At Kaplan, we believe in inclusion and equality for all, and our diverse student community represents the world we want to see. That’s why we’re asking them to share their thoughts on some of society’s important topics with our ‘Student perspectives’ series.
Bonaventure from Uganda is a Student Ambassador who is studying a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Brighton.
Here, he answers the question ‘why is racial equality important?’ and shares why it should be promoted by everyone.
What is racial equality?
Racial equality is when institutions, such as schools, provide equal opportunities to individuals of all races regardless of their physical traits such as skin colour.
Historically, and particularly at educational institutions, attaining equality for ethnic minorities has not been easy. Thankfully, this has changed over the years: many countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, have put laws in place to address racial discrimination, and this has promoted racial equality tremendously.
Why should we promote racial equality?
According to a UK government report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, unemployment in 2019 was 4% among the White group compared to 8% among the Pakistani and Bangladeshi group, 8% among the Black group, and 6% among the Mixed group.
For people aged 16 to 24, the gap was more pronounced: the White ethnic group has an unemployment rate of 10% compared with 19% for ethnic minority groups. Black African and Bangladeshi ethnic groups had the highest rates of youth unemployment, at 26% and 24% respectively.
This shows that, although progress has been made, there is still work to be done.
Racial equality ensures that people from all walks of life can compete fairly for the same opportunities. This increases competition in certain fields, such as sports and politics, due to an increased number of enthusiastic and capable competitors.
As a result, better outcomes are obtained since the most capable individuals emerge victorious regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, and this ultimately fuels progress in society.
What has been done to promote racial equality?
Across the globe, various efforts have been made to fight racial discrimination and, in turn, promote racial equality.
The Race Relations Act 1965 was the first legislation in the United Kingdom to address racial discrimination. The Act outlawed discrimination on the “grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins” in public places in Great Britain. It also prompted the creation of the Race Relations Board in 1966.
Racial equality campaigns, such as Show Racism the Red Card, have been promoted in international football and are aimed at familiarising young people with the causes and consequences of racism, as well as helping them to develop good relationships and respect the differences between people, regardless of ethnicity.
This has tremendously promoted racial equality in the football industry and provided opportunities for talented individuals from minority backgrounds, such as Didier Drogba, who is from the Ivory Coast, to compete at the top level.
Why racial equality is important to me
Racial equality is important to me because when we fight for racial equality, we create opportunities for people who would have been sidelined because of the colour of their skin, which in turn robs us of potential heroes who would have had an indelible impact on the world.
Personally, I think Barack Obama is a living testimony of how fighting for racial equality can propel our society to heights we had never imagined, and this should challenge us to keep fighting for what we believe in.
Toni Morrison once said: “There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race.”
We have a responsibility to promote racial equality so that the generations to come can compete at the same level for the same opportunities without worrying about being discriminated against because of one’s skin colour or background.