The concept of institutional racism re-emerged in political discourse in the late 1990s after a long hiatus. Despite it initially seeming pivotal to New Labour's reform of policing and the antecedent of a new race equality agenda, it has remained a contested concept that has been critiqued by multiple constituencies. This paper notes the ambiguities and contradictions of the concept and considers its validity as an explanatory concept for long-observed ethnic inequalities in educational attainment and stop and search. In so doing, it argues for its retention, but only within a multilevel framework that incorporates racialisations operating at the micro, meso and macro levels
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