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Chronology for Asians in the United Kingdom

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Asians in the United Kingdom, 2004, available at: [accessed 18 December 2017]
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Date(s) Item
Jan 15, 1990 The Financial Times reports that ethnic minority graduates find it harder to find jobs than their white counterparts. However, companies are actively tackling the issue and boosting minority recruitment.
Jan 22, 1990 In a drive to recruit police officers from ethnic minorities, Scotland Yard decides to scrap height requirements for the London Bobby which had kept many Asians off of the force. Only 520 of the 28,000 London metropolitan police are non-white.
Jan 23, 1990 Britain's military launches a campaign to attract more non-whites to soldiering, acknowledging many possible recruits fear racism in the ranks. A survey taken in 1987 and 1988 shows that only 1.6% of Britain's military comes from ethnic minorities although blacks and Asians form 5.6% of the population.
Mar 8, 1990 According to a study, children from Indian families score higher marks than any other ethnic group in British examinations. The only children of Asian descent to score below average were those from Bangladeshi families.
Mar 11, 1990 A sharp growth in racial tensions in the east end of London leads to the formation of vigilante patrols by an organization of young Asians called the East End Youth Organization (which itself was formed in January).
Mar 13, 1990 Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor, urges women and members of ethnic minorities to qualify themselves for appointment as judges.
Mar 25, 1990 Asian businessmen launch a 5 million pound initiative to encourage younger members of their community to follow them down the road to enterprise.
Apr 19, 1990 Norman Tebbit, the former chairman of the Conservative party, says that a large proportion of Britain's Asian population fails to pass the "cricket test" because they root for their home country teams in matches against England. Tebbit is currently leading a party revolt against the government's plans to admit up to 250,000 immigrants from Hong Kong.
May 26, 1990 Police arrest 16 youths, mostly Asians, who riot in the northern town of Bradford after a Moslem protest march.
Jun 14, 1990 Equal rights campaigners attempt to pressure the government to give Afro-Caribbeans and Asians the same protection against discrimination that Roman Catholics receive in Northern Ireland.
Jul 16, 1990 In a new approach to anti-racism, a Labour-controlled local council in west London launches a course on Asian and African culture for senior council officers.
Aug 7, 1990 Leaders of Warwickshire's Asian community accuse the county's education officials of trying to cover up allegations of racial violence and intimidation at a local college.
Oct 31, 1990 An industrial tribunal finds that 3 Asian police officers in Nottinghamshire were victims of racial discrimination.
Dec 1990 In a national poll, 39% of Conservative supporters and 29% of Labor supporters admit that they are racially prejudiced.
Jan 29, 1991 An Asian constable accepts 20,000 pounds in compensation from the Nottinghamdale police for unlawful racial discrimination.
Mar 26, 1991 8 Asian British Rail guards who allege that promotion tests discriminate against non-native English speakers win their case in an industrial tribunal.
Jul 6, 1991 According to a poll, 56% of Asians feel that the British are "very" or "somewhat" racist.
Aug 12 - 13, 1991 About 100 mostly black and Asian youths riot in a suburb of Telford, central England, after police shoot dead a man of west-Indian origin.
Oct 28, 1991 Children from Asian families score the highest marks in English language examinations in Britain.
1992 There are 8,456 reported racist incidents this year but British officials suspect that since most incidents go unreported, the real number could be closer to 140,000.
Mar 1, 1992 The Independent reports that British parties are beginning to vie for donations from the British Asian business community.
Apr 11, 1992 Police in the West Midlands are investigating the possible existence of a Ku Klux Klan group after discovering a burning cross and racist literature.
Jun 2, 1992 The Commission for Racial Equality urges a review of school admissions after concluding that procedures used by the Hartfordshire council discriminate against Asians.
Jun 10, 1992 Home Secretary Clarke opposes a law requiring firms to take on black and Asian workers in order to mirror the local population.
Jul 23, 1992 500 youths, mostly Asians, riot and clash with police in the northern town of Blackburn.
Aug 2, 1992 A gang of white youths club an Asian man to death.
Aug 31, 1992 The Independent reports that Asians are changing their names to make employers think that they are white.
Sep 3, 1992 In a suspected racial incident, an Asian taxi driver is stabbed to death.
