Bristol Racist Incidents Persist

Despite an estimated rise of 16% in Bristol’s overall black and ethnic minority population (BME), racist incidents are on the increase.

The population of Bristol’s black and minority ethnic group has increased during the past decade, according to the 2011 Census. Migrants from Somalia and Eastern European countries account for much of the increase.  

Recently, Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI), a charity group whose aim is to support victims of racism, has published in its annual report that 349 individuals were subjected to racism in Bristol in 2012-2013 alone. SARI said that the number is 7% below compared to the previous year.

Yet it was revealed in the same report that some wards of Bristol experienced a steep rise in racist incidents in 2012-2013. Avonmouth, for instance, recorded an increase in race-related incidents. Then there is Brislington East where the number of incidents increased from 2 to 32, including the gruesome burning of an Iranian-born resident.

What is telling, though, is that wards experiencing higher numbers of racist incidents are also those wherein ethnic diversity is on the rise. Both Brislington East and Avonmouth are wards wherein BME population increased. In Lawrence Hill, the ward considered to be the most diverse in terms of ethnicity, it is reported that 51 racist incidents took place in 2012-2013, the highest rate in Bristol.

Much has changed since the Bristol Bus Boycott and the passage of the Race Relations Act. But still racism persists in Bristol. In a March 2014 report, the BBC even quoted an Avon and Somerset Police Deputy Inspector who stated that racist incidents in Bristol are on the rise.

SARI and other charities are heading projects that aim to mobilise more case workers to help victims of racism in Bristol, but there is no doubt more needs to be done to address the problem of racism in the city.


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