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Commission For Racial Equality - Scotland

The Highland Area of Scotland
Extract From Race Equality Scheme November 2002

Limited reliable statistical information exists on minority ethnic groups, particularly in rural areas of Scotland.  Data is largely drawn from the 1991 Census and currently very few agencies gather information on ethnicity.  Publication of the 2001 Census results in March 2003 should provide a more detailed and up-to-date representation.

Based on the 1991 Census information, minority ethnic people make up 1.25% of the Scottish population, of these 40% live outside of urban areas.  The minority ethnic population in Highland is 0.54%.  Approximately 80% live in the Inverness, Caithness and Ross & Cromarty areas, with the highest concentration in Inverness.   The predominant groups were those described in the Census classification as "Other", Black and Chinese, who together made up 79% of the Highland minority ethnic population.  Other significant groups were Pakistani and Indian populations.

 

Scotland

 

Highland

 

Total

4, 998, 567

 

204, 004

100%

White

98.75%

 

202, 897

99.46%

Total ethnic minority

62, 634

1.25%

 

1107

0.54%

Breakdown of total ME%

 

ME numbers             %

Black

0.14%

 

241

22%

Indian

0.20%

 

83

8%

Pakistani

0.42%

 

101

9%

Bangaldeshi

0.02%

 

49

4%

Chinese

0.21%

 

211

19%

Other

0.26%

 

422

38%

1991 Census

Minority ethnic groups are therefore characterised in the Highlands as small in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of households, diverse in terms of ethnicity, language and culture.  However, changing demographics, shifting employment and population patterns, and year-round tourism all result in a range of nationalities living and visiting the Highlands from across the UK, Europe and elsewhere.

Where minority ethnic communities are small in number there can be a perception that "there is no problem here".  Research in the Highlands and other rural areas (P de Lima 2001) suggests otherwise. In such situations people encounter isolation, cultural and language barriers and lack support networks. They may also be more likely than their urban counterparts to be victims of racism which can be particularly stressful in these circumstances.

The above research uncovered experiences of racism and discrimination in a range of settings, including in the community, education, work, and in accessing services.  The most commonly mentioned discrimination was verbal abuse/name calling.  There was little evidence of an infrastructure to provide support for those facing racial harassment and discrimination, and little indication of minority ethnic community involvement in planning services.

The occurrence of reported racist incidents to Northern Constabulary has increased notably in recent years.  To some extent this is a direct result of changes in their internal reporting mechanisms following recommendations from the MacPherson Report and its definition of racist incidents.  Even taking this into account it is suspected that there is still significant under-reporting of racist incidents. 

Between 1 April 2000 and March 31st 2001 eight individuals in Highland reported perceived racial discrimination or harassment to GREC.  None of the cases related to employment; all concerned services, some of which were complaints against Highland Council.  The majority of racial cases involving the Council concern Education and Housing, again it is suspected that there is significant under-reporting of incidents.

Racism is as much an issue in rural areas and in urban areas, and the legislation applies equally to all ethnic groups in the UK.  Discrimination and harassment of English people or Gypsy/Travellers is just as important as against visible ethnic minorities.

Race Issues At Guardian Newspaper

Operation Black Vote

Commission for Racial Equality
www.cre.gov.uk 

Manchester University Race Relations
http://les.man.ac.uk/rrarchive/ 

Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations
 
www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/CRER_RC/ 

Fighting Race Hate Sites
www.wiesenthal.com  

Centre for Education for Racial Equality
in Scotland -   Moray House, Edinburgh
www.mhie.ac.uk/~ceres  

Institute for Race Relations
www.homebeats.co.uk 

European Commission Against Racism
www.ecri.coe.fr 

Scottish Refugee Council
www.scotref.demon.co.uk 

Refugee Council
www.refugeecouncil.org.uk 

Global Cultural Diversity Congress 2000
www.btinternet.com/xgcdc2000  

European Network Online
www.multicultural.net 
On ethnic minorities and the media.

Black Net UK -Aimed at Afro Caribbeans

Migration & Ethnic Relations - Virtual Library

Black Britain www.blackbritain.co.uk 
Black History   www.afroam.org/history/history/.html
Campaign against Racism and Fascism www.carf.demon.co.uk
1990 Trust  www.blink.org.uk
Services for Young People   http://youth/links.htm

GEEMA 
Group to encourage Ethnic Minority Students at Cambridge University

Research Material
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
www.jrf.org.uk 

Race & Ethnicity in the USA

UK Black Interest News Updating