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Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Racism bar to 'Scottishness'
The report calls for knowledge through education
Scotland's ethnic minorities are unable to feel as "Scottish" as they want to because of racism, according to a report.

Research carried out by the Edinburgh-based Centre for Human Ecology also says there is growing prejudice against English people.

There is anti-Englishness which has been growing since the Thatcher era because many Scots experienced English people in positions of power over them

Alastair McIntosh
The report, entitled "Who's a Real Scot", is being sent to all 129 MSPs.

It says they should try to build Scottish identity upon social inclusion and fight race and skin colour prejudices. It also recognises the "ethnic prejudice."

The study recommends beating racism by:

  • Implementing existing equal opportunities legislation

  • Highlighting through education how prejudices arise

  • Making it easier for ethnic minorities to participate in democracy

  • Encouraging fair trade between Scotland and Third World countries.

The work involved 27 black and minority ethnic groups from the Central Belt, and was paid for by the European Social Fund.

The report concludes that "a person belongs to Scotland in as much as they are willing to cherish and be cherished by this place and its peoples".

Real Scot
The report is being sent to every MSP
Most people felt they had more than one sense of identity. One said: "I'm seen as Pakistani in Edinburgh and British in Pakistan - therefore I feel myself as Scottish Asian."

The sense of "Scottishness" varied with how long a person had lived in the country and whether they were born in it.

Having a Scottish accent, owning property and contributing to the economy were other factors.

However, many reported alienation due to racism. Some even said they did not feel Scottish as a result, even though they had lived there all their lives.

Ideals against reality

One of the authors, Alastair McIntosh, said: "The report shows that Scotland's ideals about social inclusion do not always match the reality if your skin colour is not white.

"That comes as a disappointment to many Scots, but it is something we must work on if we don't want Scottish identity to mean only being white.

"There is anti-Englishness which has been growing since the Thatcher era because many Scots experienced English people in positions of power over them.

"Hopefully the Scottish Parliament will defuse this because we now have to tackle problems ourselves rather than blaming policies from England.

Asian people
Ethnic minority groups make a valuable contribution
"At the end of the day you can't judge somebody on the colour of their skin, where they were born or their accent - but on where they choose to live and their contribution to the place.

"We've got all the right ideas about hospitality and fostership. We just have to implement these more if we really want to honour the traditions of what it means to be a 'real Scot."

Another team member, Prince Emmanuel Obike, had a positive message despite the racism.

"Some of us feel strongly Scottish and proud to be so," he said.

"In the end, what we want individually or collectively is respect for our sense of identity and worth.

"That is what will foster a feeling of togetherness and allow diversity to be woven into the tapestry of Scottish life."

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See also:

13 Apr 00 | Scotland
Are we racist? Your views
14 Mar 00 | Scotland
Police launch racism strategy
11 Feb 00 | Scotland
Strathclyde race crimes soar
23 Dec 99 | Scotland
Anti-racism group make-up revealed
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