Four white teenagers threw pebbles from the back of the 607 Bus’s upper deck at Asian passengers in front rows. When a victim protested, the boys jeered him. But they went downstairs when they realized that all other passengers were scowling at them. As soon as a brown-skinned man sat in the seat next to a white middle-aged woman vacated by a white man, the woman left the seat and stood up to the next station on the District Line Tube in London. Such things do not happen every day, few things do, but they do with uncertain regularity.
Let me start with a compliment. Most British are globally oriented, open-minded, reasonable, and respectful to minorities. When they know you, they could be warm and friendly to you. Many of them understand British compulsion to welcome immigrants to keep the British economy growing and enjoy the different faces, dresses, festivals and cuisines the growing diversity has brought in.
However, everyone is a closet racist, for we hold apprehension about unfamiliar, alien people. Most do not wear the sin in their sleeves. But some do either because of ignorance or simple malice, and a minority in the UK is no exception. They may have been misinformed: family and friends said bad things about minorities; employers fired them to hire minority workers to save money; they do not know their government has let the minorities in to meet labor needs or show compassion to the vulnerable. Some hate minorities simply out of ill will.
Consequently, every year, thousands of persons from minority groups face slight, insult, abuse and violence because of who they are. Official statistics capture only some of such incidents. For example, 41,318 race and religion related hate crimes were reported in 2010 and 37,623 (86 percent of 43,748) in 2011/12. Since the death of Stephen Lawrence killed in 1993, 96 people have been killed in race related attacks, says the Institute of Race Relations.
But official statistics misleading, for do not record all excesses against minorities. Most victims do not report such incidents for a variety of reasons: language constraint, lack of information, lack of recorded evidence, fear, etc. Since the Great Recession of 2008, minorities are so frightened by the anti-immigrant rhetoric from politicians, media and furloughed people and the anti-immigrant campaign of government like the Go Home vans to report such abuses anymore.
For instance, the statistics also do not capture the prejudice I witness every other day in public transport. Neither do they the fact that only one minority doctor gets promotion for every three white British doctors, or the case of the British girl of Indian ancestry who applied to 2,500 vacancies but never invited for an interview, until the story came out in the media.
Reporting inflates statistics, gives catharsis to the victims, though it also causes inconvenience to authorities. But non-reporting is explosive. It deepens the sense of injustice and doubles up...