Race hate crimes on the increase in North East

Researchers at Northumbria University have warned that race hate crimes are on the increase in the North East.  See: Evening Chronicle

This news is deeply disappointing.  As Dr Cole rightly points out the North-east has long been a region of immigration. There were large immigrations of Irish in the mid-19th century and Yemenis, particularly into South Shields in the early years of the 20th century. Neither of these occurred without tensions, yet in the long-run groups such as the Irish and the Yemenis integrated very well.  Indeed it was claimed by the writer David Bean in 1962 that South Shields was, “a study in integration.?  The North-east has a proud record of good community relations.

It is therefore all the more disturbing that a small minority of racists see fit to besmirch that record and the good name of all of us in the region into the bargain. We have enough problems here, with the return of the country as a whole into recession and the prospect of further damaging cuts to the public services still to come. The last thing we need is the region to be disgraced by vicious racist thugs and our communities to be divided.

We have seen racial tensions in the region before, but these were swept away by a culture which valued solidarity, fairness and tolerance over narrow sectarianism and a North-east mentality which loathes the kind of bullying which makes racism acceptable. It is to be hoped that the present problems will be little more than the kinds of blips we have experienced here before. We are not a racist region; we are better than that.