Dec 12, 1992 2 petrol bombs are thrown at the Krishna Hindu temple in Bolton during prayers.
1993 The British Crime Survey reports that around 140,000 racially motivated incidents including harassment, abuse, threats, intimidation and violence occurred in 1993 but only 9,700 were reported.
Jan 12, 1993 Several hundred people, mainly black and Asian, lobby parliament in protest against the Asylum Bill which they believe to be "anti-black family." The protest focuses on a provision which would end the right to appeal a refusal by an immigration official to grant entry to the UK as a visitor or prospective student.
Mar 2, 1993 Reuters reports that racist attacks are on the increase in Britain.
Mar 11, 1993 A survey finds that 10% of non-white households in Britain have suffered from some form of racial harassment. 64% of the victims claim a member of their household was verbally abused and 24% claim physical assault. The BBC reports that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis living in Britain are forming a new underclass. While unemployment for whites in Britain has averaged 8%, it has averaged 9% for east African Asians, 11% for Indians, and 23% for Bangladeshis and Pakistanis.
Mar 13, 1993 A record series of 130 race discrimination cases are to be presented to Yorkshire industrial tribunals over the next 2 months, amid allegations that workers of Asian origin suffer second-class status in local textile mills.
Mar 29, 1993 A study finds that while some minority groups have nearly closed the gap in unemployment, for others, including Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, the gap has widened.
May 4, 1993 An Asian policeman receives 25,000 pounds ($43,000) for discrimination during his 10 years of service.
May 8, 1993 An anti-racist protest turns violent when about 1,000 protesters march by a book shop used by the far-right British National Party (BNP).
May 11, 1993 2 Asian youths are slashed by a skinhead with a machete.
May 23, 1993 Conservative member of parliament Winston Churchill, grandson of the wartime leader of the same name, calls for a crackdown on Asian immigrants because they destroy the British way of life.
Aug 26, 1993 Up to 40 Asian children in Bradford are to be kept away from school in protest against the education authority's school allocation policy.
Sep 1993 Blacks and Asians are incensed when a BNP candidate wins a seat on a local council in a racially mixed area.
Sep 10 - 12, 1993 Asian youths riot and demonstrate in London after a racially motivated attack critically injures a Bangladeshi student.
Sep 17, 1993 There are allegations of discrimination against Asians in the British health care system.
Sep 21, 1993 A study done by the University of Bristol Departments of Sociology and Epidemiology finds that blacks and Asians living in Britain's inner cities suffer from loneliness, fear of racial attacks and poor health.
Oct 1993 The president of the India Association launches an anti-racist force in east London called the Guardian Asians.
Oct 3, 1993 Over 1,000 anti-racist demonstrators march through the East End of London as part of continuing protests against the BNP.
Oct 16, 1993 20,000 people demonstrate against racism in London near a BNP office. The protest turns violent and some of the demonstrators clash with police.
Nov 1, 1993 An inquiry into harassment of Asian trainees at a key British Rail depot in London recommends disciplinary action and a thorough shake-up of senior management.
Nov 10, 1993 200 protest the first BNP candidate to win public office when he takes his seat.
Nov 15, 1993 The Independent reports that anti-racist organizations are being infiltrated by hard-left groups, some of whom are dedicated to violence. One result is that peaceful protests against racism degenerate into confrontations with police.
Feb 17, 1994 17 Asian workers disciplined for taking a day off to celebrate a religious holiday are awarded 1,000 pounds each in compensation for racial discrimination.
Mar 3, 1994 The BBC reports that the Ku Klux Klan is operating in Britain with over 400 activists.
Mar 18, 1994 According to the Trade Union Congress, Black and Asian workers are losing their jobs at a rate seven times as high as white workers.
Mar 19, 1994 25,000 people march through ethnically mixed areas of east London to protest growing incidents of racism.
Mar 24, 1994 According to a report, black and Asian doctors are 6 times more likely to face discipline by the conduct committee of the General Medical Council.
Apr 1994 According to current Home Office estimates, there are approximately 130,000 racial attacks in Britain each year.
Apr 5, 1994 According to a study, Asians are less likely to be given proper medical care in Britain.
Apr 18, 1994 A group of Asian youths riot in response to an earlier racial attack.
