such as poverty, SEN, and family environments and poor mental health"', which generally agrees with the findings of the Commission. However, even when controlling for these factors, 'permanent exclusion rates continue to remain high for black Caribbean and mixed white and black Caribbean' (77), who were 1.7 times more likely to be permanently excluded, three times more likely before the data is adjusted (78). However, this 'cannot be reduced to structural racism and individual teacher bias', because again black Caribbean pupils are more affected than black African pupils, with rates of 25 in 10,000 compared to 7 in 10,000.

We still need to investigate what the key issues are here, and to urge the government to make funding available to equality and diversity hubs, teacher training, a practice improvement fund, alternative provision effective interventions, training for governing bodies and Academy trusts, better information on children relief schools, OFSTED research on patterns to exclusions and off-rolling, better support. The 'ethnic disproportionality in the identification of SEN' (79) needs particular investigation. There needs to be better public reporting, less emotive, and better research on behaviour in schools, and better funding, focused on need.

We need to build social and cultural capital especially after covid  and the inspiration for this has 'existed in our ethnic minority communities for decades: extra hours education' (82). More than half of privately educated children in London come from ethnic minority backgrounds. They have engaged in extra hours of formal and non-formal education and this 'social capital… Should not be underestimated', providing new friendships, new skills like playing musical instruments, understanding heritage and culture. It seems a particular feature of schools in the UK. The government should support this supplementary education, and there is evidence that it helps FSM kids and those taking GCSEs (83). Schools should offer a longer school day via school clubs, holiday revision sessions and extracurricular activities, as an offer for all. US studies suggest the same.

Places to study away from distraction have become important, and schools can provide them. Extracurricular activities have led to improvements in behaviour and confidence in social skills, and there is evidence that schools that provide them do better in reading [an OECD survey] (84). Academies and free schools have been useful here. Some case studies cite the use of breakfast clubs and homework support, after hours sports clubs and so on. Increased costs are recognised, and the project must be carefully researched [problems are listed 86 – 87 including transport]. This will expose more children to the benefits offered in private schools, and help pupils 'see life through another lens' (88) especially if they get the chance to debate, act, master an instrument and play a sport, access 'rich cultural capital'. It will also get them off the dangerous streets.

The curriculum must feature '"shared knowledge"', a US term, which addresses how to teach the historic past to create a sense of belonging, people from different backgrounds can identify themselves in British history. Michael Young [!] Is cited on the need to provide powerful knowledge (89). Local and regional knowledge of the UK is required as well as that of the Commonwealth and former colonies which have defined Britishness. One case study looks at the connection between the Royal Mint and the West India Committee to provide accounts of important black people that have lived in the UK, while another looks urban change in Liverpool looking at migration. All the inputs into British culture need to be studied, leading to understanding Britain as a '"rich and layered collection of communities"' (91) with a diverse literature and language. It is not just a matter of imperial imposition, because there are different directions of travel, and 'episodes of both shame and pride'. Different ethnic groups and socio-economic groups should see themselves '"in a positive and celebratory manner"'. Teachers may need support to do this. There should be balance. Pupils should be prepared to take on fake news and to discuss clashing opinions and truth. School leadership is important and should emphasise 'political neutrality and transparency', and this should be more research on 'whether schools are teaching in an impartial way'(92)

An appointed panel of independent experts should produce the resources required and they should be embedded within subjects they should produce lesson plans teaching methods and reading materials and a national library online should accompany. Expert should include head teachers, Subject Association representatives examining bodies, national museums and representatives from relevant ethnic minority stakeholder groups.

In 2020 white students were least likely to go to university (33%) followed by students from mixed, black Asian and Chinese (39, 48, 53 and 72). Only 13% of Male white British pupils eligible for FSM progress to higher education, except in London where it is nine percentage points higher than anywhere else (93) Compare this with 67% of black African young people who have gone to HE, (59% of those eligible for FSM). Even black Caribbean pupils are more likely to progress to university, although they are also most likely to attend low tariff universities — only 18% of black entrants went to high tariff providers. Black Caribbean pupils are the least likely to progress to the more elite high tariff universities — 5% compared to an overall national figure of 11% (95).

