Covid and ethnicity
brap circulated a quick survey in to unpick the concerning trend around the differential impact that the current Covid-19 pandemic is having on the BME population.
This was done via our own personal and professional networks over email, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Facebook. We collected 132 responses and, whilst the survey was clearly aimed at BME individuals, responses came from a variety of ethnic groups:
Black or Black British (42%)
Asian or Asian British (27%)
Multiple heritage (14%)
Other ethnic group (1.5%)
Did not specify (1.5%)
Key findings were as follows.
WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE?
The majority of respondents (84%) thought the lockdown rules introduced by the government were appropriate to the situation. However, responses differed by ethnicity. Only 81% of Asian respondents thought the response was appropriate, for example, compared with 95% of White respondents.
DID PEOPLE HAVE TO WORK DURING THE LOCKDOWN?
More than half of respondents (51%) worked during the lockdown. A small minority of this group were students preparing exams or finishing assignments, and a slightly larger number of people who were working remotely (tutors, caseworkers, some NHS and council workers, and a variety of self-employed professionals). The majority were those who still had to go out for paid work.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE’S BIGGEST WORRIES ABOUT THE FUTURE?
Money worries are top of participants’ list of concerns post-Covid (regardless of ethnicity), while concerns around children’s education and support for elderly relatives also feature highly. Key concerns cited in the ‘Other’ category include staff leaving the NHS after such an experience, the impact on people’s mental health and their ability to access relevant support services, possibilities of travelling abroad, and more people now recognising their need for a better work-life balance and wanting to spend more time with their family.
However, perhaps the most common concern cited was a fear that no lessons will be learnt after this crisis and that people will quickly fall back into old habits.
WHO DO PEOPLE TRUST TO GIVE THEM ADVICE ON CORONAVIRUS?
30% of all respondents trust the government for advice on coronavirus, 14% most trust family, 13% the media, and 7% religious leaders. Most people, however, claimed they wanted advice directly from medical or healthcare professionals. This was seen in responses to ‘Other’ (36%), which referred overwhelmingly to healthcare workers.
HAVE PEOPLE BEEN TREATING BME GROUPS DIFFERENTLY SINCE THE OUTBREAK?
About a quarter (24%) of Asian respondents reported being treated more negatively since the start of the outbreak in March 2020. ‘I feel that white people are being more wary of me and not very polite,’ suggested one participant. Others talked about the reactions they received when out shopping:
In the early stages of the lockdown when shopping people would look at me differently and singling me out for my ethnic differences as if this would mean I’m a carrier
Another respondent claimed:
at supermarkets there is clear hostility and those that look 'other' are not responded too positively. We are seeing more and more subtle forms of racism and hatred
Huge thank you to everyone who took part in the survey,
You can download the full report below.