This is one of those things that those only used to Britain will have a hard time believing. But those of us who have had more than just a taste of other societies around the world will insist that its true - our green and pleasant land, or perhaps the people in it are, is remarkably unracist by the usual standards of these things.
This does rather go against the grain of the usual complaints of course, but it is still true:
Almost a third of people of African descent polled in a new EU survey say they have experienced racial harassment in the last five years, a report that claims racial discrimination is “commonplace” across 12 European countries reveals.
People of African descent face “a dire picture” of discrimination in housing, the workplace and everyday life, the survey of 5,803 people by the European Union’s fundamental rights agency states.
Perceived racial harassment, such as offensive gestures, comments or threats, was highest in Finland (63%) and Luxembourg (52%) and least prevalent in the UK (21%) and Malta (20%).
One in 20 respondents said they had been a victim of a physical attack in the last five years, ranging from 14% in Finland to 2% in Portugal. The figure was 3% for the UK.
This is not an argument that we must now rest on our laurels of course but the next accusation of the institutional racism of Britain should be met with a “compared to what? Or where?” We don’t claim that here is perfect, obviously not given the number of complaints we make about aspects of it. But it is markedly better than many other places and it is so along extremely important axes.