By Joshua Robinson –
The most extensive survey of Black British people has found just 1 in 10 Black Brits, or 12%, were ‘definitely proud’ to be British.
The Black British Voices Research project (www.bbvp.org) – was a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, the Voice newspaper, and I-Cubed, who surveyed over 10,000 Black Brits across sixteen topics, including Britishness, Identity, and Racism.
Less than half of the survey’s respondents (49%) were ‘definitely’ or ‘somewhat’ proud to be British, while over a third of young Black Brits (39%) did not regard Britain as their ‘permanent’ home.
98% of the respondents said they have had to compromise who they are or how they express themselves to fit into the workplace, including changing hairstyles, with appearance and cultural background cited as factors influencing lack of promotion or opportunities to develop at work.
The shocking findings show the impact of systemic racism on the Black community’s sense of belonging, even though Britain has had a large, settled Black population since 1948 when the Empire Windrush arrived.
It reinforces the lifelong inequalities affecting Black communities from the early 1940s and 50s. It serves as a reminder that these communities still cannot distance themselves from the challenges experienced in the Windrush era.
One of the Focus Group participants, a female aged 24, commented that the challenges exist today: “When I was younger, I believed I would have options. I don’t feel like that anymore, as I don’t fit in anywhere.”
Lester Holloway, Editor of The Voice Newspaper, said: “This study should be a wake-up call for Britain. We have many fourth-generation Black Brits, and, as a community, we should be feeling part of this country.
“Yet the lived experience of racism in every area of life is leading many to not feel British. We cannot keep ignoring racial disparities and its impact.
“There needs to be a national conversation about this, and we need race back on the political agenda, so we can tackle the causes of this disconnect between Black Brits and the only country they know.”
Dr Kenny Monrose, the lead researcher on this project at Cambridge University, said: “We are mindful that historically black communities have been wary of reports conducted on race, as they attempt to limit or invalidate the reality of their lived experiences.
“However, the carpet of data captured within this report reliably highlights the chronic level of racial disparities and unequal outcomes that they face on a daily basis.”
Other findings from the research included:
- 80% believed that racial discrimination was “the biggest barrier” to academic achievement, with just 8% having trust in the education system, and most respondents (95%) believing that Black people were not sufficiently represented in history in the national curriculum.
- 90% of young people expect to experience racial prejudice as adults.
- Race was viewed as more important to identity than religion (51% versus 7%)
The findings solidify the consensus many in black communities felt that much more needs to be done to address and eradicate the deep-rooted sources of anti-black racism in the UK.
OBE, Co-Founder of I Cubed Consultancy, Dr Maggie Semple, commented: “The overwhelming response to the survey shows that Black British people want change.
“Change for good, for them, their children and future generations. We can no longer overlook the lived realities of Black people in the UK and be non-committal in providing impactful long-term solutions.
“This is an opportunity to acknowledge our views and opinions, with the intent of creating a better future for us all.”
This project was launched in March 2020, bringing together a committed team of partners and supporters, including the M&C Saatchi Group, the Jamaica National Group, and the Black Equity Organisation (BEO).
The 104-page report was officially launched at the House of Commons at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, 28 September.
You can read the full findings on the University of Cambridge website here.