The BBC reports:
Nearly a third of people in Britain admit being racially prejudiced, research has suggested.
The British Social Attitudes survey found the proportion had increased since the start of the century, returning to the level of 30 years ago.
Some 30% of the 2,000 people polled by social research company NatCen described themselves as either “very” or “a little” race prejudiced.
Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen, said the findings were “troubling”.
An organisation called ‘Natcen’ has conducted a poll of people in Britain asking them to reveal if they think they are racially prejudiced.
Now you would expect the BBC to leap upon the results which claim that 30% of British people admit to being racist.
The BBC did indeed leap upon the results but contrary to expectations the analysis has been fair and critical of the poll and its interpretation by various interests.
However the BBC did fall into its usual habit of providing the context, nuances and analysis in programmes like ‘Today’ but when it comes to the news bulletins all that good work is thrown away and the message we get is that ‘30% of Brits declare themsleves racist…a level not seen since the ’80’s…this could be explained by UKIP stirring up anti-immigrant feeling.’
Dan Hodges notices the same habit…one he says Sky also falls into:
What was amazing was the way it was clear neither Sky nor the BBC were taking the slightest bit of notice of their own output. They were engaged in a logistical exercise – “Let’s make sure we don’t miss the returning officer from Torquay” – rather than an analytical one.
We’ll start by looking at the poll first and see if its claims hold water.
First thing to note is that this poll usually comes out later in the year. So that must immediately raise suspicions when it is now being released only days after UKIP trounce the pro-immigration parties….and the interpretation is that anti-immigration rhetoric increases racism…therefore UKIP is to blame.
In this graphic the pollsters show how prejudiced people with different political allegiances are….note the ‘other‘, being the highest, coloured a fetching UKIP purple…no doubt a deliberate choice to smear them by association…..just how true these stats are is questionable…….I know many Labour voters who readily express racist views….I doubt very much that there is such a gap, if any, between the parties’ supporters…especially as they can change allegiances so often.
The next thing that might confirm the suspicion that this is a political stitch up is just who releases the information. It isn’t Natcen themselves as they tell us:
Data released by the Guardian in May 2014 reveals there is more self-reported racial prejudice in Britain than there was 10 years ago.
The Guardian is the sole recipient of the information from Natcen….a mainly taxpayer funded organisation and supposedly independent….but one which is ‘troubled by the results’.
It looks as if the Guardian has released the data at a time most politically convenient to its own causes and has been interpreted by the Guardian in a way that doesn’t actually match up with reality.
This is their report title:
So racism is on the rise? That’s not born out at all by the data as you’ll see later.
They then use this photograph of the EDL underneath the title…..
The EDL was not racist, it was an organisation set up to campaign against islamic extremism and so should not be used by the Guardian to illustrate an article on racism.
Nearly all the voices in the Guardian article are immigrants or from ethnic minorities…here is a sample of their rather poisonous narrative:
Omar Khan, acting director of the Runnymede Trust – Britain’s leading independent race equality thinktank – said the data should be noted by all the main parties.
“This nails the lie that the problem of racism has been overcome in Britain or that somehow when Jeremy Clarkson said the things he did it is some sort of anomaly that does not tap into a wider problem.
So we’re all racist…if you’re white that is.
The white voice given a say?….One carefully selected to portray a certain image by our clever metropolitan elite in the Guardian offices who tell us…..
“What we need to do is get better at creating public spaces where people can mix, at serving really diverse communities and addressing some of the underlying problems of poverty and isolation.”
However, some people remain unconvinced. Christine Deeming, 71, is waiting at a bus stop around the corner from the polling station in Smethwick.
“If I got the chance and the money I would leave tomorrow,” she said. “I have been here all my life but, you know, it’s not Great Britain any more is it? … To be honest I feel like the foreigner these days.”
Ah yes…you’re meant to think…. old, white, working class, ‘uneducated’, ignorant….therefore she can be dismissed as ‘prejudiced’.
So that’s the Guardian…so much so usual for that Tabloid-like paper.
But how does the actual poll stand up to scrutiny? Not well at all.
Firstly the results don’t show more people are prejudiced, they show only that people are ‘more prepared to admit racial prejudice’.
