The recent report by our Patron, Baroness Lawrence, into how ‘structural racism’ has contributed to the disproportionate impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, upon on Black and Asian communities, has received much media attention this week.
In her report, Baroness Lawrence said these groups were “over-exposed”, faced “barriers” to healthcare and had also been scapegoated for Covid’s spread.
Prior to the report’s publication, a government adviser claimed that “structural racism” was not in itself a “reasonable explanation” for infection rates differing between ethnic groups and also suggested that focusing on other factors like people’s jobs and housing conditions would be more helpful; whilst another said that higher transmission rates among BAME group were more likely to be down to “a range of socio-economic and geographical factors”,
Systematic racism is, sadly, still entrenched within our society and it is undeniable that this is likely to have led to the effects outlined in her report.
As Baroness Lawrence goes on to say, “The impact of Covid is not random, but foreseeable and inevitable, the consequence of decades of structural injustice, inequality and discrimination that blights our society.”
The report also says that BAME workers ‘were more likely than white people to work in “frontline” jobs and come into contact with coronavirus’ and, when accessing healthcare, there was a “lack of cultural and language-appropriate communication”, with patients “not being taken seriously when presenting with symptoms.” BAME people were also “under-represented across the senior leadership of the NHS”.
Commissioned by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, in April, the report goes on to state that BAME communities had “also been subject to disgraceful racism as some have sought to blame different communities for the spread of the virus” and calls on ministers to outline a plan to tackle the rise in Hate Crime, with party leaders “issuing a joint statement condemning attempts to pit communities against one another”.
At Stop Hate UK, we see the damage caused by Hate, discrimination and prejudice and we understand the issues that these and many other underrepresented groups face every single day.
We are doubly concerned when we hear that these issues also affect the impact of the pandemic upon BAME communities and that there are ‘barriers’ to people accessing the healthcare and help that they need.
Baroness Lawrence’s report has received much attention, and also attracted some criticism, however, from our professional experience, the situation she describes is very much real and we applaud not only the commissioning of the report, but also Baroness Lawrence’s brave and thorough review in highlighting the real issues facing minority groups at these very difficult and challenging times.
To find out more about the work of Stop Hate UK and how you can help, visit www.stophateuk.org
You can read Baroness Lawrence’s Full Report Here: https://www.lawrencereview.co.uk/