Once at university ethnic minority students except Asians 'are more likely to drop out, have lower levels of attainment and lower earnings after graduating'. 16% of black students do not continue, even in STEM subjects (96). Black students have the lowest percentage of first class degrees at 15% (white students 32%, Asian students 23%). Median earnings show the same pattern — black African, Bangladeshi, black Caribbean and other black ethnic groups less than the median, the white ethnic group median earnings, and mixed Indian and Chinese ethnic groups above the median [33K]. This could be the result of entering low tariff universities, or the result of poor advice on which courses to take. Apparently 'about 40% of black African people and 39% from the Bangladeshi ethnic group are overqualified for their roles, compared with 25% of white workers' [citing a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study] (97). Those in high skilled operations made more use of formal support services and have likely studied subjects with a clear career trajectory. Being first in the family to go to university can affect career prospects. Everyone asked for better careers advice. Insider information was variable, especially at A-level.

Overall, there seems to be an overinvestment in university degrees that are not leading to high status professional jobs, and there should be more routes instead. There might be a circle between academic self-concept and relative lack of success in education, so the commission supports traineeships and apprenticeships. 'It is vital ethnic minority young people do not see the future only through a higher education lens' [but beware being channelled?] (100) Case studies include the Sutton trust, PwC. and Rolls Royce. Apprenticeships seem to be better understood in white British families, while ethnic minorities tend to have 'an exaggerated respect for the academic route' and 'a mixture of prejudice and ignorance about apprenticeships' (102), a mixture of 'minority bias' and a misguided public policy. There must be consideration of lifelong learning in alternative routes. The increase in tuition fees has put off mature students and alternatives should be reactivated.


Hate crime is distressing and can produce serious psychological effects among individuals and the wider community. 'Although it is often believed that hate crime is rising sharply, the most reliable data shows that it may be declining'. 76,070 race -related hate crimes were recorded by police in 2019 to 2020, up by hundred and 31% compared to a decade before, but the crime survey of England Wales showed that racially motivated hate crimes went down 449,000 204,000 over the same period. This is still a 'sizeable number of incidents', and is unacceptable. It is impossible to drive it down to zero (139). The most common offence recorded by the police in 2020 was 'public order offences, such as graffiti or verbal abuse, more than 10,000 'violence without injury and 4500 violence with injury'. 1.1% of Asian people experienced a hate crime, 1.1% of black people, but only 0.2% of white people, these are substantially less than the percentages experiencing crime in general [between 13 and 20%]. There is an 'overrepresentation of black people among perpetrators', even more so in the USA.

[Bit misleading here --  'In 2019, 80% of those proceeded against for religiously or racially motivated hate crimes were White, 9% Black and 7% Asian' Old slippages between absolute and relative figures here].

Fear of hate crime among minority communities is greater than its likelihood of occurring — 16% of Asian people and 13% of black people were very worried about being attacked. This fear could limit integration and stop involvement. There needs to be visible action. Online abuse is also significant. Ethnic minority female MPs seem particularly vulnerable as do other celebrities and public figures. Abuse can go viral. This should be new online safety legislation and social media companies should exercise the responsibility. Anonymity should be rethought and racially abusive content removed.

More generally, communities often overestimate the level of crime in their areas, but generally, 'there is a need to acknowledge and welcome that this country's overall crime rate has reduced' (143). The majority of people do not commit crime [or at least not entered into the criminal justice system — those that were represented 0.25% of the ethnic minority population aged 10 to 17, and 0.16% of the white population.. There are 'big disparities' in the rates of stop and search, but there are also disparities in crime, often violent crime and factors behind this policy, as even David Lammy noticed [he pointed to differences in poverty and lone parents, school exclusion and early arrest]. (144) police attitudes have changed over the last 30 years, and they do face complex changes. They have made 'great strides' towards fair policing.

