A new survey carried out by the U.K. creative industries union Bectu has found that racism and underreporting of racism are still highly prevalent in U.K. broadcasting.
According to a press release, the survey — which asked respondents questions about whether they had experienced or witnessed racism, their experiences reporting racism to either a broadcaster or a trade union, and whether complaints were dealt with effectively — garnered hundreds of responses from film and television workers in the U.K.
In terms of the racism reporting mechanisms currently in place, the responses “revealed an overwhelming lack of confidence with the way in which broadcasters and trade unions handle reports of racism,” with many of those surveyed expressing that their complaints were either not taken seriously or were completely ignored. Just 12 percent of those who reported racism to a trade union and four percent of those who reported racism to a broadcaster felt their complaint had been dealt with effectively.
The survey — which uses the term “global majority” to refer to people who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, Indigenous to the global south, and/or have been racialized as “ethnic minorities” — also found that 61 percent of global majority respondents reported experiencing racism at work, 59 percent reported witnessing racism at work, and 57 percent felt that racism had impacted their career progression.
Many of the respondents’ highlighted the prevalence of racist micro aggressions, with one drawing attention to the persistence of “‘jokes’, talk of ‘diversity hires’, ‘box-ticking exercises’, etc.”
This survey follows the publication of Bectu’s “Race to be Heard” report in late 2020, researched and written by producer and academic Marcus Ryder, which pointed to racism within the U.K. broadcasting industry as a widespread and common experience. It was also proposed then that an independent body be established for casts and crews to safely report to about racist experiences.
Said Head of Bectu Philippa Childs, “Our survey particularly demonstrates that more work is needed to educate people about subtle forms of racism, including micro aggressions, that remain rife in the sector. [It] indicates that little has changed since we last called for an independent racism reporting body, and highlights the pressing need for such a body. Everyone, unions included, need to do better in helping to stamp out racism in the industry and this can only be done through collaboration and partnership between U.K. broadcasters and entertainment unions.”
Ryder added, “All the evidence suggests that there is serious underreporting of racism in British broadcasting. If we want to maintain and grow a world class film [and] television industry, we must create an environment in which everyone can thrive. An independent racism reporting body would be an important step in achieving that.”
You can read the full survey findings via the Bectu website.