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institutional racism

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Phrase coined by the Macpherson Report (UK 1999; Cm 4262‐I, paragraph 46:1) on Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was stabbed to death in London in 1993 by a gang of white youths. Nobody was ever convicted of his murder due to police blunders, which Sir William Macpherson's committee believed formed such a persistent pattern of prejudice (some of it unconscious) against black citizens that the Metropolitan Police was guilty of ‘institutional racism’. The Metropolitan Police accepted the charge. So did the liberal heads of a number of other UK institutions, though not always those they led.

Subjects: Social sciencesSociology

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