Ethnic minority perceptions of Black Lives Matters: one year after George Floyd

NEW qualitative research by Ipsos MORI on our online community platform gives insight into the views of ethnic minorities towards BLM one year after the murder of George Floyd in America.

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs
  • Stephanie Mensah Research Director
  • Isabella Pereira Research Director
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  • Black Lives Matters has inspired optimism that change on racial justice is possible, demonstrating that everyone has a role to play in addressing inequalities
  • The movement has provided an opportunity for ethnic minority people to speak more freely about race with friends, family and colleagues 
  • Concerns remain about what the movement can achieve, whether it has lost momentum and there is some discomfort with the violence associated with the protests

The Black Lives Matters movement has galvanised the struggle for racial justice, inspiring ethnic minority individuals and their communities

While some expressed great sadness, regret and frustration that the catalyst for the BLM movement was the murder of George Floyd, others felt hopeful about the galvanising effect of the movement. 

People saw BLM as part of the bigger picture of challenging injustice and felt that BLM today embodied a broader message of resilience, education, solidarity and unity. 

Although some had concerns about the scale and pace of change required to bring about a transformation, they were not defeatist. 

Many people expressed the need to expand, organise and maintain the momentum of the movement, with a particular emphasis on the importance of engaging with and including other minority groups. 

We must make things equal for all races and for future generations too. I think it benefits all, you are not a good enough person if you are racist and you will benefit greatly from not having that hatred within you. 

(Female, 35-44 years, Chinese)

The BLM movement is shifting everyday conversations about race

People felt that the BLM movement and protests had impacted upon conversations with family, friends and in the workplace. 

Although taking about race and racism remained difficult for some, others expressed feeling more comfortable having these conversations, and felt a greater urgency to talk about these issues, particularly with their children.

I personally feel I am more comfortable in talking about racism now since the incident had occurred sadly. Before I would hesitate to talk about Black people or any form of racism but what happened to George Floyd has almost shaken the earth in a way as now people are more comfortable to talk and speak out. 

(Female, 25-34 years, Indian)

But the BLM movement has a long way to go, and some prefer to dissociate from more violent aspects of the protests

People expressed a range of different expectations of the protests. Although some felt that the protests had raised awareness of specific issues, others were sceptical about the capacity of the movement to bring about genuine change, or were concerned about the violence involved in the protests.   

There were also concerns that momentum from last year’s protests could be lost, and that policy and attitudinal shifts needed to happen first to ensure deep and lasting changes.

I don’t believe in my heart if there will be any changes following the protest maybe it’s early days still, but I don’t know of anything that people in authority are doing anything to bring about change. It seems the momentum has gone and the energy that was behind the protests last year has been put on a back burner. 

(Female, 35-44 years, Black Caribbean)

Technical Note

  • Ipsos MORI conducted in-depth online qualitative research with 42 ethnic minority participants from across England to explore their views about the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • The Ipsos MORI Unfiltered Voices qualitative online community is a self-funded study for the Ipsos MORI Diversity & Inclusion research programme. 
  • The 12-week online community brings together 42 ethnic minority individuals who live in England with the aim of developing a rich picture of their diverse views and experiences. 
  • Ethnicities included in the study were Black Caribbean, Black African, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Chinese Vietnamese and mixed heritage (White/ Asian, White/ Black, Asian, Pakistani/ Bangladeshi). 
  • Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd May – 14th May 2021.

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs
  • Stephanie Mensah Research Director
  • Isabella Pereira Research Director

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