This document is Shereen Docherty.

The rest can be found here.



****I would like this to spread as far and wide as possible, if sharing please credit me @ShereenDoc for my time and please include the disclaimers (I am not an expert).****



Researched and collated by Shereen Docherty @ShereenDoc in response to the death of George Flloyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matters protests in Britain – and the public response of many that: “Britain’s not racist”: “Britain isn’t as racist as America”; “I’m not racist”.

What started as an idea for a simple instagram post, has become an essay. It turns out that systemic racism isn’t neat and easily contained to a single post; it’s a sprawling mass of interconnected forces that are very easy to ignore if they don’t exert much/any pressure on you… but bear down an impossible weight that *permeates every interaction, in every sphere of life* , if you’re not White in the UK. Of course, this affects all ‘other’ ethnicities in similar, but different ways.

However, the focus of this research is specific to anti-Black racism, because it is unique; because #BlackLivesMatter; and because non-Black PoC (like myself) can be just as guilty of anti-Black racism as White ppl – as we are all a product of the same racist system.

It takes active unlearning to change.



… but are you anti-racist?

Let’s find out.

What do you make of the below statements:

  • Britain is racist
  • White, non-Black people of colour and light-skinned people to varying degrees all benefit from White privilege
  • I am racist.

Can you put a number on the percentage to which you agree overall with the above?

Fix a number in your mind, even if it is 0.

Now let’s take a deeper dive, and revisit that number afterwards.

Some disclaimers:

  • Endeavoured to focus on Black people and not ‘BAME’ wherever possible, where not possible BAME statistics have been included.
  • If research predates 2016, a date is included.
  • As a general rule and ONS data is as uptodate as possible (2018/19)
  • Where using comparative statistics the comparison is always their white counterpart unless otherwise stated.
  • Gov statistics pertain to England & Wales, hence focus.
  • ‘Justice’ statistics refer specifically to Black MEN unless otherwise stated
  • Education statistics refer specifically to Black PUPILS unless stated
  • Statistics in all other areas refer to Black people overall unless otherwise stated.
  • I’ve had to interpret data in some cases, I’m not a statistician or mathematician. I’ve done my best. All mistakes are my own.
  • This research is by no means exhaustive.


  • 7 in 10 stories about Black boys in the media are crime-related vs. 4 in 10 overall (REACH, 11)
  • 40x more likely to be stop & searched (Guardian)
  • 26x more likely to be stop & searched under Section 60 – no suspicion required (The Teacherist)
  • Despite these disparities, the rate prohibited items are found in these stops is broadly even across all ethnicities (The Teacherist)
  • 2x as likely to be fined by Met Police for Lockdown breaches (BBC)
  • 3x more likely to be arrested (
  • 2x as likely to be charged with drug possession (Guardian 2013)
  • 23% more likely to be remanded in custody (
  • 4x more likely to be sectioned under the mental health act (
  • 4x more likely to be prosecuted (
  • 53% more likely to receive a prison sentence at High Court (PRT)
  • 240% more likely to got to prison for a drug offence (Guardian)
  • 44% more likely imprisoned for driving offences;
  • 38% more likely for public disorder or possession of a weapon;
  •  27% more likely for drugs possession (all Guardian, 2011)
  • 6x the rate of prosecutions for children (
  • 33% longer avg. custodial sentence for children (Disparity Audit)
  • 1 in 4 Black teenage boys convicted of homicide were given a life sentence. Not one White teenager was sentenced to more than 10 years, with most getting 4 years (2009-2017, Independent)
  • 5x more likely to be subjected to the use of force by Police (INQUEST)
  • 2x as many deaths in custody where force/restraint used (IRR)
  • Black people are only 3% of the population, but
  • 12% of the prison population (Lammy Review).
  • 8% of deaths in police custody (BBC News)
  • 52% of all deaths in ‘suspicious circumstances’ in custody 1991-2014 (IRR)
  • 1969 – the last time a police officer was successfully prosecuted concerning the death of somebody in custody.
  • David Oluwale, a homeless British-Nigerian man, was repeatedly targeted by 2 Leeds police officers, who famously wrote “Wog” on his arrest sheet. After dying in their custody, they faced manslaughter charges, dropped to assault. They served 3 years.
  • There has not been a single successful prosecution since.


