Rees investigates racial equality in Bristol
Is Bristol "racially fractured"?
hundred years ago it made vast profits from the toil of enslaved Africans.
it strives to be a place where people of all races have equal opportunities.
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 us back?
Social commentator and journalist Marvin Rees has
lived in the city all his life.
In a special edition of Inside Out West
he argues that Bristol remains "racially fractured".
that while on the surface there appears to be racial harmony, there are still
some serious inequalities we have to address.
Rees argues that Bristol remains racially fractured|
was born in Bristol to a white mother and black father.
It has 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
"The absence of conflict is not evidence of the
presence of peace".
In Marvin's view there is a racial
imbalance in education, housing and political power.
He points to the number
of black councillors on Bristol City Council, just one out of 70, as evidence
New opportunities, new beginnings...
says, "It's easy to look at history today and disapprove of slavery.
easy to look at the future and wistfully dream of unity and togetherness, but
its hard to deal with the messiness of the now and the bad feelings that
anniversary of the abolition of slavery provides opportunities|
me there is definitely some unfinished business and I think its exposed
in the opinions expressed on radio phone-ins and 'letters to the editor' pages.
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 anniversary 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
Links relating to this story:
BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites