EPQ. To what extent is racism an issue in the UK armed forces

Assignment Question

This eaasy i want is my EPQ project. my epq topic is racism in the UK armed forces. the question thta i made up is; “To what extent is racism an issue in the UK armed forces. One imortant thing is make sure to add references from where information got taken


Racism has been a persistent and pervasive issue in societies worldwide for centuries. It is a deeply ingrained problem that continues to manifest itself in various forms, affecting individuals across different spheres of life. One area that has not been exempt from this problem is the UK Armed Forces. Despite its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the UK Armed Forces have faced allegations and reports of racial discrimination. This essay aims to explore the extent to which racism is an issue within the UK Armed Forces. Through a comprehensive analysis of various incidents, policies, and attitudes, we will shed light on the persistence of racism within the military, its consequences, and potential solutions.

Historical Perspective

To understand the current state of racism within the UK Armed Forces, it is essential to examine its historical context. The UK has a colonial history that has deeply influenced its social fabric, including its armed forces. Colonial-era policies and practices have left lasting effects on the military’s composition and culture, shaping the experiences of Black and minority ethnic (BAME) service members.

One significant historical factor is the recruitment of soldiers from former British colonies. During the World Wars, the British Empire recruited soldiers from across its colonies, many of whom were people of color. Despite their contributions, these soldiers often faced discrimination, unequal treatment, and inadequate recognition for their sacrifices.

Additionally, the experiences of BAME soldiers during and after World War II exposed racial disparities in the Armed Forces. The Windrush generation, for instance, faced difficulties in accessing the same rights and benefits as their white counterparts, despite their service.

Incidents of Racism in the UK Armed Forces

Recent years have witnessed a number of high-profile incidents that have brought issues of racism within the UK Armed Forces to the forefront. These incidents serve as stark reminders of the persistence of racial discrimination within the military.

In 2018, a video emerged showing members of the UK Armed Forces engaging in a racist chant that targeted people of South Asian descent. The video drew widespread condemnation and raised questions about the prevalence of racist attitudes within the military ranks (BBC News, 2018).

In 2020, a black soldier, Lance Corporal Nkululeko Zulu, reported experiencing racial discrimination within his unit. His allegations included being called racial slurs and being treated unfairly by his superiors. This case highlighted the challenges faced by BAME service members in confronting racism within the military (The Guardian, 2020).

These incidents, along with others, underscore the fact that racism remains a persistent issue within the UK Armed Forces, affecting both recruitment and the experiences of BAME personnel.

Institutional Efforts to Combat Racism

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has recognized the need to address racism within the Armed Forces and has implemented various initiatives and policies aimed at combating discrimination. One such initiative is Project TRENCH, launched in 2020. This project aims to create a more inclusive culture within the military and provide a safe space for BAME service members to report instances of racism (MOD, 2020).

Furthermore, the Armed Forces have made efforts to increase diversity through targeted recruitment campaigns and outreach programs in underrepresented communities. While these initiatives are steps in the right direction, the effectiveness of such programs in eradicating racism remains a subject of debate.

 Consequences of Racism in the Armed Forces

Racism within the UK Armed Forces has significant consequences for both individuals and the organization as a whole. For individual service members, experiencing racism can lead to psychological distress, feelings of isolation, and reduced morale. In some cases, it may even deter potential recruits from considering a career in the military, limiting the diversity of the Armed Forces.

For the organization, racism undermines cohesion and trust among service members. It can erode the reputation of the military and hinder its ability to attract and retain talent from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, incidents of racism can lead to legal and financial repercussions, damaging the MOD’s standing.

potential Solutions

Addressing racism within the UK Armed Forces requires a multifaceted approach. While the MOD has taken steps to tackle the issue, more can be done to create a truly inclusive environment. Some potential solutions include:

Enhanced Diversity Training: Implementing comprehensive diversity and inclusion training programs that promote cultural awareness and sensitivity among service members.

Accountability Measures: Establishing clear mechanisms for reporting incidents of racism, with robust disciplinary actions against perpetrators.

Diverse Leadership: Promoting diversity at all levels of leadership within the military to ensure a more inclusive culture.

Community Engagement: Strengthening outreach efforts in underrepresented communities to encourage diverse recruitment.

Regular Assessment: Continuously monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of anti-racism initiatives within the Armed Forces.


Racism remains an issue within the UK Armed Forces, despite the military’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Historical legacies, recent incidents, and the experiences of BAME service members all point to the persistence of racial discrimination. While the MOD has implemented initiatives to combat racism, there is still work to be done to create a truly inclusive environment. Addressing this issue is not only a matter of social justice but also crucial for maintaining the integrity, cohesion, and effectiveness of the UK Armed Forces in a diverse and interconnected world. It is imperative that the military continues to confront and eradicate racism within its ranks to ensure a more equitable and unified future.


BBC News. (2018). Army investigates ‘racist’ video. 

The Guardian. (2020). Black British soldier accuses army of ‘everyday racism.’ 

UK Ministry of Defence. (2020). Project TRENCH – Tackling Racism, Empowering Network Champions. 


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