Last night in Westminster, Cumberland Lodge launched its new report, Race in Britain: Inequality, Identity, Belonging, marking the culmination of a 12-month project to explore how inequality, identity and belonging intersect with race today.

It presents practical, cross-sector recommendations for diagnosing ongoing discrimination and inequalities, and driving effective change.

Guest panellists at the launch event, held at Mary Sumner House, were: Sunder Katwala (Director, British Future), Dr Zubaida Haque (Deputy Director, The Runnymede Trust), and the report's author, Dr Farhan Samanani (Research Associate, Cumberland Lodge; and a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religion and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen).

Race in Britain: Inequality, Identity & Belonging offers a unique, cross-sector insight, drawing on the combined experience of academics from a wide range of disciplines, policymakers, charities, business leaders, community practitioners and activists, and young people, from across the UK.

'Lingering inequalities'

It argues that, ‘Meaningful change will not come from focusing questions of discrimination and inequality around overt racism alone’ and that ‘lingering inequalities’ are ‘closely tied to forms of structural, institutional and unconscious racism’.

It also explores the idea that, ‘Today, minority communities in Britain are marked by a high degree of creativity and diversity. These qualities mark ostensibly traditional movements, just as much as they mark attempts to explore new identities through art, or the rejection of identity labels altogether. In many cases, new identities no longer fit the neat labels of race, ethnicity or culture’.

The report urges policymakers, and society more widely, to acknowledge that, ‘Inequality and discrimination need to be seen not simply as problems impacting on minorities, but as deeply implicating majorities as well’. It warns of the dangers of ‘tick-box approaches to identity’, and of creating ‘unofficial gatekeepers or spokespeople’ for minority communities that exclude other voices.

Recommendations

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Focusing on the way we approach history and education, through an understanding that they are formative areas for the shaping of attitudes towards race, equality and belonging
  • Finding better ways of highlighting Britain’s long history of migration in both the school curriculum and through national media
  • Drawing on the important role that faith communities can play in providing connections, resources and a ‘commitment to togetherness’.

The report’s author is 

Dr Jan-Jonathan Bock, Programme Director at Cumberland Lodge said, ‘We carried out an initial, interdisciplinary review of current research and thinking around race, to help inform our discussions, and we went on to convene a two-day, multi-sector conference in partnership with the race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust in November 2018, from which many of the key themes and recommendations in this report emerged.

‘Those ideas were reviewed and refined at an expert consultation held in May this year, involving conference representatives and further specialists, before being presented in our final report today.’

The report’s recommendations, which are each expanded on in full in the report, are:

Diagnosing discrimination and inequality:

  1. Pay attention to different causes of discrimination
  2. Look at both personal cases and overall trends
  3. National audits and public platforms matter
  4. Distinguish carefully between legitimate and overly prejudiced concerns around diversity
  5. Build relationships, and embrace pluralism
  6. Inequality and discrimination are also problems for majorities to act on

Driving effective change:

  1. Speak to existing values and focus on potential
  2. Pay attention to the relationship between discrimination and inequality
  3. Support communities, don’t just call on them
  4. Make sure your approach is robust and credible
  5. Representation matters

In his Foreword to the report, our Chief Executive, Edmund Newell, said, ‘We look forward to seeing how it inspires positive action to tackle the causes and effects of social division across society, at a local and national level’.

Read the report

The full report is available to read on-screen or download in pdf, here. Print copies are also available: please email us at programmeteam@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk to request one.

Clips from the launch event will be published shortly.