The Race Relations Act @ 50
It is now 50 years since the introduction of the first Race Relations Act in 1965.
Race relations in Britain have come a very long way since cases like the Scala Ballroom and the Smethwick by-election of 1964. There is much room for celebration – Britain is arguably the EU member state to have made the greatest strides towards racial equality in many professions – from the police to politics.
Yet there is also plenty upon which to reflect: the last 50 years have included the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Police are 28 times more likely to stop and search black men: yet less than 3% of stops lead to an arrest. Employment agencies no longer accept ‘discriminatory vacancies’ but unemployment levels for Black Britons are much higher than their white peers – in 2011, 39.1% of black women aged 16-24 were unemployed.
2015 offers a unique moment to reflect upon legal action to prevent and remedy racial discrimination, as well as think forward and consider what may need to be done to continue this work successfully until 2065.
The British Academy, Carlton Terrace, London. Link to Map.