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Colour and Citizenship is Published

Colour and Citizenship coverColour and Citizenship: A Report on British Race Relations was published in 1969, directed by Jim Rose and commissioned by the Institute of Race Relations to be the first survey of race relations in Britain.

Though the report was conducted over 5 years and consisted of 19 major and 22 minor research projects from British universities, there was a sense of urgency in its preparation. The original intention was to create a series of detailed studies. However, as the race relations situation in Britain rapidly deteriorated into racial conflict during the preparation of the report in the mid 1960s, the authors recognised a need for a single comprehensive study that could resonate in both the public and official policy spheres, rather than a library of volumes which only the 'experts' would read.

Jim Rose, who co-founded the Runnymede Trust, pointed out in the introduction to the report that if his country was 'turning in on itself, if a loss of confidence was accompanied by increasing nationalism, and if apparent affluence were engendering selfishness, then the climate might be unhealthy for the growth of a multi-racial society.' His survey and preparation for the report aimed at positive results. In a speech on Rose's contributions to race relations, Anthony Lester, a co-founder of the Runnymede Trust, commented, 'That was characteristic; he did not believe in empty gestures; he was, above all, a practical man understanding the art of the possible.'

The result was a monumental 800-page survey of race relations that spanned a number of policy areas, including education and health. The government was asked to consider its housing policies – which were restricting immigrants to economically deprived areas and preventing them from dispersing voluntarily - and policing, which left many second-generation immigrants with a 'growing sense of fear and frustration'. The report also found that the majority of Britons were tolerant towards immigrants, and that politicians were a major cause of xenophobic feeling.

The publication's estimate that in 1986 there would be twice as many 'coloured' (now referred to as 'ethnic minority') Britons as in 1969 attracted a great deal of media attention.

A year later, Nicholas Deakin, who had worked closely with Rose on the longer book, produced Colour, Citizenship and British Society, an abridged and updated version of the Report. Together, these texts became charters or founding documents for the Runnymede Trust in the 1970s and early 1980s. They also had a major influence on the creation of the Race Relations Act 1976. Decades later, in the late 1990s, the Parekh Report (by the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain) was also inspired by and intended to rethink Rose's seminal 1969 report.

Audio Interview

Nicholas DeakinNicholas Deakin has worked as a civil servant and in local government and chaired national and local voluntary bodies. He was a founding member of the Runnymede Trust and worked with Jim Rose on the seminal Colour and Citizenship. From 1980 to 1998 he was Professor of Social Policy and Administration at the University of Birmingham. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Baring Foundation.

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