Chahal (1999) 'The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report, Racist
Harassment and Racist Incidents: Changing Definitions, Clarifying
Sociological Research Online, vol. 4, no. 1, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/4/lawrence/chahal.html>
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Received: 21/03/99 Accepted: 23/03/99 Published: 31/3/99
A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.
Columnist Carole Malone writing in the Sunday Mirror (28 February 1999) was outraged by what this definition of a racist incident suggests:
Surely this is a blank cheque for anyone who has a grievance against anyone from another race. ... I have always treated black people in precisely the same way as I treat white people ... is that how it is going to be? Are black British people going to regard white Brits as the enemy and visa versa?
Any incident in which it appears to the reporting or investigating officer that the complaint involves an element of racial motivation. Or any incident which includes an allegation of racial motivation made by any person.
It is undoubtedly the case that there are parts of Britain with substantial Asian or Black populations in which some white people are frightened of being harassed or worse by people with a different skin colour.
There are white victims of crime, of assault, of violence but there are no white victims of racism. Racial abuse about whiteness is powerless in a society which equates whiteness with privilege; intimidation of white people never calls into question white legal, political and civil rights in this country.
... the attacked person is not victimised in his/her capacity as an individual, but as a representative of a real or imagined foreign or strange group. ... Buildings, properties and institutions may be attacked because they are perceived to represent or symbolise these communities or their interests.
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