Families are spread out on the grass beneath one of our greatest cathedrals. In the meandering lanes and alleyways hereabouts, crowds drift happily past handsome shop fronts selling everything from expensive watches to fudge.
The Sunday market is teeming, the adjacent food market is packed and there is plenty of boat traffic on the grand old River Ouse.
Farther out from the city centre, it’s like a Sunday afternoon in suburbs all over the country. Some people are mowing the lawn. Some are in the pub following the fortunes of English cricket up the road at Headingley.
It is hard to acknowledge that behind this veneer of balmy weekend contentment in the capital of ‘God’s own country’, I am looking at a city mired in bigotry and xenophobia.
That, however, is the conclusion of a hefty report by something calling itself Inclusive Equal Rights UK (IERUK), which has just come to a pretty damning conclusion: ‘Racism in York is casual, systemic, and structural.’
Citing multiple disparities in everything from education to employment and policing, with anecdotal evidence, this alarming document, funded by the Labour-run city council, paints a picture of a place closer to Alabama circa 1955 than 21st-century Yorkshire.
Read more: Britain’s Alabama? Not according to the ethnic minority locals in the heart of God’s Own Country: After a Labour council-funded (of course) report claimed York is riddled with ‘casual, systemic and structural’ racism, locals tell a very different story