And just how many are ‘prejudiced’? 30% or 3%?
Natcen claims 30%….but admits that the reality is that 3% described themselves as “very prejudiced”, 27% said they were “a little prejudiced”, and 68% said they were “not prejudiced at all”
So only 3% admit to being very prejudiced….but what you might ask is ‘a little prejudiced’? That could cover a whole range of alleged sins.
What did the people think was ‘racist’…..what were they admitting to? We don’t know.
Natcen claims the rise in racism started in 2001 post 9/11….if they claim that link then the ‘racism’ is not racism but more than likely a natural concern about Islam when Muslims seem to have a launched a war against the West. Hardly an irrational fear or prejudice. Certainly not racism….Islam is not a race for one thing.
Similarly the claimed link to mass immigration…the concerns about the NHS, housing, schools, jobs and wages being undercut are all perfectly legitimate, rational ones …and not therefore ‘racism’.
It is almost a racing cert that what those polled classed as ‘a little bit prejudiced’ was in fact a result of the guilt imposed upon them by years of the left barraging them with accusations that such thinking is racist… therefore any admission of ‘racism’ is likely an unwarranted guilty feeling that they may be ‘a little bit prejudiced’ when they are merely reflecting the propaganda of the left….there has been no one to stand up to defend their views…the BBC joining in with the Left’s views.
But just who are these people in the polls?
You may well be wondering how we carry out the survey and select our sample. Each year, addresses are randomly selected from the Post Office’s postcode address file. We write to the inhabitants, and then it is up to our interviewers to knock on their doors and convince people to take part. We usually interview around 3,300 people each year.
So the people could be anyone, any race, and indeed immigrants…Natcen tells us:
Once the survey is over we compare the profile of the people we have spoken to with the true demographic makeup of Britain (as recorded by the census) to make sure that our results are properly representative.
One conclusion from the poll was that the inner cities were less prejudiced…but why might that be? Is it becausse they are all remarkably progressive and cosmopolitan or some other reason?
The reason is because there is a high percentage of immigrants and ethnic minorities in those locations, a high churn of population who don’t care and a rich, metropolitian elite who also don’t care as they aren’t ‘touched’ by immigration in a directly negative fashion…..and few of whom will admit to being racist.
There is a fairly disgraceful slur being spread about those who oppose immigration….that it is mainly the old, white, uneducated, working class who are so prejudiced….and that the highly educated, cultured, well-off elite are far less so…..a slur readily accepted by the BBC who seem prepared to demonise some sectors of society in their drive against UKIP.
The problem is of course that this poll is based purely on self admitted prejudice….and as we saw that may not in fact be prejudice but ‘fair comment’….but another problem is that people may either be lying or have a genuine belief, but mistaken, that they are not prejudiced…when in fact, naturally, they are.
Such an attitude is a recognised fault in these type of polls:
Aversive racism is characteristic of many White Americans who possess strong egalitarian values and who believe that they are not prejudiced. But many also possess negative feelings and beliefs of which they are either unaware or try to dissociate from their images of themselves as being non-prejudiced.
As for mainly ‘old’ people being so prejudiced…who is it that actually carries out most of the racist attacks?
60% of the attacks are perpetrated by children or young adults under 25, many of whom are active in gangs.
What of the statistics themselves….Natcen claims racism is shown to be on the rise from 2001, before that it was falling.
How then do they explain these police records of racist incidents from 1996:
Recent s95 statistics showed that in 2003/04, there were 52,694 recorded racist incidents in England and Wales (Home Office, 2005). The number of recorded incidents, unsurprisingly, varied between forces, in line with their size and resident population. Figure 2.1 shows that between 1997/98 and 1998/99, recorded racist incidents in England and Wales rose by two-thirds, increasing from 13,878 to 23,049. In the following year, incidents doubled to 47,814. They rose by 11 per cent in 2000/01, and by a further two per cent in 2001/02 to 54,351.
However since 2004 the recorded incidents have fallen:
The overall number of racist incidents recorded by the police decreased by two per cent from 56,387 in 2008/09 to 55,056 in 2009/10.
The overall number of racist incidents recorded by the police decreased by seven per cent from 54,872 in 2009/10 to 51,187 in 2010/11.
