During August and September 2020, GREC conducted a survey to gather feedback from people with protected characteristics to feed into Aerdeen City Council’s Equality Outcomes. The survey was complemented by a series of focus groups held in October and November. In total, over 200 people took part.
Between 2017-2020, half of ethnic minority participants in the survey experienced racist prejudice or hate crime, including incidents of online abuse, in-person verbal abuse, inappropriate ‘jokes,’ threats, vandalism, being refused a service, being spat at, and being physically assaulted. Several participants also highlighted the significance of ‘microaggressions,’ where frequent, low-level comments and behaviours have a serious cumulative effect.
Most incidents were not reported, largely because participants felt they were not worth reporting, because they felt they would not be taken seriously, or because they did not want to “make a fuss”. 20% of participants did not know how to report an incident, and 17% felt that reporting was too complicated or difficult. Other reasons for not reporting were fear of retribution (25%), including from work colleagues or managers, discomfort speaking with the police (9%), language issues (5%). A significant number also commented that reporting multiple incidents would be impractical or demoralising – even if they were taken seriously. For example, “When small things happen so frequently you just accept it. Plus, racial gaslighting where white people tell you you’re too sensitive, it’s not racism, if you don’t like it leave, etc.”