EDITORIAL

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Dear Readers,

Welcome back! You will find below, as usual, a round-up of Black & Asian News.

What do you think of the Social Mobility Commission’s chair Katharine Birbalsingh new vision of social mobility? It claims that there is “Too much focus on a small minority getting to the top” and that it will offer a broader view of social mobility: “The new social mobility index will track actual social mobility – comparing where people start and end, in their occupations, incomes, and other outcomes, all across the UK to show who is mobile, and where.” Does the Commission have a point? Or is the new measurement framework elitist and naïve in current social policy terms?

Also, if you have not read this month’s Black & Asian Heritage Mix’ yet, you can read it here.

 

Have a nice weekend!

 

Thushari Perera

 

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CULTURE, MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT

Solihull family to star in BBC’s Back in Time as show returns to Brum for new series, Birminghammail.co.uk, 9 June 2022

“The new series of Back in Time will explore the impact of arrivals from South Asia over the last 75 years. Today nearly 250,000 Brummies, more than a quarter of the city’s population, have Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan heritage…The series is presented by BBC Asian Network’s Noreen Khan and social historian Dr Yasmin Khan, and is made by Wall to Wall Media. It will air on BBC Two and iPlayer each day from 8:00pm from Monday June 20 to Thursday June 23.”

Racial diversity in soaps like Coronation Street isn’t enough to reflect real life, The Metro, 4 June 2022

“Soaps are supposed to reflect everyday life but there is a disparity between the cast of Coronation Street and real-world demographics…we at least need more multicultural writers who can create substantial storylines for the minority characters that are available…realise the importance of representation of substance. There is power in numbers. Don’t make us a ‘wacky twist’ or a ticked box. We deserve authenticity, just like everyone else.”

A 20-year-old set up a modeling agency to boost diversity – and Vogue, Burberry and Gucci are using its talent, Business Insider, 29 May 2022

“The Fashion Spot’s analysis of 685 magazine covers of 48 major titles found 52.9% models of color on covers in 2021 compared with 32.5% in 2017…”We’re seeing more models with darker complexions, wearing hijabs and from the trans community being featured…”

Review: ‘Lotus Beauty’ cleverly captures cross-generational female experiences, Eastern Eye, 28 May 2022

“The latest play from acclaimed writer Satinder Chohan was supposed to run in May-June 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic, and finally premiered at Hampstead Theatre in London, where it’s currently being staged.”

 

EMPLOYMENT & WORK

Amnesty International UK is ‘colonialist and institutionally racist’, damning inquiry concludes, The Independent, 16 June 2022

“An independent review found that racial discrimination, bullying and white savourism is endemic within the award-winning human rights charity.”

 

Construction blighted by skills shortage as sector steps up diversity efforts, Personnel Today, 16 June 2022

“The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has estimated that to meet demand for housebuilding, infrastructure projects, repairs and maintenance, the sector’s workforce must grow to reach 2.78 million by 2026. However, current projections suggest it will be 266,000 workers short, the Board stated in a new report, with 50,000 recruits needed a year…“We have to attract and retain those that are under-represented, in particular women and those from ethnic minorities”… Balcon added that 45,000 overseas workers had left the UK industry and not returned and that a lot of skilled workers, especially those in their fifties, had re-appraised their lives during pandemic lockdowns and had left the sector.”

Have workplaces changed since George Floyd?, The Conversation, 30 May 2022

“A study from market research firm Ipsos found 41% of British workers noticed a change in the way their company handled race related issues since April 2020, but 43% said any initial commitments to change didn’t last.  Frank Douglas, CEO and founder of HR consultancy Caerus Executive, said after initial performative acts companies have reverted to normal.”

TECH

Black and Asian workers ‘more likely to be monitored at work’ than white people, The Independent, 28 May 2022

“One in three (33 per cent) of minority workers said all their activities in the workplace were monitored, compared to less than one in five (19 per cent) white employees, polling carried out for the Trade Union Congress by Britain Thinks, a strategy consultancy company, shows.”

