Taken from the article:
For social commentator and Windrush campaigner Patrick Vernon, the UK even lags behind the US in some respects, as it is ‘still light years away from having a Black person or a person of colour to be Prime Minister’. He says the actions of the country’s leadership sets the tone for the rest of the population. ‘If you’re in a position of authority and you use certain language, certain behaviour, that gives permission for people to do things which they would have done anyway,’ he adds, citing how Enoch Powell, former Secretary of State for Health, ‘gave legitimacy to the far-right’ in the 1960s with his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech criticising immigration.
Vernon believes Britain has missed opportunities to tackle racism for far too long, particularly following the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. A public shift occurred when a report on the murder investigation was released in 1999, revealing ‘institutional racism’ had impeded the inquiry. ‘That was 20-odd years ago,’ he notes. Fast forward to earlier this month and a Black man, Mohamud Hassan, died in police custody in Wales, with protesters taking to the streets once more demanding the end of police brutality. ‘The question is, when is Britain going to acknowledge that it wants to work towards being anti-racist?’ Vernon asks.
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