Jun 10, 1994 The British government launches a new crackdown on racial harassment, proposing a prison sentence of up to 6 months and fines of 5,000 pounds ($7,500).
Jun 22, 1994 A government report reports that racism is on the rise in Britain.
Aug 12, 1994 Black and Asian officers of the metropolitan police force form a staff association to represent their interests to the force.
Aug 16, 1994 Police tell vigilantes to stay away from a run-down part of London where the murder of a white youth by a group of Asians has led to a sharp increase in racial tensions.
Aug 30, 1994 Manchester Asians claim that their applications to join the Labour Party have been deliberately delayed by party officials. This occurs in the context of fears of an Asian takeover of a local Labour council.
Oct 14, 1994 Britain's top legal official calls for ethnic awareness training for all judges, police, court and probation staff. His speech follows several cases involving black or Asian defendants in which judges were criticized for the sentences they imposed or the comments that they made.
Oct 28, 1994 According to a leading medical journal, ethnic minorities in Britain are more likely to suffer from serious psychotic illnesses than whites because of the stress they endure. In a separate article, researchers find that blacks and Asians in southeastern England are more likely to need treatment for kidney failure or diabetes.
Nov 1994 An Asian shopkeeper is beaten to death in a racist attack.
Nov 21, 1994 3 police officers in Manchester are accused of racism and face disciplinary hearings.
Jan 6, 1995 According to a study, Asian youths are forming gangs in order to protect themselves from attacks by white gangs.
Jan 12, 1995 A survey by Centrepoint, an organization which runs several homeless shelters, estimates that 44% of those in its youth hostels are Afro-Caribbean or Asian. In London, the percentage is 62%, and the London Research Centre estimates that "blacks" make up 51% of the total homeless population. A variety of factors are blamed, including discrimination, lower average incomes for non-white families, a lack of housing stock overall, and a need for larger houses to accomodate large black families and multi-generational Asian families. (Inter Press Service, 1/12/95)
Feb 3, 1995 An appeals court rules against a group of Asian asylum seekers. The asylum seekers brought suit against a law which allows the British to jail asylum seekers while their petitions are being considered.
Feb 21, 1995 A judge is criticized for telling a jury that all Asian men look alike.
Mar 12, 1995 A newspaper reports that various Jewish and Asian organizations in Scotland have been getting death threats from the Neo-Nazi group Combat 18, confirming fears that the group may be growing in Scotland. Anti-fascist groups have also received threats. (The Times, 3/12/95)
Mar 25, 1995 The National Black Alliance (NBA) is formed as an umbrella organization of all racial minorities. It advocates affirmative action-type programs, which are currently illegal in Britain because they discriminate on the basis of race. (The Times 3/26/95)
Apr 23, 1995 Britain's Race Relations Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin, is being extended to include Northern Ireland. According to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, racist incidents are on the rise, and over 90% of Chinese surveyed believed they had been the victims of racial violence. (The Times 4/23/95)
Jun 10, 1995 The arrest of two Asian youths sparks two days of rioting, in which seven people were injured, 22 people were arrested, and shops were looted and burned. The two arrested youths had claimed police brutality. Subsequent reports blamed the riots on the police insulting a Pakistani woman, or the police attempt to break up a football game, although all accounts agree that discrimination, poverty, and culture played a big part in the riots. (Agence France Presse 6/11/95 and 6/13/95, The Times 6/12/95)
Jun 18, 1995 The Commission on Racial Equality reveals that the Household Cavalry - three divisions of elite army personnel which also serve as the Royal bodyguards - have been screening out applicants of racial minorities. Despite efforts to increase participation in the armed forces by minorities, rampant discrimination and persecution still exists. (The Times, 6/18/95)
Jan 17, 1996 A newspaper column notes that racist attacks average almost 200,000 per year, and that a dozen of these attacks have been murders. (Times) A group of former cricket players demand an inquiry into racism in Illingworth county cricket teams, noting both the violence and taunts from fans when nonwhite players are playing, and the lack of nonwhite players on its own team. (The Mirror 1/17/96)
Mar 14, 1996 The United Nations committee on racial discrimination expresses concern that Britain is discriminating in the way it issues citizenship status to residents of Hong Kong. Most people receiving British nationality were not given permission to live in Britain. Moreover, the committee reported that decisions on who received the status of British National and who received the status of Citizen seemed to depend on the person's country of origin. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong government, however, said he was satisfied with the British procedures. (Agence France Presse 3/14/96 and 3/15/96)
