Is Bristol "racially fractured"?
Bristol once made vast profits from the toil of enslaved Africans. Now it strives to be a place where people of all races have equal opportunities.
Is Bristol really "racially fractured"?
But where does the truth lie about race relations in the modern-day city of Bristol? Is there genuinely a level playing field for people from ethnic minorities or is the legacy of the slave trade still holding people back?
We want to know what you think about this subject - join the debate on this subject below.
Social commentator and journalist Marvin Rees has lived in the city all his life. In a special edition of "Inside Out West" on Friday, 23 March 2007, he argues that Bristol remains "racially fractured".
He claims that while on the surface there appears to be racial harmony there are still some serious inequalities we have to address.
Marvin was born in Bristol to a white mother and black father. It's made him very sensitive to questions about racial identity and to the relationships between people from different ethnic groups.
He uses a quote from the former Czech Republic presdient Vaclav Havel to describe how he feels about the modern-day Bristol: "The absence of conflict is not evidence of the presence of peace."
"It's easy to look at history today and disapprove of slavery. It's easy to look at the future and wistfully dream of unity and togetherness, but it's hard to deal with the messiness of the now and the bad feelings that exist," says Marvin.
"For me there is definitely some unfinished business and I think it's exposed in the opinions expressed on radio phone-ins and 'letters to the editor' pages.
"I am not saying everyone is about to join the BNP, and I am not saying things are the way they used to be. But I am saying that as a city we live with a rawness around the topic of race."
Marvin thinks the 200th anniversary of the passing of the act to abolish the slave trade gives Bristolians an opportunity. He's hoping the bicentenary will encourage people to find out about the city's history and learn about the abolitionist struggle.
But more than that he hopes it will bring people together to find a way of moving forward as equal partners.
"Inside Out West" is on Friday, 23 March, at 7.30pm on BBC One - you can watch the show online now, the link is at the top of this page.
There's also a showpiece "Points West Abolition Debate" on Sunday, 25 March, at 10.15pm on BBC One which will tackle some of these issues.
What do you think? Is Marvin right that Bristol is "racially fractured"? Or is there now a level playing field for people of all races?
Add your comments below and we'll publish the best ones on this page.
last updated: 26/07/07
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Disgruntled Slave and Tax Payer.
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Operation TRUTH 2007
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