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Scotland's public bodies urged to address claims of institutional racism

Race, identity and citizenship academic Professor Nasar Meer says the country must speak openly about racism if it is to be properly tackled

PUBLIC bodies such as the police in Scotland need to openly address claims of institutional racism, an Edinburgh academic has said.

Professor Nasar Meer, an expert in race, identity and citizenship from the University of Edinburgh, claims that Scotland must speak openly about issues of racism if they are to be properly tackled. 

Writing in the Scotsman following the publication of the Taking Stock: Race Equality in Scotland report this month, Professor Meer said that much had been done by the Scottish government in recent years to improve outcomes and attitudes. 

He highlighted that the race equality framework 2016, which set out the Scottish government’s vision and strategy for race, as an example of the administration going beyond the minimum required. 

But Professor Meer said that there were still obstacles to be overcome in translating that vision into meaningful social change, including recognising the views that bodies such as Police Scotland were “institutionally racist.”

He said: “In recent years the Scottish government has shown a sincere commitment to mainstreaming race equality, in ways that go beyond the minimum required.

“The point is that if we cannot overcome the reticence in Scotland to speak publicly and candidly about institutional racism, and unless public bodies are comfortable with the fact that things may not look good in the short term, meaningful progress will be harder to achieve.

“Going forward and as our report shows, the only way to make meaningful progress on race equality is to work across sectors, government departments and stakeholders, and recognise that this continues to be the urgent challenge.”

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