Letter to Editor: Harlow community leaders say Black Lives Matter

News / Tue 9th Jun 2020 at 08:21am

Dear Sir,

MANY people in Harlow, seeing the appalling murder of George Floyd will comfort themselves that this is an American issue and that we in the UK have progressed to a much fairer multi-cultural society. But look at this data from the UK and think again.

• Black mothers were five times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers between 2014 and 2016.
• In 2018 unemployment in the black population was twice the rate for the white population
• BAME workers earn 21% less than the rest of the population
• Black people are more likely to be designated statutory homeless and are less likely to be home owners
• Black people are ten times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people.
• Black people are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than white people.
• Black offenders serve 50% longer prison sentences than white offenders
• Black offenders are twice as likely to be refused bail as white offenders
• Black people have shorter life expectancy than white people by 9.2 years for men and 7.1 years for women

From birth to death the BAME community is disadvantaged. Most of this data was collected by government organisations and it begs the question, why collect the data if so little is being done to address the problems? Even the COVID crisis has highlighted racial inequalities. Government research showed that the BAME population is many times more likely to die as a result of the infection, but no recommendations were made as to how to address this and protect BAME communities.

A BAME nurse I spoke to from PAH told me of the appalling symptoms she had endured when she contracted COVID and suggested that the higher prevalence of the infection in the BAME community was as a result of “BAME workers occupying more of the lower grade jobs, the band 5,6 and 7 jobs that involve hands on exposure to patients”. What was more encouraging was that the nurse went on to say things are improving, “for the first time there is now a BAME representative at the highest level of the organisation as the director of HR and the CEO has expressed his determination to root out racism in all its forms, but we need to remain vigilant and ensure that opportunities to progress exist for all staff.”

Herty, the founder of the charity Community Embrace told me, “there is nothing as painful and humiliating as being on the receiving end of a social snub or societal rejection due to your ‘colour’ or race. Take for instance – sitting on a bus with the last empty space next to you and every attempt to humbly offer an elderly lady the seat only results in a stern look or a snap response – not interested, yet when another seat becomes available half way through the journey the same lady is fast to take it.

“Our mission at Community Embrace continues to encourage everyone to take a minute to look beyond their usual lifestyle and recognise that behind that ‘colour’ there is a genuinely decent, heart-warming and caring individual who means no harm but only wants to be accepted just as any human being and shown love, respect, kindness and be valued without prejudice or their language barrier”.

So, whilst the outrage has focussed on the death of George Floyd, please do not think this was an isolated incident. Racism is prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic and we should all be doing what we can to combat it. Neela Hibberd of the Harlow Ethnic Minority Umbrella urges all Harlow residents to “report racism, overt or otherwise” and her organisation stands ready to help. They can be contacted at [email protected].

Your sincerely

Mark Ingall

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3 Comments for Letter to Editor: Harlow community leaders say Black Lives Matter:

2020-06-09 11:22:31

Thank you for the tangible evidence of racism being present in the UK, albeit covert. Racism is not a US or UK or one specific country issue - it is a worldwide pandemic - hence protests all over the globe. The death of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel's back after years of people suffering at the hands of others, purely because of the colour of their skin. Racism quote is 'prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.' A further step needs to be taken in educating others, from the schools to the workplace for people to really understand. Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in his own image. Therefore, no one should judge or treat another person differently because we are all the same.

2020-06-09 12:29:13

For clarification, bands 5, 6 and 7 in nursing are staff nurse, sister and ward manager respectively. Still very much patient facing and front line but not quite, I think, what Cllr Ingall was trying to express.

m ingall
2020-06-09 15:23:09

Nit picking Hardware tries to divert from the uncomfortable statistics in this piece. For his information, the bands quoted were given to me by the nurse I spoke to.

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