Jun 13, 1996 The British government census results reveal that Asians are more likely than whites to own their own business and to own their own home. Of Asians, Indians are the most successful ethnic group, followed by Pakistanis; while Bangledeshis - the fastest-growing and youngest of minority groups, are also the most likely to be unemployed. (Mirror 6/13/96)
Aug 16, 1996 The first legal proceeding begins on the issue of "blacklining," or refusing to sell houses to members of ethnic minorities, in Scotland. The case alleges that the Nelson family, and their realtor, the Robb Estate Agency, refused to sell their house to the Yousaf family because they are Pakistani. After the agency refused to show the Yousafs the house in question in 1994, friends of the Yousafs, both Asian and white, called to ask to see the house. The whites were given appointments, the Asians refused. The Robb Estate Agency claims that the Nelsons had asked them not to sell the house to Asians. (The Times 8/18/96)
Oct 1996 Welsh Guardsman and Falklands war hero Simon Weston publishes a novel, "Phoenix" describing the neo-Nazi infiltration of the British army. He claims the novel is based on his own experiences in the army.(The Times 10/20/96)
1997 The group Human Rights Watch reports that Britain has one of the highest rates of racially motivated crime in Western Europe, and that the number of racial incidents has grown over the past seven years.(The Times 6/3/97)
Feb 4, 1997 After several years of petitioning the British government, non-Chinese residents of Hong Kong will be given full British citizenship. They had been British Nationals Overseas and British Overseas Citizens, which gave them no residency rights outside of Hong Kong. This would leave these people officially stateless when Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule in July. (Agence France Presse 2/4/97, 1/30/97 and 1/28/97)
Feb 17, 1997 The British government decides to standardize pay and provide family housing for its Gurkha regiment, which was originally recruited from India and has generally served in Asia. Since the transfer of Hong Kong, the regiment moved to Britain, but initially the spouses and children of the soldiers were not provided with accommodations. (The Times 2/18/97)
Jun 19, 1997 300 youths picket a video store which is planning to stock a video they find objectionable because it includes a scene in which the Koran is thrown onto the floor. Four people were injured and five arrested when the crowd attacked police, who were trying to defend the store owner. (Agence France Presse 6/19/97)
Aug 1997 The offices of the Southall Monitoring Group, a human rights organization, were bombed after a series of protests and threats related to the 50th anniversary of Indian independence. While the event has been hailed by Indian natives, it has increased tensions for Pakistanis and Sikhs living in Britain. (Agence France Presse 8/14/97)
Oct 2, 1997 British Home Secretary Jack Straw proposes legislation to create two new sets of criminal offences as "racially motivated crimes," which would be punishable by an additional two years imprisonment. (Agence France Presse 10/2/97)
Oct 7, 1997 Tory politician Lord Tebbit publicly decries multiculturalism, saying it will lead to the breakup of Britain. (Times 11/8)
Oct 13, 1997 A special multi-racial recruiting team is set up in Britain with the goal of making seven percent of the armed forces representatives of ethnic minorities, and with the hopes that discrimination will go away if more minorities are enlisted. In addition, a confidential helpline will be set up to advise victims of racial harassment, and people will be able to take such complaints directly to a new equal opportunities inquiry team. At present, only 1.04% of the military is Asian or black. (Agence France Presse 10/13/97 and The Mirror 10/14/97) Member of Parliament Keith Vaz releases a report stating that Asians are poorly represented in the civil service, Foreign Office, and Ministry of Defense. (Agence France Presse 10/13/97)
Nov 1997 BBC World Service debuts its first soap opera, featuring a multiracial cast including Nigerian, Jamaican, and Indian characters. (Times 10/18/97)
Dec 9, 1997 The British Home Office releases a report showing that racial attitudes among police were becoming entrenched, and spreading to Asians as well. Statistics showed that for every one stop-and-search procedure done for a white person, 4.4 blacks were stopped, and 1.2 Asians. (Times 12/10/97)
Jan 1998 According to the British Crime Survey, the number of racist crimes and threats in England and Wales was 13,878 in 1997-8, but officials believe the actual number may be ten times what is reported. (Times 6/21/98)
Feb 11, 1998 Gull Hussain, an Asian former employee of ISA Wholesale, charges the firm with racial discrimination because they required him to change his name to sound more "Western." (Mirror 2/12/98)
Mar 6, 1998 Major-General Evelyn Webb-Carter, General Commander of the Household Division of the British Armed Forces, has given the Household Cavalry and the five Guards divisions under his command 2½ years to recruit 200 members of ethnic minorities. The goal is to have the divisions be more representative of Britain's ethnic makeup. (The Times 3/6/98).
