Saturday 3 December 2016

White child 12 times more likely to become PM, study reveals

Published 12/11/2016 | 00:06

David Harewood has fronted a documentary looking at whether a black man or woman could become prime minister
David Harewood has fronted a documentary looking at whether a black man or woman could become prime minister

A white child born in Britain is 12 times more likely to become prime minister than a black child, a study has revealed.

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Will Britain Ever Have A Black Prime Minister?, a new documentary fronted by Homeland star David Harewood, calculates the probability of a black man or woman making it to Number 10.

The study, conducted by statistician Dr Faiza Shaheen, found the average black child born in the UK today has a 1 in 17 million chance of landing the top job, compared to 1 in 1.4 million for a white child.

It also found a privileged white child born into a wealthy household, who goes to private school, makes it into a top university and gets into a top profession, has a 1 in 200,000 chance of becoming prime minister.

Harewood said the system punishes state school black youngsters and any boy or girl who does become prime minister will need to be "super-human".

He said: "This demonstrated to me that the system is structured in an elitist way that favours those with wealth and privilege over others, particularly people of colour.

"If you're a state school educated black kid even if you cross all those hurdles, the system still inherently is going to disadvantage you."

However the Hollywood actor said he "refuses to be disheartened" and believes a black prime minister is on the horizon.

"Black people can and will, despite the odds, break through those barriers to success. It's a struggle that starts from the day you are born and would appear to remain throughout your life.

"But the people I've met making this film have given me real optimism, that one day, in the not too distant future, we will make it to the very top job.

"Any black individual who can achieve this will need to have a super-human set of characteristics and qualities, be the most multifaceted and resilient individual and of course they'll need a very healthy dose of good fortune along the way.

"If any black man or woman is going to get here, they are going to have to make the most incredible journey.

"They will most likely have to overcome the barriers of poverty and a lack of social networks. They'll have to fight past the obstacles in our education system, and avoid the pitfalls.

"The chances are, they'll have to face down discrimination within the workplace and defeat political prejudice on the doorsteps and within the parties in order to rise up to the top."

Press Association

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