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Urban Affairs

Colour me Human

April 3, 2012 by Sai in Urban Affairs with 0 Comments

Written by Sabah Hadi, Photography by Anandaraj Rajakumar:

I have often wondered if colour matters even today so long after apartheid, slavery and all the things that differentiate humans are a thing of the past. Not that it is bad to differentiate in order to be unique and individualistic but to do so to discriminate and victimize?

Looking around and going through statistics, I have come to the conclusion that it is not something only to wonder about but it is a fact of life. A fact of modern life and therein lies the sadness and tragedy. Humans have come a long way travelling from Stone Age nakedness through sophisticated civilizations and scientific achievements. Yet, we have not reached a place where colour, beliefs, language, origins do not matter.

UK is a multicultural, diverse country that is accepting of people from across the world. So, unpublished unemployment statistics by the Datablog appearing to show young black men hit harder by the recession than young whites is worrying news. And it’s just not blacks, but other ethnic groups too. The figures highlight the challenge in tackling why unemployment seems to have so affected one minority ethnic group as compared with others. The data points out that almost half of black youths are unemployed.

People say that being black definitely makes it harder to get a job. The other ethnic groups could say the same. Google’s UK operation is among the companies that have taken a more pragmatic approach to the ethnic employment issue, but there is need for more companies to do the same. Sandra Kerr, Race for Opportunity’s national director says that some employers, including the Home Office and consultancy group Ernst & Young, are attempting to eliminate racial bias in graduate recruitment. “If you leave university and you are ‘Bame’ [black, asian and minority ethnic group], you are still more likely to be unemployed one year on,” said Kerr, ascribing the problem to “that subtext of what you don’t know”. She added: “I think it’s unconscious bias. Some employers are being really truthful about it already.”

It is shocking that we have been so accustomed to this bias that it has become part of our subconscious mind and hence we don’t even have to behave with prejudice in order to put out prejudice. It comes so naturally to us. Unemployment is an important yardstick to measure psychological well-being and self-esteem which are important values that make us feel valued and relevant, that make us human.

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