Mar 30, 1998 The British government's football taskforce publishes a 40-point plan to eliminate racism in the game. Items include fining any spectator found making racist taunts 1000 pounds, and removing any player using such taunts from the game. (The Times, 3/29/98)
Apr 13, 1998 A British government report entitled "Ethnicity and Victimization," finds that 30% of blacks, 27% of Indians and 22% of Pakistanis avoid certain events, like football games, because they are afraid they will become the victims of crime. This reflects the high rate of harassment these groups perceive in society, which in turn is related to the fact that they tend to be young, live in inner cities, and work for low pay, according to the study. Only about 15% of the crimes committed against members of minority groups are believed by the victims to be racially motivated. (The Times 4/13/98)
May 15, 1998 According to the organizer of the Ethnic Minority Media Awards, only one in one hundred media employees in Britain comes from an ethnic minority. (The Times 5/15/98)
Oct 19, 1998 British Home Secretary Jack Straw sets targets to boost the number of black and other ethnic recruits to the police force. (Times 10/20/98)
Feb 8, 1999 The Metropolitan police produce a rap video to attract more minorities to the force. (Times 2/8/99) Yasmin Alibhai-Brown of the Institute for Public Policy Research, issues a report entitled True Colors, which calls on the government to take more steps in combating racism. Among the suggestions: appoint blacks and Asians as special advisors to various government ministries, to appoint them to senior positions in the information service, and to use terms like African-Briton or Asian-Briton to link ethnic groups to their heritage, and to make greater recognition of the sacrifices made by members of ethnic groups during World War II. (Times 2/8/99)
Feb 10, 1999 BBC airs "Black and White," a documentary showing that racism still exists in Britain. One part of the series show both a black man and a white man applying for the same jobs, lodging, or service, but with different results. Another episode ends with bitter descriptions of racist violence encountered by various people in Britain. (Mirror 2/6/99)
Feb 25, 1999 The MacPherson Inquiry Report, commissioned to investigate the events surrounding the 1993 death of Stephen Lawrence, a black child, is released. Parliament greets the release with plans to inspect all unresolved racial murders, to create a new police disciplinary regime, to create targets for different minorities in the police force and to create new standards to fully investigate all race crimes. Insufficient police work - often blamed on structural racism - had been blamed for the acquittal of the youths accused of Stephen Lawrence's murder. (Mirror 2/25/99)
Apr 1999 Two separate bomb attacks on the 17th and 24th destroy Asian and black neighborhoods of London, killing two and injuring dozens more. A neo-Nazi group called Combat 18 claims responsibility. The National Assembly Against Racism plan a march of 2,000 people to the Prime Minister's residence to hand-deliver a request to outlaw the group, and strip the British National Party of its status as an authorized political party. Combat 18 is a splinter group of the BNP. (Agence France Presse 4/26/99 and 5/1/99)
May 4, 1999 The British government enacts legislation requiring that political parties receive a minimum of five percent of the vote before being allowed to join the Greater London Assembly. The legislation is designed to prevent extremist groups from gaining a political forum. (Agence France Presse 5/4/99)
Sep 1999 British judges receive a "race awareness guide," designed to help them understand cultures which may appear before them. (AFP 9/29/99)
Sep 16, 1999 An official report finds racism and sexism in the fire brigades of Britain, including racist taunts and discrimination. Despite orders to hire more minorities, only 345 of the 38,119 full-time firefighters are non-white. (Mirror 9/16/99)
Oct 5, 1999 Union workers completely stopped production during a one-day wildcat strike to protest the Ford company's "institutionalized racism." (Agence France Presse 10/6/99)

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