Have The Multiculturalists Won?

The usual old identity-group whinging post at CiF, by Bonnie Greer (playwright, author and critic, in case you were wondering), throws up this rather odd comment by goldenmeme:

I have been staying in a town where there are almost no black people. It is a weird kind of shock: You walk around for maybe an hour before you realise who is missing . It is one of a string of towns and villages that run to the north of Nottingham and up into SE Derbyshire

And it struck me that this, the idea that without a Balamoray-style mix of races and faiths this town was perceived as somehow ‘inauthentically British’, is now so pervasive that the reality is that the multiculturalists may have won.


23 comments for “Have The Multiculturalists Won?

  1. April 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I get the same feeling when I go to one of the many parts of GB which are almost exclusively white, it seems a bit unusual. But that’s only because I’m used to living in one of the parts which has a lot of different colour people.

    • April 20, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Conversely, there are parts of the UK that are no longer recognisable as the UK.

      I moved out some ten years ago and rarely return… But I was shocked to get off the train at Wembley recently – if it wasn’t for the red buses you could easily think you were in another country altogether… 😡

      • April 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

        Wembley’s been that way for at least the past ten years.

  2. April 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Don’t lose hope yet, Julia: a friend in a town of similar ethnic make-up was teaching a PHSE lesson on multiculturalism from a textbook clearly intended for use in more diverse areas.

    The class were somewhat baffled by the whole business. Asked for examples of groups who might experience discrimination in their community, the pupils immediately named natives of a nearby and equally ‘white’ town – the two have been at daggers drawn since about 1642.

    (Prompted by the textbook to consider the question of ethnicity, someone eventually raised the example of the Pakistani family who have run a local shop for some years; the response was unanimous – ‘they aren’t multicultural; they’re from our town’ – providing an interesting counterpoint to goldenmeme noting the skin-colour of passers-by.)

    • Watchman
      April 20, 2012 at 10:12 am

      It does work like this – I grew up in an almost entirely slightly pinkish-brown skinned area (now with many interesting shades of orange – fortunatly my youth was before the days of fake tan…), and the couple of kids with different skin coulour in the area were not treated as any different, despite the wonderful levels of background racism (yes, this is a Labour-voting area…). But people from the neighbouring town – they were the scum of the earth (and amazingly, you can still tell the difference in accents…).

      Slightly more ‘ethnic’ mix nowadays (but as most of the young ones have grown up there, there ethnicity will still be local) but apparently still the same.

    • April 21, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Heh! Our neighbours a few doors down are Asian. From Glasgow.

      Face: ‘Goodness Gracious Me’
      Voice: ‘Taggart’


  3. April 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    The difference between townies and us real people. The only ethnics I see regularly are foreign students.

    Otherwise I have to pop into Milton Keynes or, for a real cultural shock, Aylesbury.

  4. Watchman
    April 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

    To be honest, not sure this says anything about society other than that one comment.

    If you are conditioned to look for skin colour, then you look for it. If you are normal, you don’t. Someone at work recently pointed out the number of Asians in my team, which surprised me (especially because the two actual Asians – one from India, one from Hong Kong, are both ‘British’ who happen to be born abroad), because I just see my colleagues as individual people (as they all appear to be distinct individuals to me). Others apparently see them as labels, presumably because they think that way – but I suspect the majority of us see someone behind a counter and still think ‘shopkeeper/assistant’ rather than ‘white’ or ‘asian’ etc.

    • Tattyfalarr
      April 20, 2012 at 11:41 am

      “If you are conditioned to look for skin colour, then you look for it. If you are normal, you don’t.”

      I disagree. It’s perfectly normal to take mental note of a person’s skin colour. There’s no denying that identifying a different race…most quickly and easily achieved by skin colour… is a natural primitive instinct. There was a time…for a long time…that this instinct was necessary for survival.

      The world is overpopulated now and we’re much more civilised these days of course but for those that react negatively to any skin colour you will find in the majority of cases that this is due to a number of factors they will attribute to that particular colour and not solely based on the colour itself. There are very few “True” Racists.

      Although, to be fair, I think perhaps you meant “actively look for” which is another discussion entirely. 🙂

      • Watchman
        April 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        Not sure on that as there has been no proven case of war by one race on another before the modern period (with its definition of race by skin colour).

        Remember Romans could have black, brown, pink or white skin – they were Romans because of their behaviour and language, much older ways of determining race.

        I probably meant ‘conditioned to note skin colour, other than as a physical thing’ though – the same way as I note hair colour, eye colour, size of nose etc, and physical attractiveness.

        • Tattyfalarr
          April 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm

          “Not sure on that as there has been no proven case of war by one race on another”

          Focus on war distorts the point. The battle for domination/survival between races and cultures is as old history itself right back to neanderthal and homosapien “humans”. It’s not just war that causes injury or death.

          The Slave Trade…note The and not just “slave trades in general” is probably the most prime example of two races immediately identifiable by the colour of their skin asserting domination over another…albeit with more than a little help and treachery fellow countrymen/women that we’re not supposed to mention.

          I did think you meant something a little more than simply “seeing” another person’s skin colour though to be honest I don’t take much notice of anything beyond personality and attitude these days.

          Must be getting old 😉

  5. Tattyfalarr
    April 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

    But but but…we aren’t supposed to notice what colour people are ?!?! 😐

    In which case, to answer the question…the multiculturalists can’t help but lose when they constantly keep “noticing” and ..in doing so…aiming their own guns at themselves.

    • April 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Some are allowed to notice, others are not. Or so it seems.

      • Tattyfalarr
        April 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

        Yet they just don’t get how offensive it is to say we haven’t got enough of any colour as it is to say we have too much.

        Positive Discrimination/Racism…two sides of the same Prejudice coin.

        • April 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

          Yes. There are even annual government awards for councils whose towns’ populations become more diverse.

    • Watchman
      April 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      It’s the fact that to be ‘multicultural’ you have to be able to demonstrate this – and we could not do that by any means other than ascribing people to ‘cultures’ (anyway a concept which archaeology, which invented in, now regards as dangerous and outdated) on the basis of their skin colour and maybe a few other physical markers.

      But you are correct – we aren’t allowed to do this otherwise. It’s only permissible in a ‘good cause’ – although racism seems impermissible to me in any cause, but I am neither statist nor multiculturist, so clearly I know nothing…

      • Tattyfalarr
        April 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        “It’s the fact that to be ‘multicultural’ you have to be able to demonstrate this ”

        Yet all it demonstrates is that they subscribe to the “right kind” of Racism.

  6. Edward.
    April 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Skin colour is no problem to me, we all bleed and you’ll find that, blood – it is the same colour.


    What is a far more ‘fundamental’ problem and a threat to all our lives in Britain today, backward political creeds posing as religion and a radicalised youth who though born here feel no loyalty or civil coherence but who want and crave something that never existed. A ‘something’, that our State in all it’s wisdom encourages them to believe in but which at the same time, is antithetical to all that most of us [and the State] hold dear.

    God spare us from politicians.

  7. nemesis
    April 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    To respect their differences but be blind to their differences – has always struck me as a mixed message.

    • April 21, 2012 at 6:45 am


  8. April 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    sometimes I do wonder how these places cope without all the vibrancy that muliculturalism has brought us in London 😉

    • April 21, 2012 at 6:46 am

      We could ask Billy Bragg..? :mrgreen:

  9. john malpas
    April 23, 2012 at 2:12 am

    But do you feel an urge to add to the diversity of such places as Sudan or China. By actually moving there.If not why not.

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