Ethnic communities in Birmingham should not be prior-itised at the expense of the city's disadvantaged white population, a leading commentator on race has warned.
Aaron Reid, who heads Birmingham Professional DiverCity, said any sense of neglect of white communities would force them into the arms of right wing organisations.
Mr Reid's organisation promotes the inclusion of ethnic minorities in the professional sector. But he said it was equally important to prioritise people in terms of class as well as race.
He said: "Issues around being disadvantaged are not necessarily only about ethnicity.
"Just as ethnic minorities are potentially disadvantaged by colour, working class whites are potentially disadvantaged because of background.
"Although we are focused on race, our work is contributing to the inclusion of disadvantaged white communities. By breaking down the barriers excluding ethnic minorities from being part of the professional sector, we are at the same time breaking down barriers excluding white working class communities.
"This is because both suffer disadvantage."
Birmingham Professional DiverCity hold their annual conference in November.
The organisation is aiming to ensure none of Birmingham's communities feel excluded before the city becomes Britain's first ethnic majority city by 2010.
Karamat Iqbal, director of Birmingham-based consultancy, The Forward Partnership, said evidence of white minority disadvantage could be found in the education system.
He said his research had shown that the white working class population holds the highest rate of underachievement in schools both locally and nationally.
He said: "We need to acknowledge the fact that continued neglect of white underachievers in education will widen the social gap and create resentment among this community. There is little discussion about white underachievers and their needs, instead it is just put on the back-burner."
He said the exclusion of white people when there is discussion of 'ethnic groups' could have serious implications for community cohesion.
Mr Iqbal said: "It is essential that all agencies acknowledge the problems faced by disadvantaged sections of the white community through a joinedup strategy."
Mr Reid is urging politicians, policy makers and business leaders to recognise the problem and take positive action before there is a repeat of disturbances, such as the riots seen in Lozells last October.
He said: "History shows that if minority groups, including white minority groups, feel they are being ignored, this will result in social disturbances, like those seen in Lozells, and support for extremist parties."