How self-publishing, social media and algorithms are aiding far-right novelists, The Conversation, 29 May 2022

“We found a group of about 15 novels by self-identified neo-Nazis and other white supremacists that were known to counter-terrorism experts. Others were not. These books were disturbingly easy to get, because they were sold on sites including Amazon, Google Play, and Book Depository. Publishing houses once refused to print such books, but changes in technology have made traditional publishers less important.”

EDUCATION

English universities over-reliant on overseas students’ fees, report warns, The Guardian, 15 June 2022

“Meg Hillier, the Labour MP who chairs the PAC, said:.. “Too many providers are too heavily dependent on overseas student fees to maintain their finances, research base and provision – that is not a satisfactory situation in a sector that government is leaning on to boost the nation’s notoriously, persistently low productivity.”… In another report published on Wednesday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says university students from the poorest households are seeing the value of their maintenance loans shrink as inflation increases more rapidly than forecast.”

Social mobility plan ‘in denial’ about inequalities, GG2.net, 16 June 2022

“It is unequivocally clear that social mobility within the UK is being limited for our black and minority ethnic communities as a result of institutional racism in both the country’s educational establishments and its workplaces. And yet, Birbalsingh’s speech shows yet more denial of these systemic problems and their undeniable impact on social mobility. As we emerge from a global pandemic and enter the greatest cost of living crisis in recent memory, the government should be offering an ambitious vision to uplift those who are suffering as a result of these systematic inequalities and ‘level up’ Britain for all its citizens”

What will change in schools when the new curriculum starts in September?, Wrexham.com, 16 June 2022

“Learning about Welsh history and the history and diversity of communities, in particular the stories of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, will be mandatory parts of the new curriculum… The Statements include an expectation that learners “can develop an understanding of the complex, pluralistic and diverse nature of societies, past and present. These stories are diverse, spanning different communities, as well as in particular the stories of black, Asian and minority ethnic people.””

 

GOVERNMENT, MIGRATION & COMMUNITIES

It’s not just the Rwanda flight scandal – the Home Office isn’t fit for purpose, The Metro, 16 June 2022

“Let’s not forget that we’re talking about a country with almost double the population density of the UK and yet, per capita, is already hosting five times as many refugees as us. And during Pride month, the cruel irony of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers being shipped off to a country where the Home Office admits they may face the very ‘ill-treatment’ and persecution that they fled in the first place, appears utterly lost on the Government…I’ve had several instances of asylum seekers in my constituency applying for British citizenship who have been waiting on a Home Office response, not for a few months, or even for a year – but for three whole years.”

UK deportations to Rwanda: What you need to know, Deutsche Welle, 15 June 2022

“The UK is in a legal battle over its policy to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The first charter flight of deportees was set to depart on June 14. But the European Court of Human Rights intervened minutes before take off on the grounds that the plan came with a “real risk of irreversible harm.” The British government plans to challenge the decision and has made promises to pursue more flights. ”Preparation for the next flight begins now,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said… London gave Rwanda 120 million pounds ($148 million, €138 million) to support asylum-seekers deported under the agreement.”

Diversity monitoring: what to collect and how to comply with the law, Lewis Silkin, 8 June 2022

“To improve the diversity of your workforce, you need to measure it, and this means collecting and monitoring data. But what questions should you ask employees about their individual characteristics and how can you handle that information lawfully? This article takes an in-depth look at these questions.”

Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru set to announce plan to make Wales an ‘anti-racist nation’ by 2030, Nation Cymru, 7 June 2022

“Some of the steps outlined so far will include: Education: The collection of data on reporting of racist incidents and harassment in schools and colleges… Health: The creation of The Maternity and Neonatal Safety Support Programme, which will develop interventions co-designed and developed with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people… Culture and sport: £4.25 million in funding over the next three years through the launch of an innovative grant scheme…”

 

What explains the UK’s racial wealth gap?, Economics Observatory, 6 June 2022

“Compared with white British households, ethnic minorities are more likely to live in households with lower levels of total net wealth and income, with fewer people in work. Differences in educational attainment and earnings are important for explaining wealth disparities among minority groups.”

