The UK is officially no longer institutionally racist, and in fact we should be seen as a shining example to other white-majority countries when it comes to tackling racism. These were just some of the conclusions of the recent Sewell Report, published by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
It is now almost 10 months since the tragic death of George Floyd and the ensuing global anti-racism protests. With the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer that caused the death of George Floyd, set to begin in the coming weeks, it is a good time to assess where we are in terms of the eradication of racism in the UK.
To say that 2020 has been an unusual year is an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the package of government measures introduced in response, continue to dramatically impact our day-to-day lives. Even the most ordinary activities are subject to myriad restrictions and we find ourselves consciously weighing up the potential risks that even the simplest acts pose to others. In these respects, the pandemic has highlighted issues that form the crux of debates concerning human rights and civil liberties.
Following the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been reignited, arguably reaching a greater number of people worldwide than when the movement was first initiated. It has led countries across the world to reflect on their own issues of systemic racism, police brutality, and in the case of the UK, their colonial past.
The video footage of the killing of George Floyd was horrific to witness. The image of a white police officer placing his knee on the neck of a black man in order to pin him to the ground was itself symbolic of centuries of oppression, and acted as the catalyst for anti-racism protests across the globe on a hitherto unprecedented scale.