Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? poll sees high figure for racial abuse

The ITV poll found that 77% of black people questioned had been racially abused in the UK.

Hugh Quarshie and Marianne Jean-Baptiste star in the drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence as his parents.

77% of black people say they have experienced racial abuse or slurs in person, a new poll for ITV has found. The survey for ITV’s Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? which airs tonight at 8pm, found a total of 59 percent of ethnic minority people said they had experienced racial abuse in person occasionally or regularly, as part of which 77 percent of black people had been on the receiving end.

Sixty nine percent of ethnic minority respondents and 80 percent of black people say they have been asked ‘where they are really from’ – and sizeable proportions say this happens regularly while the ITV finding also showed sixty percent of black respondents (and 41 percent of ethnic minority people overall) feel they have been misperceived as angry, aggressive or as a threat.

A total of 53 percent of ethnic minority people and 76 percent of black people feel they have been viewed with suspicion, for example in shops, a total of 32 percent of ethnic minority respondents and 31 percent of black people say they have experienced violence or threats of violence in person and forty three percent of ethnic minority people and 50 percent of black people believe they have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

It also found respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds are unconvinced that levels of racism have decreased in Britain during their lifetime, with 32 percent saying racism has increased during their lifetime, a total of 29 percent saying it has decreased and 23 percent that it has not changed much. Taken together, this means 55 percent think there has not been a decrease in levels of racism in Britain during their lifetime.

Of the black people in the ethnic minority group polled, 34 percent said the level of racism in Britain has increased, with 25 percent saying it has decreased and 30 percent seeing not much change. Again, taken together this means 64 percent do not think that levels of racism in Britain have decreased during their lifetime.

Despite this, the view of the white section of the population polled is somewhat different, with nearly 39 percent saying it has decreased in their lifetimes, and just 27 percent of the population saying it has increased, and 24 percent not seeing much change.

Rageh Omaar, Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? is on ITV at 8pm tonight.

Taking those seeing an increase together with those seeing little change in racism over their lifetime means 51 percent of white Britons do not see progress being made. All racial groups agree on education as a key step going forward and support increased education on British history, including around the empire.

In total, 68 percent of the overall population polled strongly or generally support this, split into 68 percent of white people, 68 percent of ethnic minority respondents and 78 percent of black people. There is a split in opinion among racial groups on whether or not the Black Lives Matter movement has advanced the cause of racial equality.

White people are most likely to think it has not (44 percent), with 33 percent saying it has, and 23 percent who don’t know. People from minority ethnic backgrounds disagree, with 43 percent saying it has, 30 percent saying it has not, and 27 percent who don’t know. Black people more strongly feel it has (56 percent) vs just 23 percent who believe it has not, and 22 percent who don’t know.

Related News: ITV announces sequel to drama ‘The Murder of Stephen Lawrence’

The killing of George Floyd in the US triggered global protests with thousands also taking to the streets in Britain demanding an end to racial inequality here. Shown immediately before the re-broadcast of ITV drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, this special live programme features presenters Rageh Omaar and Anushka Asthana joined by a panel of high profile guests to examine how equal the UK really is and what needs to change. The programme will discuss how much Britain has changed almost three decades after the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.

At 9pm The Murder of Stephen Lawrence tells the story of the aftermath of Stephen Lawrence’s murder through the eyes of his parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence. The two-hour dramatisation recreates the fateful night in April 1993 when the 18-year-old A level student died after being attacked by a gang of youths in Eltham, south London.

The drama follows the family’s fight for justice including the public inquiry into the police investigation of the murder. Produced by Granada Television, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Stephen’s mother, Doreen, and Hugh Quarshie as his father, Neville.

The drama was written and directed by Paul Greengrass and first aired on ITV in February 1999. The poll by ITV/Number Cruncher Politics asked the opinions of a total of 3,065 UK adults, consisting of 1,563 white respondents, and 1,502 respondents from minority ethnic backgrounds, of whom 405 were black, between July 3 and July 12, 2020.

Anushka Asthana, Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? is on ITV at 8pm tonight.

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