Ethnic minority people are more likely to be victims of crime especially violent crime and homicide. Black people were 11 times more likely than white to be a victim of homicide, but the principal suspect in the case was more likely to be of the same ethnicity [for white people as well], although there is a difference for women. Women of mixed ethnicity were more likely to experience domestic abuse compared to either black or Asian ethnic groups, and white women more likely than Asian or black. Black people are disproportionately represented among both victims and suspects — deprivation and younger age profile might explain 'much of the disproportionality' (146). Knife crime has been on the rise, although this may indicate better recording] [reverse of what was said for hate crime"!] . London has a disproportionate level of knife offences. Ethnic minorities are well represented in terms of offenders [up to 2/3 depending on age and year], and sharp instruments have been the most common instruments for homicides. (147).

Ethnic minorities are overrepresented at the point of stop and search, and with custodial sentencing in prison population, especially black people. They were arrested three times more often than white people in 2020. Asian and other ethnic groups had the biggest custody rates. The prison population was 27% ethnic minority, almost twice its percentage in the population. Ethnic minority groups are overrepresented among those convicted of serious crimes (148). Jury conviction rates for ethnic minority and white groups are similar, however. The circumstances surrounding crime can vary, for example involvement with gangs — 34% black young people, 5% white young people. This can help contribute to negative stereotypes of young black men.

Stop and search has been much discussed. Politicians see it as important to disrupt crime, but the police often cite drugs and disrupting drug county lines [the implication is that most of these aimed at detecting drugs are unsuccessful and excessive, so policies directed at drugs are likely to be particularly unwarranted]. Transparency is needed, especially as community perception is already negative. The data shows that there were 563,837 stop and searches in 2020, 11 stops for every thousand people, down from 25 per thousand a decade earlier. Black Caribbean people were stopped at the rate of 39 for a thousand people, down to Asians 30 per thousand, down to Chinese 2 per thousand and white six per thousand. The Metropolitan police had the highest rate. The claim is that black people are nine times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched at the national level, but this is not always accurate because there are differences in the size and characteristics of local populations and local policies. (151) [including differences in reporting ethnicity and geographical practices in different neighbourhoods].

Between 2010 and 2019 rates of stop and search decreased for all ethnic groups, the least for black people. 76% of all stops resulted in no further action, 13% in arrests, higher for white people (52%). 72% of killings of youths under 25 years involved black victims. Black people were four times more likely to be a victim and eight times more likely to be a perpetrator in London [used in defence of stop and search]. However care should be taken in terms of how the policy is carried out. There are many risk factors associated with violent crime, including 'long-term experiences of racism' and childhood experience.

Recent research on gang involvement notes that there has been an impact on women and girls. Poverty does not entirely explain involvement. Young black males seem to be disproportionately overrepresented although not all gangs are involved in violent crime.  Risk actors identified by the police include child abuse and neglect, past criminality, parental criminality, drugtaking, truancy, living in high crime areas and having delinquent peers. Some appear to be 'revenge attacks based on fairly trivial incidents' (156). Gang membership may be 'an expression of masculinity… Recognition and status', the result of broken families. There may also be a need to '"find refuge in a racist society"' (157) including maintaining status against other ethnic minorities. Girls may want relationships with male gang members. There is a notion of an alternative family or community'. We need to counter this with developing attachment and relationships to normal society [very old stuff this], community leadership and role models, more care. The Scottish Violence Reduction Units seem to be effective by adopting a public health approach, a broad range of interventions combined with tougher sentences. There have also been some positive outcomes of increasing stop and search in reducing drug offences and county lines (161). Agency should be stressed. Stop and search could be improved by body worn cameras, by better explanation to ethnic minority communities, by better research and data collection.

Other factors that need addressing are deaths in police custody [white people were 86% of those who died in police custody, 14% from ethnic minority groups], although 'a disproportionate number of ethnic minority people have died following the use of force' (164). An enquiry argued it was difficult to prove that racism was a factor. Police training might be improved including developing good practice models, better information for the public. Again case studies are cited, one of which focused on de-escalation the avoidance of unnecessary conflict, better information about policing and so on the building of trust.

