Dear Readers,

NHS England will soon begin collecting data about ethnicity on who is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine following backlash and accusations of potential bias. Note that there are still concerns about the lack of equivalent data available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The aim is to better understand community gaps and counteract misinformation about vaccines among Black Asian and minority ethnic communities. “Vaccine hesitancy” may also itself be the result of a longer history of “medical racism”, as highlighted by the media this week (Please scroll to read these news stories below.).

However, does the recording of ethnicity data also raise questions of potential risks relating to data use and privacy in the long run?

This week’s ‘Black and Asian News’ also includes links to several “reports” on issues as varied as media diversity, work, education, health and the justice system.

The resource that I think may be of interest to many of you is produced by “Mental Health At Work” and is called “Being anti-racist in the workplace Toolkit”.

Keep Well and Safe,

Thushari Perera


Twitter @Blackeresources

Read the blog here if this newsletter does not upload properly.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Steve McQueen execs two new docs for the BBC, Televisual, 29 January 2021

“Black Power (1×90), for BBC Two, is about the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s and Subnormal (1×60), for BBC One, examines how black children in the 1960s and 1970s were disproportionately sent to schools for the so-called ‘educationally subnormal’.”

PRS Foundation launches Power Up initiative to tackle anti-Black racism in music, NME, 25 January 2021

“The programme has been shaped by over 80 Black music professionals”

Bhanu Kapil wins TS Eliot poetry prize for ‘radical’ How to Wash a Heart, The Guardian, 24 January 2021

“It beat works by poets including JO Morgan and Natalie Diaz to the £25,000 prize, which counts among its former winners Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney.”

The big picture: Roy Mehta’s love letter to the London borough of Brent, The Guardian, 25 January 2021

“The photographer captures the community spirit of one of Europe’s most multicultural urban areas”



Image by Eduardo RS from Pixabay

CDN report slams UK broadcasters for “significant imbalances” in racial & gender roles, TBI Vision, 27 January 2021

“The number of contributions from people of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds working off-camera for the main UK broadcasters – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky – has fallen over the past year, as has the number of women working in senior positions, according to the Creative Diversity Network (CDN).”

Edinburgh TV Fest launches podcasts for black creatives – Televisual, Televisual, 26 January 2021

“The TV Foundation- the charitable arm of the Edinburgh TV Festival is to launch a new interview podcast series SAY IT LOUD. Conceived and hosted by columnist, writer and presenter Jackie Adedeji, the series features up-close interviews with emerging and established UK black creatives in the media industry and TV landscape.”


Barbara Blake-Hannah urges media giant Fremantle to ‘repair the racist wrong’ done by Thames in 1968, Press Gazette, 25 January 2021

“Blake-Hannah, now 79, said: “I feel I should have been compensated then, for all that I suffered and all that I lost. The time that has passed is not important. I am still alive and my life has never recovered from the loss of my job and my earning potential.”

Diversify newsroom campaigner: Jobs go to privileged white colleagues who don’t need to apply, Press Gazette, 22 January 2021

“It’s one of the reasons I’m asking journalists to support a campaign to #DiversifyTheNewsroom. I’m just one of many journalists of colour, already woefully underrepresented in our newsrooms (black journalists represent 0.2% of our industry and Asians 2.5%, while white journalists make up 94%), who has felt the effects of corona-culling.”


BBC ‘splurged’ more than £1 million of licence-payer money fighting women and BAME staff in court, The Scotsman, 22 January 2021

“The £1,121,652 figure covers three-and-a-half years, and paying for free TV licences for over 75s would cost £750 million a year, according to the corporation.”



Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How employers can avoid ‘performative allyship’, Yahoo Finance, 28 January 2021

Unemployment figures reveal huge race disparities in the UK. Coronavirus pandemic-fuelled job cuts have disproportionately affected black, Asian and other minority ethnic workers, who experienced a 5.3% drop in employment in the year to September 2020, compared to 0.2% of white workers. …performative allyship is when companies say they are against a certain type of injustice, without doing the hard work of changing their behaviour or the structures that uphold these problems, the Catalyst report Allyship and Curiosity Drive Inclusion for People of Color at Work states. Not only does this negatively affect the causes, but also employees too.”


WEF launches anti-racism workplace coalition, DiversityQ, 26 January 2021

“Forty-eight organisations headquartered in three continents, representing 13 industries and with more than 5.5 million employees worldwide have committed to anti-racism and building more equitable and just workplaces. The firms, including AlixPartners, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, BlackRock, Bloomberg, Boston Consulting Group and more, have joined the new Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative, announced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) at it’s annual Davos conference 2021.”

