“Oh, but we’re not racist here”

Systemic racism: White man with ladder with all the steps in place next to black man with ladder with few and broken steps.
Copyright: Financial Times


6 to 7 years old

76% of students in the UK who are 6 to 7 years old met the expected standard in maths in the 2018 to 2019 school year. And black students specifically reached the 74% mark for the same age and school year. So black students were and are not far off the average. Asian students reach the 78% mark for the same age, with Indian students leading the way within that group with 85% -incredibly accomplished subset of students.

14 to 16 years old

Moving on further into the educational life, 43.3% of students get a ‘strong pass’ in English and Maths in their secondary education tests. These tests are known in the UK as GCSE and are usually done when students are 14 to 16 years old. The average for black students, however, is 38.8%. Note the new gap here. Asian students still perform much better than the average in their GCSE, reaching the 50.2% mark. Indian students again lead the way within the Asian community with a 62% average.

16 to 18 years old and beyond

And moving further ahead, students in the UK do their A-Level tests to gain entry to university. The overall average of students who get the top mark in 3 subjects of their A-Levels is 13%. The same average for black students is 5.5%. The average for Asian students is 11%, with the Indian students leading with 15.5%.

So what’s the story with education?

So we see two very different pictures in the black and Asian communities, but both pictures tell a similar story. For black students, what we see is that, as we look at data from early education onto higher education, the performance gap widens. Black students perform virtually the same as other students in the early years, but fall behind in masses as they move on to high school, college and university.

Stop and search

Cartoon of British police searching a young black man
Copyright: BBC

Mental health

For this part, I’ll focus on the black communities only. Between April 2018 and March 2019, black people were more than 4 times as likely as white people to be detained under the Mental Health Act in the UK. As defined in the National Health Service website:

And what’s up beyond the United Kingdom?

Well, there is a comprehensive study carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights or FRA. It covers countries in all of the EU and it highlights data like this:

So is it all bad?

I found that data like this helps me explain that racism does exist where I live, and the impact it has on people’s lives.

What can you do?

Black doctor in a protest holding up sign that reads “enough is enough”.
Enough is enough. Copyright: Jesse Costa



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Katerine Santo

Katerine Santo

Linguist, tech nerd, hiker, swimmer, mum