“The British Empire has often been glamourised and the global impact of Britain’s colonialism downplayed… whilst Black history and contributions have been whitewashed from the curriculum”. (Angharad Owen, BBC News)

“Black history is usually either omitted entirely, or taught only in terms of colonialism and slavery, rather than black people’s achievements.” (Lavinya Stennett, Telegraph)

“Institutionally racist practices are present in schools throughout the UK” (Show Racism The Red Card, 2010)

  • Disciplined more frequently, harshly and for less serious actions and less likely to be praised; from very early on (Pilkington, 02).
  • Likely to be perceived as more adult-like and less innocent – “adultification bias” leads to less support & more discipline (Vox)
  • Black boys disproportionately put in lower sets (DFES, 2006)
  • Black Caribbean boys are 2x as likely to be diagnosed with SEMH needs and have their ‘education dumbed down’ (The Teacherist)
  • 3x more likely to be permanently excluded from school (
  • 61% of excluded children will go to prison (No More Exclusions).
  • Schools “unfairly punish black students” with “subjective” zero-tolerance exclusions for their natural hair & kissing teeth (BBC).
  • “Exclusions gap, is caused by largely unwitting, but systematic racial discrimination in the application of disciplinary and exclusion policies” (DfES, 2006).
  • More likely to be under assessed by their teachers vs. external SATS grades;
    • 43% in English
    • 32% in Maths
    • 26% Science (Burgess & Greaves / The Teacherist)
  • Most likely to get their A-Level grades under-predicted, affecting university admission (BIS, 2011)
  • Even in private schools, research highlights “the continued experiences of low expectations of teachers and the extra labour required of the Black middle classes to get taken seriously” (IoE, 13)
  • 20 % points less likely to achieve 5x A*-C grades (The Red Card, 04)
  • 1% of children’s books have a BAME main character (Guardian)
  • 23% rise in race hate crimes against children in 3 years (NSPCC).
  • 8% of UK university intake, but only
    • 4% of the Russell Group
    • 1.5% Cambridge uni
    • 1.3% Oxford uni (BBC, 2016)
  • Affirmative action changed this: 2018/19 Intake at Cambridge risen to 3.6% thanks in part to Stormzy scholarships and promotion, and 2.6% at Oxford, “without any reduction in offer levels”
  • 22 percentage points less likely to achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree (ONS)
  • The university ‘attainment gap’ exists if adjusted for wealth & grades (Guardian)
  • UK Universities recorded just 560 complaints of racial harassment, despite 60,000 student complaints (EHRC).
  • 1.5x more likely to drop out of uni, most cite racism (Guardian)
  • “UK medical schools failing to deal with racism” (BMJ)
  • 1.2% of 20,000 funded PHD places awarded to Black students (Leading Routes)
  • A secret eugenics conference was held on the UCL campus in 2017!


  • Failure to fulfil the potential of the BAME workforce costs the British economy £24 billion/year, or 1.3% of GDP (McGregor-Smith Review)
  • Black people make up 3% of the population, but
    • 0.2% of journalists (Reuters)
    • <1% of University professors (HESA)
    • 1% of police officers (
    • 1% of court judges (
    • 1.1% of secondary Headteachers = 39 / 3000 schools (TES)
    • 2.3% of all teachers, 1.6% of Deputies, 2% of Heads (
    • 6% of NHS workforce (
  • BAME – 14% pop / 21% NHS staff / 7% of NHS Trusts’ Boards (gov)
  • 8% of TV’s creatives BAME with Black People the least represented (Campaign)
  • Ethnic sounding names 74% less success job hunting (BBC, 2015)
  • 60% more job applications required to get a positive response if BAME. Unchanged in 50 years. (Guardian)
  • 3x less interviews for ‘Mohammed’ vs. ‘Adam’ with identical CV (BBC).
  • 8% Black journalist grads find a job in press vs. 26% (NCTJ)
  • 33% less likely to find work as a BAME medical graduate (Times)
  • 66% employment compared to 87% White British (
  • 48% more likely to be on zero-hour contracts.
  • 1 in 10 unemployment vs. 1 in 25 White British (
  • 26% unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds vs. 11%
  • 3x as likely to be unemployed w. vocational/A-levels if BAME (TUC)
  • 2.5x as likely to be an unemployed graduate if BAME (TUC)
  • BAME teachers are under-represented; paid less than their white counterparts; experience widespread discrimination when applying for jobs or promotion; and often endure racist abuse (NASUWT)
  • 60% BAME workers report racist treatment by their employer (TUC)
  • 15% BAME NHS staff reported manager discrimination in yr (NHE)
  • 29% BAME NHS reported abuse by colleagues in yr (Independent)
  • BAME “more likely to perceive the workplace as hostile, they are less likely to apply for and be given promotions and they are more likely to be disciplined or judged harshly” (McGregor-Smith Review)
  • BP: “an over representation in disciplinaries, grievances and redundancies” (UNISON)
  • 2x as likely to be reported to the GMC if BAME Doctor (GMC)
  • 2x disciplinary proceedings against Black Midwives in LDN (RCOM)
  • Avg. annual income £23k if Black whereas £25k if White British
  • Avg. earnings 9.2% less than White British counterparts (ONS)
  • Receive the lowest average hourly pay (Gov Disparity Audit)
  • When other difference are adjusted for, Black male graduates earn 17% less pay – about £3.90 an hour (Resolution Foundation)
  • Only about 3% of large employers have so far voluntarily reported their ethnic pay gap (median pay):
    • ITN – BAME employees paid 21% less per hour (Guardian)
    • Met Police – BAME 17% less (Sadiq Khan pay audit)
    • TFL – BAME 10% less (Sadiq Khan pay audit)
  • 26% less pay for Black academics at Russell Group unis (BBC News)
  • 16% less pay for Black female doctors (NHS / @amelia)


