A GROUNDBREAKING study has revealed a significant number of Scots still hold “deeply racist assumptions”, but a majority of people north of the Border believe in equality and support tackling the problem.

The most comprehensive study of its kind looking at mainstream views on race and racism in England and Scotland, which was carried out by non-profit initiative Reframing Race, has revealed a complex picture.

When it comes to debunked myths about race, four out of 10 people in both nations still think that some ethnic groups are naturally harder working than others.

Around one in five people in Scotland believe that someone’s race tells you something about their character, while around one in 10 even said they think some races are born less intelligent than others.

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However an overwhelming majority of Scots – 96% – agreed with the statement that everyone in society, regardless of race or ethnicity, has a shared humanity and should be treated with dignity, according to the Testing Times report.

More than eight in 10 agreed that everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserve justice to be served, including “righting wrongs from the past”.

And two-thirds of those quizzed in Scotland also said the school curriculum should be changed to teach history with more emphasis on empire, slavery and racism.

Report author Sanjiv Lingayah, director of Reframing Race, said: “If we want to end racism and entrench anti-racism it is critical to build public demand for deep and irreversible progress. Testing Times shows there is still a way to go.

“The data shows significant attachment to deep-seated and debunked myths about ‘race’.

“More positively, the findings show that the public can understand systemic racism and that they can be rallied around far-reaching anti-racist solutions that will help to make it possible for all people to live well.”

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Nina Kelly, co-author and director of content and communications at Reframing Race, said: “To see these statistics, which reveal that so many among us make deeply racist assumptions, is meaningful beyond the potentially racist behaviours of a few.

“Racism is fundamentally about structures and institutions, but those structures are made by design, and those institutions are run by people. So, what people think and believe matters, and has a real-world impact on how our society is organised.

“The good news - and there is plenty - is that widespread commitment exists among the public to tackling racism in practical ways, especially in Scotland.

“And we also have some strong indications of how we might speak to people and bring them with us.”

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Chris Birt, associate director for Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “This vital research underlines the complex public understanding of race and racism in Scotland but does show us how we can start to shift public views.

"We should not brush over, though, that these findings highlight widespread racist views amongst people in Scotland that can and must change.

“And they will if we use research like this in our commitment to antiracism and grasp the clear shared humanity and public support for change.”