Racism in the United Kingdom

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Racism is a phenomenon present in the United Kingdom. The extent and the targets of racist attitudes in the UK have varied over the course of time. The history of racism in the United Kingdom is heavily linked to its relationship with its former colonies and citizens that comprised the British Empire, many of whom settled in Great Britain, particularly following World War II. It is also strongly linked to the attitudes and norms of the entrenched British class system.


  • Our determination to ensure good community relations is unswerving. There is no room for racial hatred in our crowded island. We cannot afford not to make a success of a multi-racial society. A moving speech was made the other day in the other place by Lord Pitt, himself a distinguished citizen of London of West Indian origin. In that speech, he looked forward hopefully to a harmonious multiracial Britain setting an example to the world. He spoke on a high level of moral seriousness, but reminded us too that our self-interest is also served by racial harmony and tolerance. I agree with that view, and would share Lord Pitt's hope, but I do not see it as an easy or even a certain outcome, at any rate in this generation. Its accomplishment will depend on the minority community accepting that this country will not take, in Lord Pitt's own words, a "large and unending stream" of dependants, and on the majority community accepting that tolerance is one of the greatest and most traditional of British virtues and that if that tradition is broken we shall all of us suffer deeply, both minority and majority, and suffer for many years to come.

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