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The ongoing COVID-19 crisis exposed a racialised and classed intersection of pandemic and capitalism where people of the global majority have been disproportionately impacted by coronavirus. During the same period, the death of George Floyd, and the pain of his final words, ‘I can’t breathe’, has shown how the life-breath of some humans is more valued than that of others. The absence of the ability to breathe freely is a reality for many.

This chapter draws on bell hooks’ notion of critical dialogue. For hooks, coming together as a beloved community requires us to cross borders, enriching each other’s knowledge. We (two scholar-activists) begin from a series of questions such as: Who is able to breathe? What can we learn from the necropolitics of the pandemic? We then explore the role of education and its future potential in enacting social change.

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As the lockdown brought the world to a standstill, many were forced to confront the realities of institutional racism and the deadly outcomes for Black groups. In this chapter, the author takes an auto-ethnographical approach to understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests on Black millennial resistance. Reflecting over journal entries, the author’s experience of being a pregnant Black woman during a global pandemic and the parallel of the international Black Lives Matter protests are examined to shed some insight into ways in which Black millennial narratives motivate their resistance.

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The Equality Act 2010 in Great Britain marked the culmination of 45 years of deliberation, campaigning and legislating, and had the clear potential to protect certain groups, backgrounds and communities from unfair discrimination. In the years following 2010, however, the requirements of the Act were increasingly ignored by public bodies, particularly in England. Partly in consequence, the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionately negative impact on people with protected characteristics, as defined by the Act. The essential task of government when the pandemic is over will be not only to ‘build back better’, but also to build back fairer. If the new normal is not significantly fairer in its outcomes than the old, it will not be better. Among other measures, but crucially, this will involve activating the Act’s socioeconomic duty, attending to needs and priorities in left-behind neighbourhoods, and addressing forms of inequality that are systemic and structural.

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This chapter investigates whether OFQUAL’s briefly used assessment ‘algorithm’ systematically produced unequal grade outcomes along racialised categories. Inspired by student-led protests in August 2020 following initial outcomes produced by the algorithm, this chapter evaluates core concerns raised throughout the protests, which positioned the algorithm’s outcomes as socially discriminatory by design.

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This chapter outlines the context within which the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS) was developed and conducted. It discusses how this context shaped the focus of EVENS on racial justice and led to important innovations in its design and implementation, and the consequences of these innovations. It goes on to summarise the key findings reported in this volume, including those in relation to experiences of: racism and racial discrimination; engagement in political and civic life; labour market, socioeconomic and housing inequalities; health; and ethnic and national identity. It concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of the findings from EVENS, highlighting the central role of racism in shaping inequalities, and the need for fundamental reform of institutions to address the drivers of ethnic inequalities.

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This chapter looks at the ways in which ethnic identity is expressed using data produced by the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS). It first examines how people describe their ethnicity in their own words and describes the types of identities that are not currently captured in standardised ethnicity classifications. It also examines the prevalence of non-standardised ways of describing ethnicity across standardised ethnic groupings and reflects on the potential reasons for the existing differences. It further looks at the importance of ethnic and religious identities for people across ethnic and religious backgrounds, and provides an overview of how often people engage in practices relating to their ethnicity and/or religion, such as the food they eat, clothes they wear and/or participating in more general ethnic specific activities. Finally, the chapter also considers how much people from different ethnic groups feel that they belong to British, English, Scottish and Welsh societies.

Open access

This chapter uses data from the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS) to document the health and wellbeing of people from different ethnic groups in the UK. We focus on a range of physical and mental health outcomes, as well as indicators of wellbeing and access to services. We explore physical health by observing rates of multimorbidity, whereas mental health is examined using standardised measures of depression and anxiety. Relatedly, differences across ethnic groups in levels of loneliness are explored, including whether individuals’ levels of loneliness increased during the pandemic. We also analyse ethnic differences in experiencing COVID-19 infection and bereavement during the pandemic. Finally, we present figures on ethnic inequalities in access to health services during the pandemic. The resulting picture is that people from ethnic minority groups in the UK face poorer physical health outcomes than the White British group, including greater risk of COVID-19 infection and COVID-related bereavement. However, people from ethnic minority groups generally fared better than those in the White British group in relation to mental health.

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Using the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS), this chapter demonstrates how ethnic minority groups in Britain are subject to material deprivation in residential experience, yet succeed in developing strong local attachment and enriching this during times of crisis. It presents evidence on ethnic inequalities in housing type, overcrowding, multigenerational living, access to greenspace and residential mobility, with attention to variation within Britain and ethnic groups that are absent from other studies (such as Roma and Gypsy Traveller). It finds, for example, that spatial pressure in households is more prevalent among all ethnic minority groups compared to White British people. This is a notable concern for three-generation households, which are particularly common in the Pakistani and Roma ethnic groups. Despite housing deprivation, analyses of local belonging point to community mechanisms and networks of solidarity being mobilised during the COVID-19 pandemic in diverse neighbourhoods.

Open access

This chapter outlines how the book provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date evidence on ethnic inequalities in Britain. Situating the book in a concern for racial justice and a framing that sees racism as a systemic driver of inequalities, the chapter reviews concepts of ethnicity, race and racism; the deficiencies of ethnicity data; and the dilemmas of ethnic categorisation before making the case for the value of the new and innovative Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS). It orients readers to the style and structure of the book – and the options to read cover to cover or to ‘dip in’ ‒ and to expect expert discipline-oriented empirical chapters within a framing that speaks across disciplines to vital questions of racism and ethnic inequality.

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This chapter outlines how the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS) was made; how the pioneering non-probability approach was implemented by the EVENS team and Ipsos. It documents the EVENS methods of making the invitation to participate open to all; questionnaire design and recruitment, including the importance of partnering with key race equality voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations; responsive adaptation to fieldwork methods (particularly procedures for data collection, data monitoring and quality assurance); and implementation of comprehensive post-fieldwork data adjustments to ensure a complete, robust dataset. Details of the EVENS sample are provided, demonstrating how data generated with the innovative EVENS methods can be used as representative of ethnic minority people in Britain. As a successful example of a non-traditional, non-probability approach to social surveys, EVENS presents a challenge to data producers and data users to better represent ethnic minority populations.

Open access