“Let us say this yet again: racism has no place in Europe. Being confronted with the true scale of racism is both shocking and shameful. These findings should be a wakeup call for action on equality and inclusion for people of African descent.”
— Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.
The main bulk of data used in the survey was collected from 6,752 people of African descent who are residents in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Of these 6,752 citizens, almost half experience racial discrimination — this represents an increase from 39 % in 2016 to 45 % in 2022, the survey finds.
This report comes after protests for the global Black Lives Matter movement peaked in 2020 after the death of George Floyd. CBS news reported at the time that the protests crossed “continents and cultures.”
The survey proves that Europe is still not free of the racial discrimination the world saw against black peoples in the US back in 2020.
Survey Reveals Shocking Statistics
People of African descent in Europe face racial discrimination in innumerable aspects of daily life — in sum, 47% of respondents indicated that they’d experienced racial discrimination in at least one area of life on any ground in the five years preceding the survey.
23% said that a private property owner prevented them from renting an apartment or a house because of their racial or ethnic origin. 32% of respondents of African descent face poverty compared to 18% of the general population, 14% can’t afford heating bills compared to 7% of the general population, and 18% have been in debt on utility bills compared to 5% of the general population.
This discrimination extends into healthcare, too. The European Union Fundamental Rights Agency found that 9% of those surveyed experienced racial discrimination when using healthcare services in the year leading up to the survey.
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With regards to employment, 30% of employed respondents had a temporary contract — for reference, that is three times more than the 11% of the general population working under temporary contracts across 27 EU Member States. Moreover, respondents of African descent faced racial discrimination both when looking for work (28%) and when at work (23%), the survey shows.
The stats on racial profiling were alarming: A quarter (26%) of respondents had been stopped by the police in the five years prior to the survey, and nearly half of those stopped (48%) described the most recent stop as racial profiling.
Rising Support For Far-Right Politics In Europe
These rising levels of racial discrimination in Europe coincide with an increased support for far-right political parties in Germany and Austria.
Germany’s far-right populist party, The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is currently leading the polls in the state of Thuringia, claiming 34% of votes. In fact, Germany saw far-right candidate Robert Sesselman of the AfD elected as Sonneberg’s district administrator (the equivalent of a mayor in Germany) in June of this year.
The Need For Data
Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency Michael O’Flaherty stresses that this rise in racial discrimination begs the need for the gathering of equality data — this must, for O’Flaherty, include “data disaggregated by gender, racial and ethnic origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“Without this much needed data, racial discrimination remains invisible. People’s voices go unheard,” he says. (bolding added)
Tellingly, Germany currently doesn’t gather racial statistics due to a sensitive history of the use of census data during World War Two. Therefore, just as O’Flaherty predicts, the voices of racial minorities in Germany go unnoticed — as CEO of Vielfalt Entscheidet (Diversity In Leadership) Daniel Gyamerah told Quartz News, “black people in Germany are mostly invisible.” (bolding added)
The FRA’s report insisted on the need for equality data, stating that “a lack of national data makes it difficult for Member States to monitor progress on tackling racial discrimination.”
The FRA’s opinion directly addressed EU Member States:
“In line with the EU anti-racism action plan, EU Member States are encouraged to collect data disaggregated by racial or ethnic origin, in order to capture experiences of discrimination and victimisation and intersecting forms of discrimination. These data should be comprehensive, reliable, representative and comparable. Collecting these data should be mainstreamed into EU and national surveys, and to the extent possible in administrative data systems.” (bolding added)
In the words of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR): “Across Europe, there is a lack of data disaggregated by race; as a result, structural inequalities are difficult to evidence, and policy makers cannot design informed and targeted policies.”
The FRA’s survey urges European leaders to act to end racial discrimination, suggesting that race-blind data collection isn’t working.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Black Lives Matter Protest. Featured Photo Credit: Duncan Shaffer.