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Black people are not more homophobic

Black people may be less prejudiced against gay and lesbian people than stereotypes suggest, judging by new figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS report flies in the face of the common perception that black communities are more homophobic than the general population.

Out of 1,000 reported anti-gay offences, four percent of all defendants were identified as black (African or Caribbean), while 81 percent were categorised as White, up by two points on the previous year.

While the last census in 2001 showed the Caribbean, African and black mixed population to be 2.7 percent, the new census in 2011 is expected to show an official increase.

This is due to an expanding mixed and African population, and efforts by the Office of National Statistics to combat the under-counting of black people.

It’s highly probable that the next census will show an overall black population of at least four percent.

Releasing their figures yesterday, the CPS highlighted the overall success rates in prosecuting all types of hate crime.

Significantly, the Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland said: “There is no hierarchy of hate crime – they are all equally corrosive to society and to victims.”

Hopefully this latest report will challenge the stereotype that black people are more likely to be homophobic, an impression that has been reinforced by a minority of gay campaigners who have targeted the likes of Mike Tyson (above), Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and dancehall reggae singers.

Islamic preachers – some of whom are regarded as moderate – and the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have also been targeted over homophobia.

Other campaigners, such as Stonewall, have taken a more progressive and considered view of race and homophobia. Their thoughtful report Understanding Prejudice makes clear that all minority groups suffer discrimination.

The CPS statistics showed that convictions for race and religious crime rose from 74 percent in 2005/6 to 82% in 2008/9. 11,600 race crimes were prosecuted over the past 12 months. Four in every five crimes that were linked to race or religious hatred involved offences against the person or public order offences.


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