Racial prejudice in Britain has risen steadily in the decade since the 9/11 terror attacks, an authoritative survey of British attitudes has shown.
Nearly a third of Britons described themselves as either “very” or “a little” prejudiced against people of other races in the NatCen British Social Attitudes survey for 2013.
From an all-time low of 25% in 2001, levels of prejudice have risen steadily through the last decade reaching a high of 38% in 2011.
The change was short lived and rates rose again last year with 30% of Britons identifying themselves as racially prejudiced.
Experts had thought the a reversal in the steady decline in self-reported racial prejudice up until 2001 would be impossible.
However concerns over immigration, and the impact of the terror attacks in New York, are likely to have fuelled the long term rise, experts said.
The survey’s findings come as the Uk Independence Party, which launched a hard hitting poster and broadcast campaign against high levels of immigration to Britain, swept the European election and saw a surge in support at a local level.
Penny Young, the chief executive of NatCen Social Research, said the “marked turning around” in the figures after 2001 suggested the change could be linked to the impact of the terrorist attacks in September 2001 in the US. Fears over immigration were another likely contributing factor, she said.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “Back in 1983, when we started British Social Attitudes, it looked as if it was an inexorable decline, it looked like as if it was part of increasing socially liberal Britain, so things like attitudes towards same-sex marriage, having children before marriage and so on, they were all going in one direction.
“On this trend, in about 2001, it seemed to change, and we think there are probably two possible things that are driving this. One, it was a very marked turning round in 2001, so it may well be an impact of 9/11, that people started to feel more fearful, or to do with people feeling concerned about the impact of immigration in their own area or being fearful of the impact of immigration in their own area.”
London, home to a high proportion of immigrants, was the least racially prejudiced area in the UK with 16% of people reporting that they were prejudiced on the basis of race. The most racially prejudiced area was the West Midlands at 35%.
Levels of prejudice rose with age with 25% of 17 to 34 year old describing themselves as racially prejudiced in comparison to 36% of over 55s.
More educated people were half as likely to report racially prejudiced view with 19% of those with a degree reporting racial prejudice compared to 38% of those with no qualifications.
Just over nine in 10 of those who admitted to some level of racial prejudice said they would also like to see a reduction in immigration levels, compared with around seven in 10 who said that were not prejudiced at all.
Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice minister, said that findings were “clear evidence” that politicians should not be complacent about prejudice that “blights” society.
Trevor Philips, the former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality and Human Rights, said: “Integration does not just happen by accident: You have to work at it.
“If we want to avoid a slow descent into mutual bigotry we need to drop the dogma, weigh the evidence without sentiment, recognise the reality and work out a programme – both symbolic and practical – to change the reality.”
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So much for experts and their stupidity. Look around the world.
Everywhere people live with Muslims there are problems. And I do mean everywhere.
They cannot even get along with themselves. In Libya, expect violence over the clash between the “seculars” and the Islamoloons (Ansar al-Sharia). Even with 100% born Muslim, a large chunk do not want the loons shoving the stuff at them 24/7. And we are no different.
And what race is Islam anyway? The Islamoloons are thrilled to pick up converts. They are like black hole. They suck everything in, let nothing out.
Ironically, if they were not so fussy about converting from Islam, people might not be so unwilling to have the them here. There would be a feeling that it would balance out.
But no, it must be as in the days of Mohammed. And that is just very, very unpopular just now.