The overall number of racist incidents recorded by the police decreased by 8 per cent from 51,585 in 2010/11 to 47,678 in 2011/12.
So the reverse pattern to Natcen’s claims is shown by actual recorded racist incidents…a rise pre-2001 and a fall shortly after….continuing to the present day.
It is fairly obvious that Natcen’s, and the Guardian’s, claims are unfounded and based more on wishful thinking and a creative interpretation of the ‘evidence’ than any substantial proof of a genuine rise in racism or racist feelings.
To conflate concerns about immigration and Islam with racism is lazy and dishonest, designed to promote a certain political agenda as illustrated by the Guardian’s take on this which pronounced that racism is on the rise…driven by UKIP’s immigration policies.
Interestingly today I heard that there had been a poll in Brazil along similar lines. (19 mins)
97% claimed they were not prejudiced.
A similar number, 99%, claimed they knew someone who was.
Somebody was lying.
Brazil is famously racially divided.
The BBC journo’s conclusion…‘Beware what anyone tells you about Brazil.’
The same could be said for polls conducted by left wing organisations filtered through a left wing newspaper.
But how did the BBC report this poll? I have already said they did do some good analysis and raised some challenges to the pollster’s claims…let down by the news bulletin’s simplistic and seemingly more ideological, pro-immigration approach to reporting the poll.
John Humphrys on the Today programme pretty much dismissed the poll as worthless in his interview and forced an admission out of the Natcen rep. that it was not more people admitting racism but:
People ‘more prepared to admit racial prejudice’
Nicky Campbell of course tackled the subject but surprisingly drew a line when his ‘expert’ commenter from an ‘African think tank’ claimed only white people could be racist, and the programme was quite fair in its approach….however clips taken from the show to use in later news bulletins highlighted a call attacking the British attitude to Muslims from someone it’d be hard to take a shine to (38 mins 40 secs) with his self righteous, naively sanctimonious views…he isn’t prejudiced himself because he has a very close Muslim friend….the rest of us are just ignorant and don’t understand Islam.
Derbyshire and Fogarty both followed on but just accepted the figures from the polls and no doubt Jeremy Vine, Bacon, 5Live Drive and Nolan would have followed suit….I hazard a guess there based on past experience.
The BBC certainly went to town on this story despite it being old hat and not showing that alleged increase in racism at all.
Here is the Mail in 2012:
The best I’ve saved till last….someone you would never expect to diss the poll has come out very definitely against it…Mark Easton.
I have often criticised Easton for his decidedly pro-immigration, pro-Europe reports, so if he says he can’t support the conclusions of a report that prima facie undermines UKIP’s position by alleging they are successfully stirring up race hate then something must be seriously wrong with that report.
Journalists like their stories to fit into an accepted current narrative. With domestic politics dominated by concerns over Europe and immigration, and the rise of the far-right elsewhere in the EU, it is understandable that editors are alert to evidence of rising racism in Britain.
But today’s figures are not evidence of rising racism. In fact, if anything, the trend is of flat or declining levels of self-reported racial prejudice.
To suggest that the latest figures represent a return to the racism levels of the 80s is clearly premature.
There is another difficulty with this data – it is a self-reported measure. We cannot be sure what people mean when they agree they are “a little bit prejudiced against people of other races”. Could it be that the phrase today has as much to do with anxiety about the arrival of East European migrants as a belief that those from a different racial group are inferior?
Flat or declining levels of self reported prejudice….and a confusion over exactly what that ‘prejudice’ actually is.
The complete opposite of the conclusions reached by Natcen and the Guardian….and trumpeted unfortunately by the rest of the media…..including the BBC in its news bulletins…..only saved from total embarrassment by Humphrys, Campbell and Easton.
It is unfortunate that not all responsible Media haven’t taken the time to critique the claims made by Natcen and the Guardian….the highly damaging effects of those claims can be seen in this article in the Telegraph which has taken the bait and declared that Britain is getting more racist:
The deeply distressing and rapid rise in racial prejudice among the British people over the past 13 years maps on to a period of uncontrolled mass immigration. Cause and effect could not be clearer. Nor could the solution. I only hope it’s not too late.
Just who are those ‘British people’ though?