(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. is not a “post-racial” society but issues around race and racism are becoming less important as educational achievement by ethnic minorities has created more opportunities for all, a report commissioned by the government in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests found.
After the death of George Floyd last year prompted riots in the U.S., mirror protests took place around the U.K. against perceived police racism and the poorer life chances for ethnic minorities. But the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities rejects the idea the U.K. is structurally racist.
“The well-meaning idealism of many young people who claim the country is still institutionally racist is not borne out by the evidence,” the report will say, according to extracts released before its publication Wednesday. Still, “overt and outright racism persists,” particularly online, it will say.
“The prime minister commissioned this report because he believed this was an extremely important issue for the country and that we want to tackle this, to go even further,” Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News on Wednesday. “We’re doing well as a country on the road to a post-racial society.”
The main opposition Labour Party criticized the report, calling it “disappointing.” Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Lisa Nandy told Sky News it “seeks to downplay” some of the structural nature of the challenges facing ethnic minorities in the U.K.
The report found that there is an improving picture in the U.K. including increasing diversity in elite professions and a shrinking ethnicity pay gap, though disparities remain. It also finds that children from many ethnic communities do as well or better than White pupils in compulsory education, with Black Caribbean pupils the only group to perform less well.
“Most of the disparities we examined, which some attribute to racial discrimination, often do not have their origins in racism,” the commission found. Still, some communities are “haunted” by “historic cases” of racism, creating “deep mistrust” in the system which could prove a barrier to success.
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