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The Facts

new internationalist
issue 260 - October 1994


The scars of race are deep and divisive. They can be seen in all parts of the world, in all walks of life.


Racist attacks are on the increase in many parts of the world.

[image, unknown] Indigenous Canadians are six times more likely to be murdered than other Canadians.1

[image, unknown] In the UK Asians are 50 times and West Indians 36 times more likely than whites to be victims of racial violence.14

[image, unknown] In the US 6 out of every 10 hate crimes had a racial motivation and a further 1 in 10 an ethnic motivation. 36% were anti-black, 21% anti-white and 13% anti-Jewish.15

I M P R I S O N M E N T & E X I L E

Belonging to the 'wrong' group increases the chances of imprisonment and asylum rejection.

Imprisonment and exile.

[image, unknown] Most of the world's 15 million refugees come from the South and seek refuge in neighbouring countries. One person in 10 was a refugee in Malawi in July 1993, compared to one in 5,000 in the UK. The rate of asylum refusal on appeal in the UK has risen from 14% to 72%.19



Racial prejudice affects access to jobs.

Canada - indigenous people are twice as likely to be jobless as the rest of the population.

US - blacks are twice as likely to be jobless as whites.1

UK - ethnic minorities are twice as likely to be jobless. Ethnic minority women are three times as likely to be jobless as other women.2

Australia - Aboriginal people are more than three times as likely to be jobless as the general population.3

[image, unknown] But in India 10% of higher level jobs in the public sector now go to people from the Scheduled Castes (more than 16% of the total population) compared with only 3.5% in 1972.4


H E A L T H, W E A L T H & H O U S I N G

How we live, where we live and how long we live may often be determined by race.

[image, unknown] In the US
[image, unknown] Nearly 50% of the black population live in polluted areas, compared to 30% of the white population.1
[image, unknown] 40% of Native Americans live below the poverty line. 37% die before the age of 45.10 They are 10 times as likely to die of alcohol abuse.11

[image, unknown] In Australia
[image, unknown] Aboriginal people's life expectancy is 15 years lower than the rest of the population. Infant mortality is three times higher.3
[image, unknown] The suicide rate is six times higher.10
[image, unknown] Aboriginal family income is about half the Australian average.12

[image, unknown] In South Africa
[image, unknown] The white 14% of the population owns almost 90% of the land.
[image, unknown] Life expectancy for whites is 73 years, for blacks 57. Infant mortality among whites is 13 per 1,000; among blacks, 57 per 1,000.9

[image, unknown] In the UK
[image, unknown] People from ethnic minorities are four times more likely to be homeless in London than whites.13


S T R I F E & G E N O C I D E

Half of the world's states have recently experienced inter-ethnic strife.

The result has been:

[image, unknown] In Afghanistan one in six people has been disabled by a landmine.

[image, unknown] In Zaire more than 800,000 people have been displaced.

[image, unknown] In Sri Lanka more than 14,000 have died in clashes between Tamils and the Sinhalese.

[image, unknown] In former Yugoslavia more than 130,000 people have been killed since 1991.1

[image, unknown] Up to 50,000 people were killed in Burundi in 1993.20

[image, unknown] In Rwanda the attempted genocide of Tutsis has resulted in an estimated 200,000 - 500,000 deaths.

[image, unknown] In Brazil an average of one tribe a year has been wiped out since 1900.10


Discrimination affects the languages we speak and the education we get.

Fewer than 5% of the world's languages are given official recognition by governments.5 No more than 100 people can speak Japan's indigenous Ainu language fluently.6


1 UNDP Human Development Report, 1994.
2 1991 Census; Crown copyright. Through NEMDA.
3 NSW Task Force on Aboriginal Health, 1987.
4 India Today, 30 April, 1994.
5 Minority Rights Group.
6 COLORS 4, 1993.
7 Indian Census 1991.
8 Phillip Wearne, The Maya of Guatemala, MRG, London, forthcoming.
9 Choices, UNDP, June 1994.
10 Survival International.
11 Talking Stick 1, 1993.
12 1986 Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics.
13 Race through the 90's, Council for Racial Equality and BBC, 1993.
14 Institute of Race Relations.
15 Uniform Crime Report, March 1994, FBI, reported by Center for Democratic Renewal
16 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 9/91. Through NEMDA.
17 Julian Berger, The Gaia Atlas of First Peoples, 1990.
18 Bureau of Justice Statistics, in New Statesman & Society, 1 April 1994.
19 WUS Update, June 1994.
20 UNHCR Information Bulletin, 10 December 1993.

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New Internationalist issue 260 magazine cover This article is from the October 1994 issue of New Internationalist.
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