“People from minority ethnic groups experience poor treatment due to the negative attitudes of others regarding their character or abilities” (Race Equality Foundation, 2007)

There is gender and racial bias in pain assessment and treatment (Guardian/BBC/NCBI)

“There is a belief that Black women feel less pain” (Make Motherhood Diverse)

Incredibly we still do not record ethnicity on death certificates so it is impossible to know the full extent of health inequality in Britain.

  • 5x more likely to die in childbirth as a Black woman, even though there is no evidence they’re more likely to suffer complications (MBRRACE)
  • Highest infant mortality rates (Guardian)
  • Lowest life expectancy – men by 5 years & women by 1.5 years (Guardian / JECH, 2015)
  • “Racism contributes to mental health problems such as psychosis and depression” (Mental Health Foundation)
  • 10x more at risk of psychosis as a Black man (Gov Disparity Audit)
  • 50% less likely to receive treatment as a Black woman, despite being the most likely demographic to experience common mental health disorders like depression and anxiety (Gov Disparity Audit)
  • 4x more likely to die of Covid 19 as a Black man
  • 3x more likely to die of Covid 19 as a Black woman
  • 21% NHS staff BAME, but 63% of all NHS Covid19 deaths (HSJ)
  • 50% of BAME NHS staff said: “systemic discrimination” put us more at risk (ITV)
  • The gov review said BAME communities more at risk because they are more likely to live in urban areas, in overcrowded households, in deprived areas, and have jobs that expose them to higher risk (ITV)
  • Yet it does not include a single recommendation in response.
  • In fact it redacted the recommendations made by the review team inc. a a call for “specific measures to tackle the culture of discrimination and racism” in the NHS.


  • 32% of households homeowners vs 68% White British (2019).
  • Most likely to rent social housing (Gov Disparity Audit)
  • Spend a higher proportion of their incomes on rent (
  • BAME households more likely to wait longer for a housing offer, to be offered poorer quality homes, and flats rather than houses (Guardian)
  • 6x more likely to live in overcrowded households (
  • Black households more likely to be poor and most likely to be in persistent poverty (IRR)
  • 20% of children living in persistent poverty vs. 10% (Disparity Audit)
  • Most likely to live in deprived neighbourhoods (Disparity Audit)
  • 14% of homeless households, but only 3% of population (
  • Gov’s flagship Right to Rent scheme ruled to be “causing racial discrimination” by High Court in 2017. It is still in place (Guardian)
  • 10 LND letting agents caught in sting agreeing not to let a property to Black people at (undercover) landlord’s request (BBC, 2013)
  • In 2017, Fergus Wilson, owner of 1,000 buy to let properties instructed landlords not to let to ‘coloured people’ because of the ‘curry smell’ (BBC)
  • In 2020 Grenfell Tower survivors were still waiting to be permanently rehomed, 2.5 years later, despite Theresa May’s promise to rehome them in ‘three weeks’ (Guardian)



“As long as you send all children out into the world to be actively educated into racism, taught a white supremacist version of history, literature and art, then you are setting up a future generation to perpetuate the same violence on which that system of power depends.”