 

Windrush scandal caused by ‘30 years of racist immigration laws’ – report, The Guardian, 30 May 2022

“Exclusive: legislation has been designed to reduce the UK’s non-white population, according to leaked government paper… A freedom of information request about the document was refused. Acknowledging that the subject was “a matter of legitimate public interest” and that “openness and transparency” were important, the request was nevertheless rejected on the grounds that the Home Office’s response to the Windrush scandal included “sensitive issues involving the development of policies”.”

 

JUSTICE & POLICE

Muslim Londoner sues police for discrimination after car boot blown up, The Independent, 15 June 2022

“A Muslim man has launched legal action against the police over alleged discrimination after officers blew up part of his car following an “Islamophobic” call from a member of the public. Hamza, who has asked for his surname not to be disclosed, was taking his disabled father to an appointment in central London when he received a call from a City of London Police officer notifying him a woman had reported his vehicle as suspicious.”

Black parents stand up, The Voice, 30 May 2022

“Diane Abbott’s popular black child conference returns…The legendary MP said that the new conference, targeted at black parents, was important to stop the criminalisation of black children by police in schools…The strip-search of Child Q led to large street protests in Hackney, where the incident took place in 2020. The case came to light after a safeguarding review found that racism and adultification of black children was a factor in the child’s treatment. It then emerged that 25 intimate searches were conducted by police on children in schools in that borough in the same year. 23 children were black and in almost all cases nothing incriminating was found.”

The police won’t acknowledge institutional racism in their race action plan – here’s why that matters, The Conversation, 30 May 2022

The race action plan, published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing, acknowledges racial disparities in stop and search and apologises for the “racism, discrimination and bias” that still exists within policing. But it avoids describing the police as institutionally racist, an omission which effectively rejects the findings of the 1999 Macpherson report…But unless police culture and wider societal attitudes change, it is unlikely that anti-racist training as proposed for individual officers will have much impact.

Ten boys are being locked up for offences they didn’t all commit, The Canary, 27 May 2022

“On 17 May, ten boys appeared at Manchester Crown Court in a conspiracy case. They didn’t kill anyone. But the jury found four boys to be guilty of conspiracy to murder, and six to be guilty of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH). As this was a conspiracy case, the prosecution didn’t need to convince the jury that violence had taken place, just that the boys had conspired to cause violence…Although the boys were not tried under the controversial joint enterprise doctrine, it follows the same principle of guilt by association and reflects many joint enterprise cases.”

FOOD

Diary of a food bank manager: Government measures are a start, not a solution, The Big Issue, 6 June 2022

“As the chancellor announced some long-awaited cash measures to help with the cost of living crisis, our food bank session was exceptionally challenging… This breathing space is going to be critical for guests. It will also be critical to food banks and other charities, like us, who are stretched to breaking point. Volunteers all over the country are dealing with ever more complex situations while managing the logistics of trying to distribute increasing numbers of food parcels while donation levels decrease.”

Free meals for homeless’ cafe in London’s East End at risk as donations dry up, The Guardian,  28 May 2022

“The founder of a London social enterprise that gives free meals to refugees and the homeless has said it is at risk of closure because the cost of living crisis has led to a collapse in sales and donations. Ruth Rogers, the founder of The Canvas in the East End of London, said there had been a dramatic collapse in trade in its cafe in recent weeks…The situation chimes with the experience of food banks, who report soaring demand but lower donations as rising living costs bite. This combination is creating a “perfect storm” for charities and social enterprises, according to recent research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).”

 

SCIENCE, HEALTH & WELL-BEING

NHS risks losing black and Asian doctors over ‘intolerable’ racism levels – report, The Guardian, 15 June 2022

“Landmark BMA report warns of mass exodus by medics and calls on health bosses to address discrimination.” Read the Report here.

