Economic impact of COVID on the BAME community

Anika – Year 10 Student

Editor’s note: There is a growing awareness that, “Current evidence for COVID-19 shows that those from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background and males have been disproportionately impacted, with age and specific underlying conditions also associated with more severe illness. ” (British Medical Association). However, there has been far less public discussion about the possible disproportionate economic impacts on the BAME community. Accordingly, talented Year 10 student Anika’s essay is a timely addition to the wider discourse taking place at this time. This is Anika’s third publication in The GSAL Journal; you can read more contributions from Anika here. CPD


Introduction

George Floyd: his unjust murder breathed life into the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide. The struggle for black rights has been arduous with several sacrifices and several influential advocates, from Martin Luther King to Rosa Parks. These protests could be the start of the revolutionary change towards the topic of discrimination. This tectonic movement demands attention and cannot be ignored. This movement could potentially have many positive impacts on the economies of countries, as people will be more inclined to support local communities due to the increased awareness. If we want our economy to thrive then we must support BAME communities.

What is BAME?

BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic; it refers to all aspects of the ethnic minorities and is a UK demographic. In the 2011 census, around 13% of the population is a part of the BAME community. In 2031, it is predicted that the BAME community will make up to 15% of the total population in England and 37% in London. However, due to the history of BAME people, they have had a lack of educational opportunities due to poverty. In addition, in the Victorian period, many children from ethnic minorities were pulled out of school to work in order to earn money for their families. These communities were not given the opportunity to access a proper education. Many of the educated, rich people in the Victorian era took the opportunity to create businesses as a long-term source of income. However, the underprivileged used the majority of their income to afford simple, basic materials. This meant that the BAME community did not have much start-up capital to invest in a business, meaning that they were unable to invest more money in order to develop their businesses. People are starting to recognise this now and are increasingly supporting local businesses.

Economic disadvantages through the ages

The history of black lives explains why many ethnic minority economies are currently suffering disproportionately due to debt, failure of business etc. When slavery was abolished in 1833 (UK) and 1865 (America), black people still suffered against white prejudice. The reason slavery was not abolished earlier was due to the loss of free manual labour. They were refused jobs, and if they managed to find work, they received unfair wages. They were victims of racial segregation. After the abolition, British slave owners received compensation for the loss of their businesses; however, no slave received a single penny. This has led to debt on the shoulders of the BAME community, generation after generation, with an attempt to pay off debt with a lower income and the lack of support from government policies. This means that they did not receive any inheritance, only debt. This has given the ethnic majority an opportunity to dominate the market, leaving no space for smaller, developing businesses run by ethnic minorities.

Covid-19 impact on BAME communities

Covid-19 has disproportionately affected black communities in almost every single aspect as compared to white communities. This includes more businesses owned by BAME people being shut down, greater unemployment amongst BAME communities resulting in a smaller income and reduced access to healthcare. Furthermore, many of the racial minorities are key workers in crucial sectors such as healthcare, transport, police forces etc. Although this is minimizing the unemployment rate gap between the ethnic majority and minority, in certain places such as America, the unemployment gap has increased by 4%. Furthermore, many people from ethnic minorities have underlying health conditions; they have failed to receive treatment in places that do not provide free or cheap healthcare. This is due to the lack of insurance money, thus increasing their mortality rate in this world pandemic. This has more greatly negatively impacted upon the socio-economic status of BAME people.

Minimising impacts against BAME community

On the contrary, there are many ways to combat these impacts, which will help to boost these economies. More people can start buying products from local sellers, thereby helping these people and saving the planet. This is because it reduces the number of food miles it takes for an item to be transported. Luckily, more people are becoming aware of this and so local products are becoming increasingly popular. In addition, due to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, there is more awareness for supporting local communities, which is very beneficial for them. Awareness means that people will understand what is going on around the world and give them an option to help. Specifically, social media has been a very useful platform for people to bring awareness to this movement and there have been many fundraisers held to support the protests and the movement.

How to support BAME

To ensure a better life and income for the ethnic minorities, we can support them in various ways. We can make sure that they receive equal wages and the same benefits, as well as support to help pay off debt that they have acquired over the years. The government could introduce policies that can help them overcome financial difficulties. This will help to support many people’s livelihoods and by supporting local communities, you are helping the economy to thrive. This means that our economy will be more stable and will increase the country’s GDP, giving everybody a better quality of life.

Conclusion

Since October is Black History Month, it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the racial discrimination in the world. It is a time to celebrate people, regardless of the race, for discoveries and inventions that have brought the start of a new era. We must acknowledge that ethnic minorities have suffered repeatedly in the past, not being able to enjoy the luxuries of the majority, simply because of race. From slavery to racial segregation, they have suffered through it all. However, it is a new era not only for racial justice but also for economics. By supporting locals, we are building our economy, giving everybody, regardless of race, a happier, safer life.  Covid-19 has affected many people’s lives, affecting countries’ economies, due to more money spent on healthcare etc. In order to rebuild after this world pandemic, equality is key; a development so crucial that until it occurs, we will have economic instability.

Bibliography

https://www.ft.com/content/28dc48f8-b36b-4848-8e73-774999a8e502

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/business/economy/white-economists-black-lives-matter.html

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/article/78139

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/time-think-differently/trends-demography

Anika 783835

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