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Addressing institutional racism: comparing the response of the police and university in Midshire to the Macpherson Report

  • Pilkington A
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Abstract

The Macpherson Report argued that all major organizations in British society were characterized by institutional racism. This paper examines the response of two organizations, a police force and a university, to this charge. Although earlier studies suggested that Midshire Police and Midshire University exemplified good practice in race and community relations, it is argued here that neither organization has responded to Macpherson by engaging in serious reflection on its institutional culture and significantly changing its routine practices. Both organizations have dealt with issues relating to race by delegating responsibility for these matters to a particular person/body and then effectively ignoring them so that attention can be diverted back to what they consider their core business. In comparison to the police, what is striking about the academy is the lack of pressure to respond to the charge of institutional racism and the remarkable lack of activity in this area. A predominantly colour- and culture-blind approach to widening participation and equal opportunities has persisted.

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Pilkington, A. (2004). Addressing institutional racism: comparing the response of the police and university in Midshire to the Macpherson Report. LATISS: Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences, 1(2), 107–120. https://doi.org/10.1386/ltss.1.2.107/0

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