 

Is there a racial disparity in cancer screenings across England?, Open Access Government, 9 June 2022

“According to new research, Black people are 38% less likely than white people to be diagnosed at cancer screenings in England…  Mixed-race patients were much more likely to be diagnosed via screening at 9.49%, and higher still in Asian patients at 10.09%, almost double the rate for black patients…We need to intensify efforts to improve uptake of screening.”

 

White NHS nurses twice as likely as black and Asian colleagues to be promoted – study, The Guardian, 8 June 2022

“Research by Royal College of Nursing suggests racism is ‘endemic’ in health and care…A survey of almost 10,000 nursing staff…The difference is most stark among those aged between 35 and 44, according to the RCN, which published the report at its annual congress in Glasgow. While 65.9% of white and 64% of mixed ethnic respondents in this age group said they had been promoted, this dropped to just 38.3% of Asian and 35.2% of black respondents.” Read the Report here

 

THE MONARCHY & ROYALS

Media coverage of the platinum jubilee makes me uncomfortable to work in this industry, The Independent, 5 June 2022

“Most of the UK’s media coverage around the Queen’s platinum jubilee has failed to examine the past 70 years through the lens of race, despite key events leading up to the occasion. Aside from a handful of insightful first-person pieces, parts of the press have exclusively gone with a celebratory tone of reporting around the event, failing to examine royal colonialism or include alternative perspectives, such as dissenting voices from within the growing republican movement.”

 

Brexit: From the comfort of the Commonwealth to the cold of British isolation, Le Monde, 5 June 2022

“The sense of the end of an era linked to Elizabeth II’s frail health risks reinforcing the country’s relative isolation from its former colonies, some of which have already severed this link…Unlike France, which sometimes got bogged down in its former colonies and never managed to get the International Organization of the Francophonie off the ground, the United Kingdom has maintained a flexible link with its former “dominions” in the form of a “community” of 2.5 billion people. The word “Commonwealth,” long synonymous with empire, has been cleverly retained to designate a group of independent states linked to London.”

Royal Lambrini and commemorative crisps? This jubilee is a marketing masterclass, The Guardian, 2 June 2022

“The platinum jubilee speaks to who we are now, which is obsessively consumption oriented, spending money we don’t have largely on credit. It is estimated that Britons will spend almost £1bn celebrating the bank holiday weekend, in spite of the rapidly advancing economic squeeze. We are low on productivity – four-day weekend anyone? – big on low-quality foods, and very, very keen on alcoholic beverages. The latter are available in jubilee-themed packaging to suit all budgets and backgrounds.”

Brands Release Special Products, Packaging for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, Wall Street Journal, 25 May 2022

“The Centre for Retail Research estimated consumers will spend the equivalent of $510 million during the Jubilee, including about $350 million for souvenirs and memorabilia and $150 million on festivities. “Tapping into moments like the Jubilee helps bring our brands top of mind and ultimately drives sales,” said Anke von Hanstein, senior brand manager for sauces at Kraft Heinz Co.”

GREEN

The ‘carbon footprint’ was co-opted by fossil fuel companies to shift climate blame – here’s how it can serve us again, The Conversation, 27 May 2022

“…in other words, calculating the emissions we’re responsible for as individuals – was originally promoted by oil giant BP to shift the burden of action (and blame) from fossil fuel companies to consumers… Here lies the problem: it may no longer be in anyone’s personal capacity to make changes great enough to reverse the damage already done. In a world where just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions, we need a total overhaul of the carbon-intensive systems around us instead…”

SPORT

Yorkshire Cricket Club charged by ECB after investigation into racism claims, Euronews, 15 June 2022

“Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a number of individuals have been charged following an investigation into racism claims made by former player Azeem Rafiq, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday, without naming the people in question.”

Calum Jacobs’s ‘A New Formation’ Looks at British Football Through a Black Lens, Esquire, 7 June 2022

A New Formation: How Black Footballers Shaped The Modern Game is a collection of essays from various contributors, including interviews with footballers such as Ian Wright and Andy Cole, bringing alive the richness and depth of Black footballers’ contribution to British culture and the legacy of their impact.”

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