Difficult headlines shouldn’t scare firms off admitting they’ve got work to do on equality, City A.M., 27 January 2021

“While I was proud to be one of the very first companies [PwC] to voluntarily do so, some of the headlines were stark, even prompting my teenage daughter to ask me; “Do you really pay minorities less”?…I believe this is an important part of driving change and it’s also an opportunity to understand what pay gap reporting is and what it is not. Once you have the data, it’s important to interrogate it. For example, the median Black pay gap across our business, including our partners, is 8.3 per cent.”

Programme launched to support ethnic minority future leaders in hospitality, The Caterer, 27 January 2021

“Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (WiHTL) has launched a programme in partnership with McDonald’s UK & Ireland to support ethnic minority leaders in the hospitality, travel and leisure sector with their progression into more senior roles.”

Black Training and Enterprise Group: ‘Build back better must also mean building back fairer for our young people’, The Voice, 24 January 2021

“We need to hear the views of young people and to know what is important to them – their views on COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, mental health, education and their employment prospects. 2021 marks 30 years since BTEG was established. To mark this anniversary, we are conducting a national survey of young people from African, Caribbean, South Asian, South East Asian or mixed ethnic backgrounds.”

Being anti-racist in the workplace Toolkit, Mental Health At Work, 2021

More and more organisations are thinking again about their approaches to race, power, discrimination and related issues. It’s a matter of justice and equality, certainly – but it’s also a matter of wellbeing, and of supporting those around us.”

City firms publish toolkit on tackling racism, The Law Society Gazette, 25 January 2021

“Thirteen City firms have produced a handbook to help solicitors talk about racism in the workplace, including practical guidance about ‘micro-aggressions’ and how to respond to racist comments.”

One in ten workers in Wales don’t have a good understanding of their workplace rights, Abergavenny Chronicle, 24 January 2021

“To find out more about the expert support available head to businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/workforce-rights-and-responsibilities.”



Image by Theleca Vick from Pixabay

Free anthology of black authors to be given to all primary schools in England, BBC News, 28 January 2021

“Reading charity BookTrust said the initiative was part of a drive to increase the diversity of voices in children’s literature. The collection, called Happy Here, is aimed at children aged seven and older and will be published on 5 August.”

Digital divide ‘locking children out of education’, BBC News, 29 January 2021

“An Ofcom report from 2020 estimates between 1.m and 1.8m children do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. Low-income households are also less likely to have an internet connection in their home, instead relying on expensive mobile phone data packages at a time when paying for weekly food and heating bills is already extremely challenging.”

Government action called for to lift HE students out of digital poverty, Jisc News, 18 January 2021

“By ignoring university students while helping other disadvantaged learners to study online, the government and telecommunications companies risk creating a ‘lost generation’ of young people who are missing out on their education.”

UK not doing enough to tackle Islamophobia in higher education, TRT World, 25 January 2021

“Universities are failing to recognise and take decisive action on Islamophobia, a report by London Metropolitan’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion finds.”



Image by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

It Takes A System – The Systemic Nature Of Racism And Pathways To Systems Change, Beyond Race And ROTA, January 2021

“A new report by Dr Sanjiv Lingayah and ROTA shines a light on systemic racism. It takes a system provides a clear definition of this slippery concept and outlines an agenda for dismantling systemic racism. This includes creative efforts to bring to life how systems function as well as the development, by advocates and activists, of blueprints to show what a system that centres racial and other justice looks like. Finally, to move towards a system that advances racial justice, we need proper funding for both the ‘fast’ work to deal with the crises of racial injustice and the ‘slow’ work of addressing systemic causes.” Download the report HERE. Also see the related blog.

EU citizens offered financial incentives to leave UK, The Guardian, 26 January 2021

“European nationals added to voluntary returns scheme, which can include flights and up to £2,000 for resettlement”

We need a cross-party poverty strategy that addresses the needs of everyone, PoliticsHome.com, 26 January 2021

“…since 2001 the proportion of the population in poverty has remained remarkably static at just over 20%. Our approach to rebuilding the fabric of our society, of “levelling up”, has to be more than rhetoric. Now is the time for substantive change.”

Barnardo’s Launch Specialist Helpline For Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Families During Lockdown, GRM Daily, 18 January 2021

“Named Boloh, the helpline offers children and families advice and support from trained specialist advisers who speak a range of languages and are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds. Boloh also provides therapeutic support as well as a live webchat facility.”



Image by Stux from Pixabay

Proportion of BAME children in UK youth custody at record high, The Guardian, 28 January 2021

“The government’s annual youth justice statistics, published on Thursday, show that more than half of young people in custody are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background (BAME), a situation that the shadow justice secretary, David Lammy, described as a “national scandal”. The figures show a significant rise in the overall use of pain-inducing restraint techniques since 2018-19.”

