'dumping multiculturalism' or turning a blind eye to racism?

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epk
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Jun 8 2007 12:39
'dumping multiculturalism' or turning a blind eye to racism?

Time 'to dump' multiculturalism?

I saw the title on the side panel and having clicked and read it, became rather annoyed. Not a word about the circumstances of Capitalism and Imperialism which have resulted in mass immigration from former colonies into Britain... just setting up 'straw men' like decisions to hand out propaganda only to non-whites. I don't know what Brittish society is like, but the demand of immigrants to 'integrate' into Israeli society meant acquiescing to fundamental, institutional discrimination, a push-down into the poorest strata of the working class, dissolution of any collective consciousness and action, and in many senses even a self-renouncement through the adoption of anti-Arab jingoist hatred (probably different in Britain, but after all, this state is the empire which oppressed and exploited hundreds of millions of people and lives in infamy in world history).

This should be pretty self-evident... and it seems it is, to the journalist the author quotes, as she labels her call to stop the struggle against this sort of integration 'a view from the right'.

Then comes straw men no. 2 and 3 - the non-white-only leafletting and the "Only with education can there be enlightenment" quote. The first one does look like an example of foregoing any class analysis in an effort to sooth one's conscience by 'making amends', and the second part is, well, just dumb. This sort of enlightenment will come through collective struggle - both joint white-non-white and autonomous non-white - not education. But the author seems to conclude from these examples that an anti-racist (and multicultural, although I don't like that word, it's used to justify the present state of affairs too much) perspective means lack of a class pespective.

Also, the author focuses on the thriving of inter-racial relations within the working class. I believe that's only a part of the picture, and not the most important one. The most important part is what jobs do non-whites work, for what pay and in what conditions, and what jobs whites work. I would guess you'll find a significant gap there, judging from my experience in Israel. Here it's very clear that when I enter the Comp Sci department building in the morning the guard will be a Slav, the cleaning crew Slavs or old Mizrachi women, the kitchen staff Arabs or Slavs, with the cooks male and the counter staff female, and the faculty Ashkenazi (here, effectively white) men. So where I'm standing I see very strong links between race and class (and gender and class). Another point is that here almost all of the inter-ethnic relationships are between members of the more privileged ethnic group who are down on their luck, impoverished, have personal problems etc. with members of an unprivileged group who are relatively better off economically, or have managed to find their way into surroundings in which there are few or no members of their ethnic group and they don't play one of the prevalent roles of their group members. I wonder if this isn't also the case in Britain?

The author posits: "being pro-Muslim is not always entirely divorced from being anti-white" - and that's weird-sounding to me, since he's implying that "pro-Muslim"ness is the acceptable label, and "anti-white" the unacceptable, while I would think that being supportive of people on basis of their religion is at best misguided and at worst, well, let's not go there (think Lebanon), while anti-whiteness is something I would characterize myself; anti the social institution that is whiteness, not anti people with light complexion. I can't say how significant 'whiteness' is in Britain (and whether, say, the Irish are considered to be 'white'), but it's certainly significant here and in the US (and as most Israelis seem to believe, there are only 3 countries in the world, which are Israel, the US, and all-the-rest).

Finally, while it might be the case that the 'racialization' the author speaks of is indeed descriptive of today's Britain, his suggestion seems to be to effectively to "free your mind and the rest will follow / be color-blind don't be so shallow". But really, that doesn't sound right except in the En Vogue song.

PS - Disclaimer - I have no idea what 'euro-nationalism' is or what the author means by 'social groups A and B', couldn't figure out those parts.

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Steven.
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Jun 8 2007 12:53
Eyal Rozenberg wrote:
PS - Disclaimer - I have no idea what 'euro-nationalism' is or what the author means by 'social groups A and B', couldn't figure out those parts.

Social groups A and B I think are basically wealthy and upper middle class people.

Euronationalism is the nationalism of the big far right parties across Europe now. They are largely opposed to immigration and support separation of cultures, with culture inherently linked to race and ethnicity.

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I can't say how significant 'whiteness' is in Britain (and whether, say, the Irish are considered to be 'white'),

It's not something that gets spoken about here, "whiteness." Irish people are considered white, but they are listed as an ethnic minority by big employers. My gf who was born in England has gone on free courses because she's "Irish" and so an ethnic minority.

Terry
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Jun 8 2007 13:23

My impression of Britain on this issue is that the older "immigrant" populations - Irish, West Indian, Asian*, are at the bottom of the pile, right next to a lot of "indigenous" Britons. So there is not the same type of ethnic stratification. There is in the sense that most all "immigrants" are likely to found at the bottom, but isn't in the sense you have all "immigrants" below all "indigenous". It is a case of not being able to generalise from a specific instance. I think Britain is a less racist society than most European ones. For instance when there were "race riots" in Britain in the 80s, they were generally kicked off by black youth, who had a strong experience of racist policing, but white youth generally joined in on the blacks side.

Red Action, the group that produced that article, basically revolved around two things, support for Irish republicanism and anti-fascism, so I think a lot of what you say they are not saying would be taken as a given in the context in which it was produced. Think they were mostly formed by second and third generation Irish as well. Though outside the C19th and maybe Scotland I'm not sure if the Irish experience can be exactly compared to that of other "immigrant" populations.

* maybe not all Asians I'm not sure.

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Jun 8 2007 14:42
John. wrote:
It's not something that gets spoken about here, "whiteness." Irish people are considered white, but they are listed as an ethnic minority by big employers. My gf who was born in England has gone on free courses because she's "Irish" and so an ethnic minority.

jesus fuck angry