The police should produce harm reduction policies with drugs. Reducing punishments for drug possession did not increase drug use. They favoured alternative measures to decriminalisation and cite a case study by Thames Valley Police involving community resolution, a form of treatment by a drug service provider. More evidence is needed to test a range of interventions 'to tackle the disproportionate impact the criminal justice system can have on young people' (186).

There should be a more diverse police service. Barriers to recruitment and the culture of policing should be understood. In particular there was 'shocking racial abuse' directed at ethnic minority police officers by other ethnic minority citizens, some of them on social media platforms.

So : local residency for police (with local variations) -- eg cadet programmes. Inclusivity pilot projects -- and monitoring [and big roles for CoP] [assumes no mobility between forces?]


[Some recent controversies rage about this topic. It is complex and specialist so I am going to summarise only the headline issues. Lots of the issues raised by Sewell in general figure here as well]

'The Commission rejects the common view that ethnic minorities have universally worse health outcomes compared with White people; the picture is much more variable. ... For many key health outcomes, including life expectancy, overall mortality and many of the leading causes of mortality in the UK, ethnic minority groups have better outcomes than the White population. This evidence clearly suggests that ethnicity is not the major driver of health inequalities in the UK but deprivation, geography and differential exposure to key risk factors... More needs to be done to investigate why some ethnic minority groups are doing better than others, exploring whether it is due to differences in important risk factors, family structures, better social networks, or health behaviours such as drinking alcohol and smoking....For some health conditions there is variation within the broader ethnic group. For example, the risk for many cancers had significant differences for Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups.' (200)

In Scotland, life expectancy is higher in the larger ethnic minority populations and for the white Scottish groups, 'despite higher levels of deprivation' (201). 'Overall age standardised mortality rates — which are closely correlated with life expectancy — in 2019 were 26% lower in black and salvation people than for white people, again despite high levels of deprivation'. There were significant intra-white differences according to deprivation, with a difference of 10 years [regionally]. However there is limited data on 'healthy life expectancy and it may be the case that women in Pakistani and Indian ethnic groups had shorter healthy life expectancy despite having longer life expectancy overall'. Nevertheless, 'of the 25 leading causes of premature mortality as measured by years of life lost, people from South Asian, black and Chinese ethnic groups have better outcomes than white people in more than half'.

[Then details about these leading causes of death which I will not cover. I will cut straight to the chase about a current controversy – maternal mortality]

The background is that in 2018, 'the stillbirth rate in England reached its lowest level on record… 4 still births per thousand births.... 209 women died during or up to 6 weeks after pregnancy from causes associated with pregnancy… 2,280,459 women gave birth overall. 9.2 women per 100,000 [that is 0.0092%] died during pregnancy or up to 6 weeks after childbirth overall. [So we are looking at absolute figures here again, before looking at relative ones], and overall 'maternal deaths are fortunately rare in the UK'.

However 'poor outcomes are higher for mothers and babies from black and Asian ethnic groups, particularly those born in Asia or Africa, and for women living in the most deprived areas of the country' (218). Again they want to remind us of absolute numbers — 34 black women died among every 100,000 giving birth, and 15 Asian women, while 8 white women among every 100,000 giving birth [so, relatively this still looks very alarming of course, with more than four times as many black women as white women dying]. This needs to be better understood and explained and there is long-term work being done on it. It should be a priority.

The Report looks at inequalities that have 'arisen over decades' and refers to unequal distribution of determinants of health 'such as employment, income, housing, social networks, education and access to green space' [but they have already argued that these also affect white working class people as well]. They also refer to 'healthcare inequalities' such as differential access to services and treatment 'although they have a minor role'. There may be 'differences in attitudes to different forms of health care across ethnic groups', such as 'higher avoidable hospital admissions among South Asian groups in Scotland compared to white Scottish groups, especially among Pakistani men and women' (219) and primary care might be needed to address this. There was little variation in terms of hospital length of stay or unplanned readmission.