Report: Nine out of 10 object to police fingerprint scanning devices connected to immigration database, The JusticeGap, 27 January 2021

“The report’s authors highlight the fact that black and minority ethnic people are more than three times more likely to have their fingerprints scanned compared to white British and Irish people.”



Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

NHS to start recording COVID-19 vaccine ethnicity data, HealthcareITnews, 28 January 2021

“NHS England (NHSE) will now publish ethnicity data on who is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, following backlash and accusations of potential bias…However, there has been some concern as to the outcome of collecting ethnicity data. Jabeer Butt, the chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, although in support of ethnicity data collection, worried that, with the current prioritisation, ethnicity data could lead to misconceptions about a lack of uptake amongst ethnic minorities. He said, considering that only 3% of the UK’s over 80 population are from BAME groups, “current debates about vaccine hesitancy need to be treated with caution” in order that BAME communities are not stigmatised. NHSE were initially resistant to including ethnicity data, highlighting that it is already stored in patient records linked to the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) of which Pinnacle is a part. Data, however, suggests that ethnicity is recorded in only 60-70% of GP records.”

Like Kamala Harris, I have Black and Indian heritage – which makes some Indians very uncomfortable, the Independent, 26 January 2021

“The cure for racism isn’t in elevating a few individuals who then become the exception, but in ensuring equality is served across the board”

Biracial Britain by Remi Adekoya review: turning assumptions upside down, The Evening Standard, 25 January 2021

“Biracial Britain documents rich, poor, old, and young mixed-race people; ancestries spanning from Colombia to China, India to Italy. What unites them is, arguably, what unites everyone: navigating the tensions between how society sees you and how you see yourself.”



Image by Elf-Moondance from Pixabay

NHS to collect ethnicity data in a bid to tackle stigma, London News Online, 29 January 2021

“NHS England will begin collecting data about ethnicity when people receive their Covid-19 vaccinations in a bid to tackle stigmas in certain ethnic groups… “Having access to vaccine uptake data recorded by ethnicity will help the Government, NHS and local authorities to discern where there might be gaps in the supply of doses, and where to target multi-lingual public health messaging campaigns to counteract misinformation and concerns towards the vaccine within the community”.”

Study reveals depth of BAME health inequality in England, The Guardian, 28 January 2021

“Impact in some ethnic minority groups equivalent to being 20 years older than actual age, study says…The new study, published in The Lancet Public Health, analysed responses from those registered at GP practices across England from July 2014 to April 2017. This included more than 150,000 people who self-identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group – the largest ever sample.”

Medical racism is to blame for vaccine scepticism among Communities of Colour, The Canary, 28 January 2021

“SAGE recently highlighted the issue of trust as a key factor contributing to high coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority groups in the UK…Though online misinformation is partly to blame, vaccine hesitancy among BAME communities is the result of a longer, darker history of racism in medicine and healthcare. From the birth of modern gynaecology to the birth control pill, much of western medicine was developed through the oppression, exploitation, and violation of Communities of Colour by white medical professionals. The impact of these abuses endures today.”


NHS England criticised over missing ethnicity data for covid-19 jabs, New Scientist, 27 January 2021

“NHS England didn’t answer questions about when the recording of ethnicity data for covid-19 vaccinations began, nor about when the data would be published…There are also concerns about the lack of equivalent data available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

‘49% more likely to die’ – racial inequalities of COVID-19 laid bare in study of East London hospitals, The Conversation, 27 January 2021

“As doctors working on the frontline of COVID-19 care, we wanted to understand the driving factors behind the differences in outcomes between ethnic groups within our community of East London, which was at the epicentre of the pandemic during the first wave. Our study included all of the 1,737 COVID-19 patients who were admitted to the five hospitals within Barts Health NHS Trust between January 1 and May 13 2020.”

Ealing author on child loss, grief and the blame culture surrounding South Asian mothers, SW Londoner, 26 January 2021

“The impetus to write the book came when I met up with a lovely lady who has a sick child and she was told exactly the same things that I was told: you need to do these fast days, your planets were not aligned when he was born, maybe it was because you ate this or because you washed your hair. “There are some really weird customs you are expected to follow for the health of your child and mothers can be blamed if they don’t.”

The three maps of London that tell a ‘profoundly depressing’ Covid story, MyLondon News, 25 January 2021

“This would fit with the fact that people in more deprived households are more likely to be unable to work from home, more likely to be using public transport to get to work. “I think it’s pretty profoundly depressing, although entirely unsurprising, given the government’s failure to implement proper policies to support the most vulnerable and economically precarious in society to actually follow government guidelines around self-isolation.”

