The British government released the highly anticipated results of the “Race Disparity Audit” on October 10, seeking to reveal and highlight disparities of race and ethnicity. The audit was requested by Prime Minister Theresa May when she promised to address injustices in British society.
Information released in the study covered topics ranging from economics to the criminal justice system. May proclaimed that the audit is “Holding up a mirror to society,” and would “reveal difficult truths.” These difficult truths have turned out to be the overall advantage of whites in British society.
In nearly all measurable indicators of success, whites outperformed minorities in the UK. According to the Guardian, only 5 percent of British whites were unemployed compared to 8 percent of minorities. As expected, police officers were very likely to be white, while blacks were more likely to be arrested. White Britons, compared to black Britons, were more likely to own homes, less likely to be permanently excluded from school, and less likely to be convicted in court.
The audit however, also yielded unexpected results. Among poorer children, those from minority backgrounds have better educational attainment than white children. The Guardian reported that only about 33 percent of white British children who qualify for free school lunches reach expected educational standard in the core subjects; they are outperformed by comparable children of Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian, African, Pakistani, and Caribbean backgrounds. Additionally, 9 percent of white 15-year-olds smoke compared to only 2 percent of black teenagers.
White Britons reported the lowest levels of political efficacy, while black Britons reported the highest, according to the Washington Post. Significantly more blacks felt that they have the power to influence local decisions compared to their white peers. Indians in the UK had the greatest sense of happiness and meaning to their life; white were in the middle.
Besides race, another surprise came out of the audit in the form of a stark regional divide in the UK. The Guardian highlighted that education and employment opportunities, as well as sentiments among the population showed significant variation depending on location. The north displayed greater gaps in employment and schooling than the south. Southern regions with large minority populations such as Chelsea, Greenwich, and Kensington tended to boast strong performances from black children in school.
Certain hopeful statistics for minority communities do not diminish the overarching trend of great injustices and unjust distribution of opportunity within British society. The audit comes in the wake of the Guardian’s Colour of Power Project, which reported that only 3 percent of the UK’s top 1,000 most powerful and influential people were minorities. Furthermore only 0.7 percent of the list were female minorities.
While the audit itself does not take action to address the issues at stake, it presents important and eye-opening statistics to both politicians and the public. The data is difficult to ignore, and represents only the first step in a pivot toward domestic affairs following Brexit. May plans to ask for new measures in areas particularly affected by societal injustices, including increased efforts in English, math, and vocational training.