Comment: Is the UK a racist country?

Is the UK a racist country? Although the issue has reared up in a big way in recent weeks thanks to some high-profile incidents, in my opinion it’s never gone away. Not really.

Institutional racism is undoubtedly on the decline but that doesn’t mean underlying attitudes have changed.

The most recent incidents mainly involve Twitter and/or football. Twitter provides a good platform for cowards to anonymously abuse people, but those attitudes and the people who hold them have clearly been festering away behind the scenes, waiting for an opportunity to express themselves. Some of the abuse directed at Stan Collymore in particular has been shocking.

This is not just a problem for football and social media outlets to sort out. Much like hooliganism in the 1980’s it is a symptom of deeper rooted issues in society.

It is casual racism that we now need to target. As an example, one of my old bosses, who was in a job of some power and influence, commiserated with an employee who was moving down to Leicester by saying there are some good things about the place but on the downside there were a lot of Asians living down there.

I’m sure everyone has a tale from drinking in a pub or bar with someone who makes racist jokes. Did you speak up or just laugh along? I’ve been as guilty as anyone for just letting it pass. Maybe that needs to change. This type of racism is so dangerous because people generally don’t challenge it, but if left unchecked it can grow into more serious prejudice.

It is just so pointless, divisive and ridiculous. Just because someone looks a bit different and maybe even talks a bit different, it really is beyond me why people can’t see past things like that.

The only way this is going to change is by people – us – actively trying to stop it. If everyone just once called someone out when they were being racist the problem could be reduced. Next time you’re in the pub don’t just laugh along at a racist joke, have a word.

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