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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
'Few black friends' for whites
The CRE survey showed most white people had no black friends
More than 90% of white people have no or few friends from a different ethnic group, a survey for the Commission for Racial Equality has found.

However, nearly half of ethnic minorities said most of their friends were white.

The CRE says white people's lack of contact with other groups could worsen inter-racial relations.

It has called on the government to fund camps for teenagers of all backgrounds to promote greater understanding.

The CRE survey, carried out by internet polling organisation YouGov, was based on a sample of approximately 2,000 white people and 800 from ethnic minorities.

It found while inter-racial friendships among ethnic minority groups were widespread, 94% of white people had no or few black friends.

80% of white people had no Muslim friends and only 10% were close to a Hindu or Sikh.

Generation gap

The CRE's chairman, Trevor Phillips, said he had been surprised by the extent to which the majority community still did not really know minority communities.

"Therefore, it is not surprising that they can be misled about blacks, gypsies and Muslims, and it is not surprising that for no apparent reason, they can become hostile and racist," Mr Phillips told the Guardian.
CRE chairman Trevor Phillips
The CRE wants the government to help promote inter-racial friendship

US- style summer camp places should be set up where 16-year-olds could take part in activities with teenagers they would otherwise not meet, he added.

The survey also revealed that a lack of a diverse range of friends was not restricted to older age groups nor to white people.

Younger white people were more likely to have a wide circle of friends than their parents' generation but the reverse was true for some ethnic minority communities.

Nineteen percent of ethnic minority Britons aged 50 or over said most of their friends were of the same race, however, that figure rose to 39% for those aged 30 or under.

YouGov said it was not possible to tell from a single survey whether this result was because people made a wider circle of friends as they got older, or whether some younger ethnic minorities were less willing to mix with other races.


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