[Activists want to talk about racist discrimination, of course -- see the Birthrights Report]. Sewell does not consider this sort of work at all but relies  on more formal statistics: there is 'little difference in measures of patient satisfaction with received hospital care. 2018-19 the average satisfaction score out of a hundred was 77 for black African people, 69 for Bangladeshis, 73 for Pakistanis, 76 for white British [what about black Caribbean?][ I looked up the actual survey on and found that the white Irish groups were the most satisfied. The data did not include patients receiving maternity or mental health treatment, however. The score for black Caribbeans was 75, about the same for all the black and mixed groups]. The same sort of figures are found with experience of GP services, 70% for black Caribs but only 59% for Bangladeshis. [There is some basic data on covid 19 but it is incomplete and difference between the ethnic groups seems to be produced by differences in risk of infection 'as opposed to ethnicity alone, although there is some evidence that messaging was too often aimed 'at a single homogeneous ethnic minority group and 'participants reported that they felt this was stigmatising' (221)]

In mental health terms, 'Black people are 8 times more likely to be subjected to community treatment orders than white people and 4 times more likely to be detained' (222), especially for black others, but this may be used for people whose specific ethnicity is not known. Rates are lower for black African and Black Caribbean groups, lower still for Asian groups but still higher than white groups  and all except Indian and Chinese. Is this evidence of racism? If we benchmark it against 'disparity in the prevalence of mental illness', a recent meta-analysis concluded 'there were significantly higher risks of diagnosed schizophrenia among ethnic minority groups and that they were most pronounced among black groups'. The relative risk for black Africans was six (compared with White British and for black Caribbean five. Other groups had less elevated risks. Adverse social circumstances 'including racism and hardship' seem most likely as causes, especially racism according to a recent report which can lead to 'chronic stress' and 'weakened resilience'(223).

[So there is acknowledgement of racism here -- but it is very brief and they go on to merge it with the experience of migration]

There is some evidence that mental health difficulties are experienced by any minority and immigrant group 'including white minorities in majority white countries' such as male Irish travellers in Northern Ireland, or migrants to Denmark from Greenland, or white men from non-English speaking countries in Australia. There are also genetic and epigenetic factors, childhood environment such as family relationships again and stressful life events, to which many ethnic individuals may be more exposed.

Black and Asian people with mental health needs 'are less likely to be receiving treatment' a  study concludes, and less likely to have contacted a GP. They were only slightly more likely than white British people to be receiving healthcare, while black Africans were less likely. This lack of uptake 'may stem from fears that mental health provision is discriminatory' (224), and this lack of trust appeared in evidence given to the commission. However, they do not think that this evidence offers enough 'support the claims of discrimination' and sees the problem instead as 'one of convincing vulnerable people in ethnic minorities that mental healthcare provision is neither a threat nor a punishment, but something genuinely helpful' and should be met with targeted public awareness problems [targeted this time not universal] to reduce stigma and coercive entry. There is a guide being produced.

There is also need for further and better data which will involve better representation of ethnic groups, and some is being generated. Such as Our Future Health, which intends to study 'the most diverse cohort ever recruited in the UK with up to 1 million participants from ethnic minorities' (226). Other case studies give examples of multiple language leaflets and special information on covid. Generally, individuals and communities should be encouraged to be more energetic and improve their own health outcomes, for example diabetes in South Asian groups, high blood pressure in black groups and many cancers in white groups which are associated with modifiable risk factors — diet, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol (228). We can learn from American case studies.

We might need an Office for Health Disparities to target health disparities, an independent body working alongside the NHS, undertaking research, including the barriers to participation and health education, again with an expert panel providing nationwide advice including community liaison contacts. Lots of high-powered medics have supported this.


'The reality is no longer captured by the old idea of BAME versus White Britain.... We were established as a response to the upsurge of concern about race issues instigated by the BLM movement. ... our experience has taught us that you do not pass on the baton of progress by cleaving to a fatalistic account that insists nothing has changed.... nor do you move forward by importing bleak new theories about race that insist on accentuating our differences. It is closer contact, mutual understanding across ethnic groups and a shared commitment to equal opportunities that has contributed to the progress we have made.... Too many people in the progressive and anti-racism movements seem reluctant to acknowledge their own past achievements, and they offer solutions based on the binary divides of the past which often misses the point of today’s world.'