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Deepening the divide

Despite a decade of official anti-racism in Oldham, racial tensions have worsened

By Munira Mirza   October 2010

In summer 2001, the northern towns of Oldham, Bradford and Burnley witnessed rioting by young Asians. To some observers, this brought back memories of the race riots which had flared up across Britain in the 1980s in places like Brixton and Toxteth. Ted Cantle’s report into the northern riots described a worsening relationship between white and Asian populations in these towns, who lived “parallel lives.” It seemed that nothing had changed; racism was a fact of British life.

In fact, between the 1980s and 2001 a great deal had changed. Twenty years before, racism and inequality were relatively low priorities…

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