New £7.6m fund to help BAME mothers and babies, Easterneye, 22 January 2021

“THE new £7.6million health and wellbeing fund will support 19 projects to promote nutrition, learning, language development and mental health during pregnancy and post birth in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities…The projects include Hestia Housing and Support, St Michael’s Fellowship, National Childbirth Trust, National Literacy Trust, Spurgeons, Ashiana Community Project and Murray Hall Community Trust.”



Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Racism in cricket: 14 BAME players report racism in cricket survey, BBC Sport, 28 January 2021

“Key findings: 44 players – including 14 from BAME backgrounds – had witnessed and/or experienced racism. 45% of those who experienced or witnessed racism said it came from another player, with 39% saying it came from fans or on social media. 62% of those who experienced or witnessed racism said it was disguised as ‘banter’. 70% of respondents said increased education was needed.”

Generation Next: Kyra Edwards on tackling stereotypes and changing the face of rowing, BBC Sport, 27 January 2021

“‘I didn’t put too much thought into being the only black person in the GB rowing team when I was a junior, but at uni there were more conversations about race, segregation and injustice and that’s when I started to become more aware,’ she recalls. In the years since, Edwards has regularly spoken about her experiences to raise awareness and provoke change in an attempt to improve diversity in the sport”



Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

UNHCR warns asylum under attack at Europe’s borders, urges end to pushbacks and violence against refugees, UNHCR, 28 January 2021 

“‘The pushbacks are carried out in a violent and apparently systematic way. Boats carrying refugees are being towed back. People are being rounded-up after they land and then pushed back to sea. Many have reported violence and abuse by state forces.’…The 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law require states to protect the right of people to seek asylum and protection from refoulement, even if they enter irregularly. Authorities cannot automatically deny entry to or return people without undertaking an individual assessment of those in need of protection.”

Has the EU’s vaccine rollout lost Brussels support in poorer nations?, Euronews, 21 January 2021

“This follows a pattern for non-EU high-income countries in Europe, such as Switzerland and the UK, which have secured large numbers of jabs for their populations in bilateral deals with manufacturers. But those on the lower-income scale in the European neighbourhood are lagging behind.”

Hungry for change: An open letter to European governments, Modern Diplomacy, 17 January 2021

“In 2020, the entire world knew what it was to be hungry. Millions of people went without enough to eat, with the most desperate now facing famine. At the same time, isolation took on a new meaning, in which the lonely and most remote were deprived of human contact when they most needed it, while the many victims of Covid-19 were starved of air. For all of us, the human experience fell far short of satisfying even the most basic needs.”


 Why the death of a black man caused outrage in Belgium, TRT World, 15 January 2021

“As the news of a young Black man’s death in police custody spread across Brussels on January 9, hundreds of people came out onto the streets to protest the killing. At least 110 protesters, including 30 minors, were arrested as clashes broke out, injuring several police officers… “All the existing legislation in Europe and also in Belgium focuses only on the individual level of racism,” Juliana Santos Wahlgren, the senior advocacy officer at European Network Against Racism, told Belgian magazine Bulletin last year.“Everything structural – for instance, discrimination in the labour market, or Zwarte Piet –  and everything institutional, for instance, police brutality, is not covered by these frameworks,” she said.”


 France: Building up pride to fight racism, Deutsche Welle, 21 January 2021

“A photographer from Guadeloupe uses pictures to help fight racism in France. He shoots portraits of the descendants of slaves in a bid to open up the eyes of France’s white bourgeoisie, and make black people more proud of their origins.”

Talks begin over French police reforms after public anger over violence, racism, abuse, France24, 25 January 2021

“In France, a nationwide debate is beginning over the country’s police services and what reforms need to be adopted. Recently, cases of abuse, excess of violence and racism has sparked outcry, especially after footage of police beating an unarmed black man in his own studio and the violent removal of an immigrant camping.”


 German neo-Nazi gets life in jail for murdering politician, AlJazeera, 28 January 2021

Stephan Ernst was found guilty of shooting dead a pro-refugee politician from Merkel’s party in what is believed to be Germany’s first far-right political assassination since World War II.


 Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission @_IHREC, 2021

“Learn more about our #AllAgainstRacism campaign”. Listen to “Challenge Racism” via RTE.”



 Proposed burka ban has solid support, poll finds, SwissInfo, 29 January 2021

“Asked about a possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the wearing of masks in public for hygiene, Mousson remains sceptical… The ballot on the proposed burka ban comes nearly 12 years after Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets, in what was seen as a political upset.”


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