Socialist Worker

Structural racism is behind high coronavirus death rate for black and asian people

Issue No. 2710

Black and asian people are more likely to be in jobs that put them at higher risk of contracting coronavirus

Black and asian people are more likely to be in jobs that put them at higher risk of contracting coronavirus


A new report has provided further proof of how racism is behind the disproportionate deaths of black and Asian people from coronavirus.

The report into BAME deaths, commissioned by the Welsh Government, found that structural racism plays a huge part in the deaths.

Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, vice chair of Race Council Cymru and who led the report, said, “There’s an overall theme running through our research for this report.

“It centres on long-standing racism and disadvantage and the lack of BAME representation within decision-making processes.”

“The coronavirus pandemic is, in some respects, revealing the consequences of a lack of action on race equality.

“Many of the issues we’ve highlighted have been identified and discussed previously but they haven’t been addressed in any systematic and sustained way.”

He added, “You need concerted efforts to make change and I don’t think we have that.

“Racism is like coronavirus—you can’t see it but it is there.”

Professor Ogbonna said BAME people aren’t dying because of their ethnicity.

They are dying because racism, for instance, means they are more likely to be in certain types of work or are less likely to speak up to raise health and safety concerns.


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