Britain’s attitude to race ‘dramatically changed’

By staff

Britain has witnessed a dramatic change in attitudes towards different races in the ten years since the report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, an equality campaigner has announced.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), told the BBC he believed there was still work to be done but Britain was now a “different place” since the 1999 report described the Metropolitan police force as “institutionally racist”.

“The Macpherson inquiry, the Stephen Lawrence inquiry ten years ago, was a great shock to the system, it shook people out of their complacency,” he told BBC Breakfast today.

“It meant that we had new laws and I think we have had a new attitude. That means, for example, that the police have changed in their behaviour quite dramatically. Nothing is perfect, there is still a lot of work to do, but we are in a different place to where we were before.”

Mr Phillips is due to make a keynote speech later today marking the tenth anniversary of the inquiry into the 1993 racist murder of the black teenager at a bus stop in south London.

In the speech he is also expected to express concern at Prince Harry’s racist remarks recorded on a personal video and recently released by a national newspaper.

“Few of us feel that Prince Harry is some kind of racist or homophobic bigot, however ill-judged his choice of fancy dress costume, however crude and offensive his remarks,” Mr Phillips will say.

“But we can see he likes to be one of the boys. And as one of the boys, he operates by the unwritten code of his environment – a code that didn’t once cause him to question whether calling fellow officers ‘Paki’, ‘raghead’ or ‘queer’ was insulting or inappropriate.”

However, Mr Philips believes attitudes are changing throughout the country.

“Our nation is changing dramatically. We are becoming more diverse by the day. The trend is clear: the younger you are, the less prejudiced you are,” he will say.