Anti-racism legislation has failed to tackle the underlying causes of prejudice, according to a new book.
Tackling the Roots of Racism warns that laws against racial discrimination and harassment have proved ineffective in improving the quality of life for different ethnic minority groups.
The authors, from Middlesex University, reviewed British research into the impact of race laws, in particular on policies involving equality in the workplace.
The book, published with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, conceded that changes to recruitment procedures arguably made a difference to the employment of minorities.
However, it concluded that black and ethnic minority staff continued to make slower progress than white counterparts within organisations because of persistent racism.
The current laws failed to address underlying everyday attitudes and behaviours, which go unchallenged, the authors claimed.
Co-author Reena Bhavnani said "deeply embedded" views in British society on the supposed inferiority of ethnic groups needed to be tackled.
She said: "The complexity of the way that race issues interact with inequalities arising from class, gender, age and disability suggests that a more holistic approach to tackling the roots of racism is needed. Patterns of behaviour are ingrained in the British establishment and its structures and in everyday British culture. Individuals do not necessarily act in racist ways, but attitudes and ideologies based on ideas about the supposed inferiority and subordination of certain groups are still deeply embedded in British society."
The authors also warned that monitoring work performances of black and ethnic minority employees in isolation could have the " unintended consequence" of reinforcing racism.
The book criticised local authorities that opted for "short-term" solutions such as multicultural festivals. But it praised such projects as the national Kick It Out in football campaign and the Art Council's New Audience initiative to encourage people to enter theatre and promote black and minority ethnic arts projects.