ESRC: Does talking about race fuel racism?

Imagine if we just stopped mentioning race, would the EDL and other far right groups cease to exist? If we stopped talking about race, would racial discrimination suddenly disappear?

On Thursday 7 November the Runnymede Trust, the UK's leading race equality think tank, is holding a free debate at the Wolverhampton Science Park. The event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science and will explore the topic, 'Does talking about race fuel racism?'.

Speakers include Dr Nicola Rollock, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education at the University of Birmingham, Ajmal Hussain, a Research Associate from Aston University and Dr Gavin Schaffer, a Senior Lecturer in British History at the University of Birmingham.

Dr Rollock researches the way that race inequity in contemporary societies is continually manifested by certain practices, while Ajmal Hussain's research interests are in the areas of cultural identity amongst British Asian youth in urban areas. Dr Schaffer is a specialist in race and immigration history, and has a particular interest in racial science, race and the media and the history of racial violence. His present research also focuses on the construction of Jewish history and the treatment of minorities in Britain during the Second World War.

The debate is part of the End Racism This Generation campaign, which calls on individuals and organisations to pledge to take action to tackle racial inequality. The campaign highlights the fact that young black people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed compared to young white people in the UK, and that the police stop and search black people at seven times the rate of white people. It also points out that almost half of all Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers in the UK earn less than £7 an hour.

Rob Berkeley, Director of the Runnymede Trust says:

"Racism and racial discrimination still exist in the UK. Racism is everybody's problem, and we need to have honest and open dialogues which explore how we can work together to tackle this enduring inequality.

"Wolverhampton has been at the forefront of the UK's race relations, from the Rivers of Blood speech, to the multiculturalism of the 1980's to the current approach of integration. We are looking forward to hearing from Wolverhampton's diverse community.

"We are grateful to the ESRC for giving us an opportunity to include an End Racism This Generation event as part of the Festival of Social Science."

The event will be very interactive for the audience, who will have the opportunity to ask their own questions and bring their own thoughts and ideas to the debate.

Tickets are free and can be booked at

More info can be found at

For further information contact:

Runnymede Trust

Zuleika Sedgley
ESRC Press Office:

Susie Watts
Telephone: 01793 413119

Sarah Nichols
Telephone: 01793 413122
Notes for editors

Event: Does talking about race fuel racism
Organiser: Sondhya Gupta, The Runnymede Trust
Date: 7 November 2013
Venue: tbc, Wolverhampton
Audience: General audience
Further information: Please contact Sondhya Gupta, The Runnymede Trust. Email:

Runnymede is the UK's leading race equality think tank. To learn more about Runnymede visit, follow @RunnymedeTrust on Twitter or
End Racism This Generation is a national campaign by Runnymede. Learn more and pledge to make a difference at or follow on Twitter using @EndRacismUK
The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council and takes place from 2-9 November 2013. With events from some of the country's leading social scientists, the Festival celebrates the very best of British social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives – both now and in the future. This year's Festival of Social Science has over 170 creative and exciting events across the UK to encourage businesses, charities, government agencies, schools and college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events and a full list of the programme are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on Twitter using #esrcfestival.
The Economic and Social Research Council is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.