Research perspectives

Report reveals continuing racism problem in civil society organisations 

A recent report on the experience of black and minority workers in civil society organisations has found that although there are some signs of organisations signalling their opposition to racism, few are taking the associated practical steps to change. The report “Warm Words, Cold Comfort: UK Civil Society’s Ongoing Racism Problem” published by the Association of Chief Executives in Voluntary Organisations and Voice4Change England, revealed that 77% of respondents had experienced or witnessed racism over the last five years; with 68% of feeling the need to “tone down” their behaviour or to be on their “best behaviour” to fit into the “mainstream”.

The report also highlighted that whilst less than half the respondents think that anti-racism/race equity is taken seriously in their organisation, 65% are hopeful that progress will be made on anti-racism/race equity.

Sanjiv Lingayah, author of the report, said: “The testimonies of survey respondents show the ongoing and harmful problem of racism in mainstream UK civil society. While civil society organisations have positioned themselves against the idea of racism too few take necessary action against it, such as publicly reporting the ethnicity pay gap and plans to address these. Words and realities are at odds.”

The survey on which the report is based ran online from July to October and  gathered 139 valid responses from those working in predominantly large organisations.