– Afua Hirsch

Did you know…

  • Black History is British History.
  • The UK only abolished slavery in 1833 by agreeing to pay slave owners a sum of £20m (£300bn today)  for “loss of property”.
  • A transferral of wealth from taxpayers to slave owners so huge the debts incurred were only paid off in 2015.
  • Meaning almost all UK taxpayers have contributed to this bill (@MandoParty / UCL Legacies of British Slave Ownership)
  • The slaves were never paid reparations.
  • For 300 years, every British monarch gave direct or indirect support to the transatlantic slave trade until it was abolished in 1833.
  • Of the 12 million slaves abducted from Africa, 40% were transported on British ships.
  • We are told slavery was outlawed on humanitarian grounds in a campaign fought by abolitionists. In reality, an overproduction of sugar crops led to reduced profits. (@MandoParty)
  • In 1944, Eric Williams, the first PM of Trinidad and Tobago, described the idea that slavery was abolished because of an appeal to humanitarian principles as “one of the greatest propaganda movements of all time”. It endures to this day. (New Statesman)
  • If we were all taught about colonial history in school, we’d learn at a young age that many of the people who came here from colonies and former colonies did so as citizens, not as immigrants (Guardian)
  • “An understanding of colonial history would allow us to shift the boundary of ‘British citizen’ to include people from (former) colonies” (Maya Goodfellow, Guardian)
  • Truly learning about empire would mean understanding that colonialists created race and the racial hierarchy to control and govern colonies around the world. Unpicking how and why race was constructed would make for a more sophisticated discussion about racism and what it means to be ‘British’. (Goodfellow, Guardian)
  • The Windrush generation arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948-73 on invitation from the Queen, taking up jobs in the nascent NHS and helping to rebuild Britain after WWII.
  • As residents of the British commonwealth, they were automatically British subjects and free to permanently live and work in the UK.
  • That is until Theresa May’s ‘hostile immigration’ policy intentionally sought to drive out those without the correct papers, knowing full well that many of the Windrush generation arrived as children on their parents’ passports, AND that the Home Office had destroyed thousands of landing cards and other records – meaning many lacked the documentation to prove their right to remain in the UK.
  • The Home Office demanded at least one official document from every year they had lived here.
  • Falsely deemed as ‘illegal immigrants’ / ‘undocumented migrants’ they began to lose their access to housing, healthcare, bank accounts and driving licenses. Many were placed in immigration detention, prevented from travelling abroad and threatened with forcible removal, while others were deported to countries they hadn’t seen since they were children. (JCWI)
  • A leaked draft of the independent review into the Windrush scandal found the Home Office “reckless” and discriminatory. It recommended that all staff should “learn about the history of the UK and its relationship with the rest of the world, including Britain’s colonial history” (Channel 4)


A microaggression is a comment or gesture (whether made intentionally or not) that feeds into stereotypes or negative assumptions created around marginalized groups of people. They may be totally harmless in intent, but to the recipient – facing them day in day out – they can very much feel like an attack. They serve as constant reminders of one’s ‘otherness’ and ‘difference’, reinforcing the notion that they are not an individual to be judged on their merits, but nothing more than a ‘stereotype’.

