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Defining and examining the history of race relations in the UK

Race relations

In a country as ethnically diverse as the UK the state of relations between different ethnic groups is a important issue.

In the media the term 'race relations' usually refers to the long and complicated history of ethnic minorities in the Britain and also to the tensions and racism that can exist within certain sections of our society.

The term 'race relations' can sometimes be overused in the media, for instance by stating that 'race relations are good' in London, but 'bad' in say Birmingham. Generalisations like this can fail to explain and highlight the local underlying problems like poverty and social deprivation which can cause and fuel racism. Consequently not identifying the real causes of poor race relations means these root problems cannot be addressed and tackled.
a group of young people from different ethnic backgrounds

On this page you will find links to a growing list of specific topics related to multicultural Britain. As this is a career and job site we will attempt to focus on and give information on diversity issues relating to employment and the economy.

So on our site you will find articles on the first large scale arrival of foreign nationals in the 1950's all the way through to current race relations legislation. Other areas that will be looked at include:-

  • The history of race relations in the UK
  • The causes of racism
  • How to tackle racism at work
  • Inequality at work
  • Job discrimination

Important milestones
There have been many milestones in race relations in the UK, from the landing of the Empire Windrush on these shores to the introductions of the Race Relations Act 1976 to the inner city riots of the early 1980’s. Each of these have had a wide ranging impact of the development of British society.

The positive point about race relations in the UK is that most people believe that substantial improvements and progress had been made on race equality in the last 15 years. Since the Stephen Lawrence murder and the subsequent Macpherson report.

Below we have listed some key dates from the last 60 years that Black and Asian people have been living in the UK.

1948 - The arrival of the Empire Windrush

1968 - Enoch Powell and his ‘River of blood speech’.

1976 - Race Relations Act 1976

1981 - Toxteth inner city riots

1987 – Election of four MP’s from the ethnic minorities
(Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz, Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng.)

1993 – Stephen Lawrence and the Macpherson report

Monitoring race relations
There are many long charities and organisations within the UK that regularly commission and carry out research into the state of British race relations.

Some of these institutions are think tanks and others are more policy orientated. All of them have the focus of trying to monitor and improve race relations between different ethnic groups within the country.The key responsibility of many of these groups is to firstly improve race relations and secondly to combat institutionalised racism where it exists.

On this site we will be providing information about and also the contact details of these organisations.

Related topics:

Ethnic classification

Political correctness


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