Movement Building

Making the Case for Race Equality

Written by:
Sanjiv Lingayah, Omar Khan and Kimberly McIntosh
Read time:
40 mins

In October 2018 Voice4Change England and the Runnymede Trust engaged in work to support race equality advocacy.

Despite the longstanding efforts of race equality advocates and activists there is still a need to make the case for meaningful action for race equality.

Like other causes, that of race equality needs to win support in order to make progress. However, doing so presents particular challenges as talking about race, race equality and racism appears to generate a degree of discomfort and resistance amongst mainstream audiences. Today, basic concepts are still contested, such as the continued existence of racism and the embedded and structural nature of race inequalities.

Framing is a method to win support for causes. It involves numerous steps including clarifying what advocates want to achieve through their efforts; researching public thinking on a cause; and developing and testing messages to help move target audiences in a particular direction on an issue.

Lessons from framing research on a variety of social causes in the UK, lead to two main recommendations for more effective advocacy for race equality. First is that the case for race equality can be strengthened by observing a set of emerging general advocacy principles. These include advocates being clear about the purposes of every communication effort that they undertake; making the moral case for race equality by appealing to public-spirited values; and showing that action on race equality is compatible with a decent life for all.

The second recommendation is for investment in a specific programme to frame/reframe race equality. This would help to provide advocates with better understanding of what, how and why the public think about race and enable development of specific language, metaphors and messages to help to make the case for race equality whilst staying true to the ethos of racial justice work.

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