  • Noticing a White woman clutch her handbag as you approach
  • Being tailed by security guards when shopping
  • Being turned away by Bouncers when other non Black groups aren’t
  • Assumptions you’re in the wrong place / a service worker / cleaner
  • Taxis not stopping for you
  • Policing of your natural hair, which is deemed “unprofessional”
  • Heightened surveillance of your tasks and relationships at work
  • When it’s assumed your success is a by-product of affirmative action rather than your own achievement.
  • Being told you are loud/aggressive/ angry – upholding the values and communication styles of the dominant White culture as ideal.
  • Tone policing detracts from the validity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented.
  • Being mistaken for the other Black person at work
  • “Where are you really from?” (you don’t belong here)
  • “Your English is so good” (why wouldn’t it be?)
  • “You don’t look Black” / “You don’t look like you sound” (do all Black people look/sound a certain way?)
  • Can I call you…” (your identity is less important than my comfort)
  • The touching of your hair or skin without permission (fetishising)
  • “You’re so exotic” / “You’re a lovely colour” / Comparisons to chocolate, coffee, cacao…
  • “I love mixed race babies” (reinforcing light-skinned privilege)
  • “You’re so pretty, are you mixed race?”
  • Expectation that you will want to lead internal diversity projects
  • Expectation that you’ll be a role-model / spokesperson for your race
  • Assumptions you’re good at sport / dancing
  • The almost total absence of black-protagonist movies without ‘white saviour’ narratives (The Teacherist)
  • Being subjected to a white-centric curriculum, news agenda and media that erases the contribution of people like you from British history and society
  • The glamorisation of the British Empire in everyday life – e.g. people that abused, enslaved and killed your ancestors enshrined in road names, building names and memorials and statues all over the UK
  • “Flesh” coloured tights, plasters and make-up are not made for you
  • Being told you look like a Black celebrity just because they are Black
  • Hearing jokes like, “what time is your court hearing?” just because you’re wearing a suit
  • The assumption you’re Caribbean or African or that the two are the same thing (7,000 Caribbean islands and 54 African countries; bigger than USA+Canada+China)
  • “Non-white” (women are not non-men)
  • “BAME” (though there are similarities, the experiences are not universal, anti-Black racism is specific)
  • “I don’t see colour” (denies your lived experience of racism)
  • “Why can’t you protest peacefully” – putting property damage above Black lives
  • “All Lives Matter” (not all houses matter equally to the fire brigade, if only one house is on fire. It is your house that is burning)
  • “Don’t protest during a global pandemic, you’re putting lives at risk” (racism is a global pandemic, Black lives *are* already at risk, the beaches are full and VE Day parties/congas were celebrated in news)
  • Subjected to DARVO – Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender
    • An academically studied tactic of psychological manipulation.
    • This is from a recent post by @Rachel.Cargle highlighting DARVO in a White response to being called out for racism:
  • Deny: “we can’t be perfect immediately”
  • Attack: “you used my post of hope in a negative way”
  • Reverse Victim/Oppressors: “I’m heartbroken”, “I’m crying now” and “I was begging for encouragement”


We started by discussing these three statements:

  • Britain is racist
  • White, non-Black people of colour and light-skinned people to varying degrees all benefit from White privilege
  • I am racist.

Earlier you % in mind to which you agreed.

Has it changed? Are you able to agree any more?

If so you’ve just demonstrated “doing the work”

As Pran Patel, at The Teacherist explains:

“Like most binary labels the ‘racist bad – non-racist good’ binary is really unhelpful. We would all be better served looking at racism as a spectrum between racist and anti-racist.”

The (racist to anti-racist) spectrum is a dynamic scale where people will move regularly. Remember that the natural tendency is to fall towards the racist end of the spectrum; to move the other way takes work.

You’ve just done such work.

Now, imagine how much the percentage to which you agree might change if you read a best-selling book on this very topic, written by an expert Black voice.

If you’ve made it this far, please buy and read one of the following and see how the % changes.

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People – Reni Eddo-Lodge
    • Natives – Akala
    • Brit(ish) – Afua Hirsch
    • So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
    • There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack – Paul Gilroy
    • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race – Robin DiAngelo

White people and non-Black people of colour need to be actively working to dismantle the systems of privilege from which we benefit. That means things that will make us uncomfortable like positive discrimination in education and employment; but what may feel like putting *ourselves* at a ‘disadvantage’ is actually just going a small way towards levelling a systematically unfair playing field.

I have compiled this very rudimentary research with the intention of helping to demonstrate just how unfair this playing field really is, but it is so much more better explained and explored by Black People in their own voices in the many excellent books on the subject.

Please buy (from a Black-owned business) and read one of the above books. Keep ‘doing the work’ and translate that new knowledge into affirmative action in your home/workplace/neighbourhood/schools.

We all need to continually strive to move further along the scale away from the natural tendency to racism.  



  1. I believe that anything said here would be explosive automatically……
    So please only hear what I say, and not what I didn’t say or possibly was implying in your opinion !
    I believe that although God created us all , we all are deformed from His intended plans , as is this world also .
    I believe therefore that we are not now all equal, and Judgement day will prove that.
    But we should all have equal opportunities in life , but Hey , we all have much more than the third world , war torn countries, so let’s thank our God and our leaders and our neighbours, whatever race gender or colour , God loves them , so should we , with an unselfish love at that .

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