Neil Mackay thrives on the scare story. From apparently surging sectarianism to increasing homophobia, his reports don’t survive a collision with the evidence.
Today, Father Ted-like, we’re all racists it seems.
In May this year, I could write:
There were 3 285 charges relating to race reported in Scotland in 2020/21 and I’m sure many more incidents not reported. There is racism in Scotland, I’m ashamed to say. There is probably some institutional racism in, for example, parts of the police force but none of that makes Scotland an essentially racist country.
A ‘racist country’ surely is one where racist violence is common and endemic and where the institutions of the state are based upon it.
None of the above is true of Scotland.
England & Wales with around 3 times, pro rata, the level of racially motivated crime and, I’d argue, greater concerns about it police forces, are not racist countries.
You could argue that many non-European countries are institutionally, systematically, racist because some minorities are denied access to state employment and education and there are repeated massacres of them . I won’t name any for fear of trolling but across Africa, the Middle East and perhaps even in the Southern US states there are examples.
To characterise Scotland as fully racist is deeply ill-informed.
By today, based on the latest data, racial crime had fallen again:
Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime. In total 3,107 charges relating to race crime were reported in 2021-22, a decrease of 7% compared to 2020-21. The numbers of charges have fluctuated in recent years but are currently 32% lower than the peak in such charges in 2011-12, when 4,547 were reported.https://www.copfs.gov.uk/media/d3jnt5t2/hate-crime-2021-22-publication-final.pdf
Click to access Hate%20Crime%20in%20Scotland%202020-21.pdf
5 thoughts on “Scotland can be racist but is 32% less so than it was and far less so than it is elsewhere”
The thing with almost any kind of story is measurement. Is the measurement, “is there any racism in Scotland?”, “how does racism compare in Scotland?”. The latter is kind of boring – comparison of numbers often – but the former is always preferable for the sensationalist journalist.
The problem is that the former makes little sense. Show me a country without nutters and the downright ignorant. In that regard I am a wee bit disappointed in McAvoy (especially coming from the Drum). Did he imagine we had all taken holy orders?
But, it shouldnt happen, and it needs worked at, but perhaps some kind of perspective would be worthwhile, though for some journalists about as easy to achieve as a country with no nutters?
Tomorrow’s headline in the Herod: Scottish dogs more likely to soil pavements as SNP has cut the funding for dog wardens.
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For comparative purposes, our estimates suggest that a dog story on the last page of the NYT national news report proliferates at 2.2 times the rate a non-dog NYT article on the same page
This is another example of deploying a fallacy; in this case ‘generalising from a particular’. In this case, Mr James McAvoy has complained about racial abuse and harassment of some fellow actors who are people of colour during the time the cast was in Glasgow for a run of the production they are involved in. The abuse did not take place at the theatre, but wherever it occurred in the city it is wrong. However, the media, in reporting it call it ‘Glasgow’s shame’. So all of the 650,000 or us are racist by this generality. Mr Mackay then adds to this by including the small and diminishing number of mainly Protestant anti Catholics and then generalising from this that all 5.5 million of us are racist and sectarian.
When the fallacy of this is pointed out people like Mr Mackay then deploy the ‘perfectionist fallacy’ – if one instance or a small number fails to meet the criteria then the totality has failed. To this, they usually jibe that ‘Scottish exceptionalism’ in respect of tolerance for other races and religions has been proved to be ‘sham’. This is the deployment of a third fallacy beloved of hacks – the ‘straw man’.
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The Theatre was packed full. Sold out for 9 days. Giving the performers total support.
Minor incidents though distasteful and disgraceful. Do not tar everyone with the same brush.
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