chapter  9
The Rhetoric of Anti-Racism in Public Housing Allocation
ByDeborah Phillips
Pages 21

After three decades of New Commonwealth and Pakistani settlements in Britain, striking differences in the housing conditions of minorities and whites prevail. It is true that the appalling standards faced by the earliest newcomers have vastly improved as minority households have moved from overcrowded often sub-standard private rental accommodation into better quality council and owner-occupied housing. Indeed, some minorities are now to be found in the more prestigious residential areas of the suburbs (Phillips 1981). However, in some respects the early picture of ethnic residential concentration, segregation and deprivation is little changed. The declining inner-city reception areas still provide a strong focus for minority clustering, black and white residential space often remain separate, and, in general, the same story of minority housing deprivation pertains. Blacks and Asians still occupy poorer quality property than whites, live in less desirable types of accommodation, and reside in the least popular locations, a pattern that is replicated throughout the different tenure categories (Brown 1984). Early writers portrayed such racial inequalities as a temporary phenomenon associated with newcomer status (Patterson 1965, Banton 1955). The social and spatial divisions have, however, so far survived the passage of time. More recent explanations have therefore sought to expose the deep structural divisions between minority and indigenous groups and the rôle of institutional racism in perpetuating inequalities between them (Miles & Phizacklea 1984).