We’re told that black families are hardest hit, this is all structural racism:
Labour has reaffirmed its commitment to tackle structural racism after new analysis showed black households are five times more likely to struggle making energy bills repayments.
Black and minority ethnic people were already 2.5 times more likely to be in relative poverty, and 2.2 times more likely to live in deep poverty (defined as having an income more than 50% below the relative poverty line), than their white counterparts regardless of the energy crisis, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
Labour analysis has revealed black households are also four times more likely to be behind on rent or mortgage payments than white adults. On top of this, more than two-thirds of black adults are finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, compared with 45% of all adults; and 21% of black adults saying they are behind on payments, compared with 5% of all adults.
It’s certainly possible that this is all about structural racism. If we had significant structural racism then this might well be the sort of thing we’d see.
It’s also true that those of us who have been around the world a bit see Britain as a very less than normally racist place. Not the least or a place without any racism at all but one where, through a possibly jaundiced but internationally experienced eye, race has less to do with economic outcome than most to many other places.
So, is there an alternative explanation? One that Occam’s shaving kit suggests might be the true explanation?
Note that the numbers are about households. The median (and modal, mean) British household is two adults. A single adult household is going to be, quite obviously, at an economic disadvantage when we consider household income.
Not sure if we do have numbers for ethnicity by size of adult household. So, children by single parent household by ethnicity would be a useful proxy. It is a proxy, it is not the thing we wish to measure. But it’s close to it and is a useful guide.
The percentage of black children in single parent families is double that of whites. Of black caribbeans it’s triple. Of Indians it’s only just over half that white level. Note that the Labour figures there talk about black and ethnic minorities being more likely to be poor, but then pull out black figures alone for the much worse outcome.
We’re talking about household incomes and can note that we’ve very different household – on average, median, mode and mean to boot – structures. So, how much of the difference in household incomes is down to differences, by ethnicity, in household structure?
That brush, soap and blade from the medieval monk doesn’t tell us that this rumination is correct. It does though tell us that we might want to examine this point a little more before insisting that it’s the oppression of whitey upon the diverse causing the original problem being complained about.
In a world where most households are two adults and mostly two adults earning, we’ve a portion of the society more likely to be single adult households and also poorer when measured by household income. Hmm, gosh, now that is a surprise, right?
But is it the cause of what is being complained about?