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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
London: Black against black
Zia Trench
Zia Trench
Politics Show London

Black girls
Is inter-racial tension increasing?

Inter-ethnic tension is something people do not want to discuss; nobody wants to make it worse.

But it is there, bubbling under the surface, occasionally rearing its ugly head.

Damilola Taylor, killed by black youths on his estate in Peckham in 2001; or Broadwater Farm Estate where there has been a catalogue of tension between the Ghanian and Caribbean community.

Then, this week, Nigerian anger flared up again when the West Indian MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott, wrote an article that was not very complimentary about Nigeria.

I was invited to the house of Kayode in Wood Green. He is from Nigeria but lives here with his wife and kids.

He has been here seven years and is studying for his second Masters. Kayode claimed he has often had to settle for jobs that are less than his capabilities.

He said he could not prove it, but in group interviews he often felt treated differently from his Caribbean counterparts.

Ethnic balance changing

The reason this matters so much for everyone, not just black Londoners, is that the population is changing massively.

Already, the Black African population is more than the West Indian and by 2010, it is expected that Africans will be the single largest ethnic group in the UK.

Not only will this give them political clout, but inequality has to be sorted out, or disadvantaged African kids, could cause society all sorts of trouble.

Kayode's friend, Samuel came over while I was there. Feeling that African blacks are poorly represented, he formed the Nigerian British Forum.

He explained that because on forms and papers "black" quotas cover black Caribbeans and black Africans, the system is not addressing the fact that socially, economically and politically, Africans are being ignored.

One example he gave me, was funding. He said often he has tried to get funding for something and is told the funding for "black projects" has gone.

He says what the system is not seeing, is that it has been given out by West Indians, to West Indian projects.

He says it happens all the time; Afro-Caribbean centres, projects and grants are going to Caribbeans.

The more we talked, the more I could see how difficult it is for Africans here:

  • they want to integrate
  • they want to present themselves as one, unified black community

But at the same time, they are paying taxes, like everyone else and have got specific needs that are being ignored.

Inua Ellams is a South London word and graphic artist. He composed a poem, on the apparent divisions between communities, which we broadcast on Sunday 21 May.

Also on the programme Olympics 2012

We investigate how we can make sure that all communities benefit from the Olympics.

Diversity was at the centre of the London Olympics bid and now its important to make sure that East London benefits not just from the regeneration, but also from the economic profits.

The Government have committed to making sure that small and large business are involved in the bidding process for contracts in creating the Olympic dream.

But with high unemployment, particularly amongst the black community its important that locals are given the skill set to fill jobs on the project.

After the battle to bring the Olympics back to London, an even bigger task begins.

... Making sure that building the Olympic dream helps rebuild all communities in East London.

The Politics Show London

Join the Politics Show on BBC One on Sunday 04 June 2006 at 12.00pm with Tim Donovan.

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