On the 25th anniversary of the Stephen Lawrence murder, the Windrush scandal shows that institutional racism across UK organisation is still prevalent, in text book form.
The murder of Stephen Lawrence has changed the legal landscape of the UK forever. Most notably, with the outcome of the MacPherson report bringing to the attention of the public that not only can racism manifest itself in physical violence but can also be institutional. William Macpherson defined institutional racism as the “collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin”.
25 years on however from the Stephen Lawrence murder, it is apparent that institutional racism is still deeply entrenched in many UK organisations. Although it is important to acknowledge that progress has been made, the recent Windrush scandal has proven just how institutionally racist the UK still is.
Injustices seen throughout the ongoing Windrush scandal are not set to this alone; in all parts of life policies have a habit of disproportionately affecting Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, this was made evident in the Race Disparity Audit, published earlier this year. Austerity is a prime example of such, a report by the Runnymede Trust suggested that women and ethnic minorities that will lose out as a result of austerity, there are numerous further examples of these affects.
Many commentators have argued that, the Winsdrush scandal is the direct outcome of the government’s hostile environment policy, and the implementation of the 2014 immigration act. The 2014 immigration act removed protection for Commonwealth Citizens, through the removal of a key clause that was part on 1999 legislation, which provided longstanding Commonwealth residents with protection from enforced removal.
The surfacing of this scandal has brought to light many harrowing tales, of individuals being denied their right to healthcare, not be able to return from holiday, deported and held in detention.
This hostile environment is also creating a dire situation for women who are reliant on spousal visas or have insecure immigration status. Such uncertainty allows abusive partner to threaten and control. This entrenches a fear among some women that leads to them not reporting such abuse through fear of deportations.
These are all evident forms of institutional racism, that still prevail in the UK and despite clear advances more must be done to end such injustices as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan put it ‘We should be impatient for change’.
The foundations of this country were built off the back of immigration, through an active invitation. We must not allow this hostile environment, to define what so many have achieved not only the Windrush generation but also thousands of other migrants who helped rebuild the UK after the war.
2018, 70 years on from the birth of the NHS, should be a year for celebrating the brilliance of those who courageously came to the UK to work in the NHS, and instead for many it will have brought about irreversible change to their lives, that is truly unjust.
This blatant out right institutional racism that caused the Windrush scandal has caused shame, indignation and sadness. Justice must be brought to all those impacted and we must do more to educate future generation’s on the UKs’ migration history, to fend ourselves from the ignorance that has seen a rise in hatred across the UK in recent years.