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Carol Young

Carol Young

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Glasgow is part of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, and as part of this coalition people in Glasgow are being asked to contribute their experiences to help shape a travelling play that will tour Europe.

If you have experienced discrimination, you can tell your story online at www.discriminations.eu. The organisers (the City of Liège and ECCAR) are looking for examples of all kinds of discrimination, whether related to race, disability, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief.

Selected stories will be used to develop the play at the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Liège.

Please share this information with friends, colleagues and communities so we can ensure Glasgow is well represented alongside our fellow ECCAR cities in this exciting project.

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For the first time, detailed information on stop and search at a local level has been made available through Police Scotland’s
Local Policing Management Information reports. Carol Young explores what this data tells us about race equality in stop and search.

Institutional racism in stop and search has long been seen as one area where England and Scotland diverge in terms of race equality. Inequalities are well evidenced south of the border, with people from Black communities six times more likely to be stopped and searched in England and Wales in 2010.

In Scotland, stop and search is generally more prevalent than it is in England and Wales. This may be at least partly due to differences in legal powers, with non-statutory[1] stop and search being prohibited in England and Wales since 2003. Looking at Police Scotland’s preferred measure of stop and search, the rate per 10,000 people, stop and search rates are almost seven times higher in Scotland than in England and Wales (1,285 stop and searches per 10,000 people compared to 180). Comparing the two areas with the highest rate of stop and search, Cleveland in England recorded 570 stop and searches per 10,000 people, whereas Glasgow in Scotland recorded 3,712. These are the latest comparable figures, for 2012/13.[2] More recent figures for Scotland from Police Scotland’s Management Information 2013/14 show a slight drop, to 1,206 per 10,000.

Despite the relative prevalence of stop and search, to date national statistics have suggested that stop and search has little impact on race equality in Scotland. According to Police Scotland, over 2013/14 “95.9% of stop and searches recorded were conducted on persons of white ethnicity which is very close to the proportion of ethnic white people in the Scottish population in the 2011 Scottish Census (96%).” This is as far as that report’s overview of stop and search by ethnicity goes. Although statistical tables give more detail, the written analysis of race equality is purely about white communities.

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities Policing
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This week’s news has been dominated by racism both in the UK and abroad. The
Dani Alves incident, Jeremy Clarkson mark one and two, various UKIPpers, and a US basketball team owner (who ironically owes his successes in that position to the very people he seems to hate).

High profile recognition that racism is unacceptable should be a good thing. We should be welcoming all of this discontent about racist language. But look a little deeper and it soon becomes clear that this week’s debate is no cause for celebration.

What should have been an opportunity to highlight the fact that racism is alive and kicking has somehow morphed into a tit-for-tat argument around semantics and the meaning of free speech. The main problem with this is that only a handful of the current commentators seem to properly understand the semantics of racism in the first place.

One key point they’re missing is that the word “racist” is not an insult. It’s an adjective to describe something which prioritises the importance and value of one ethnic group’s identity, appearance, culture or way of life over others. It’s the assumption that your cultural viewpoint is the right way, the best way – everything else is an anomaly, to be tolerated at best and eradicated at worst.

Another misunderstanding (which can even be seen in some of the supposedly anti-racist coverage of these incidents) lies around why racist language is not acceptable. Racist language is not just a social faux-pas showing how out of touch, ignorant or unpleasant the user is. It’s part of a deep rooted structure that can’t be explained in a few column inches, however critical they may be.

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Tagged in: Racism