liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
A few people have been passing round links to Searchlight's survey about attitudes to race and immigration. I'm finding it somewhat depressing; only 8% of the UK population are classed as Confident Multiculturalists, people like me who are enthusiastically pro-immigration and embrace diversity. I mean, I suppose that's about the same proportion of the population as people from BME groups, and if half the country worry that huge swarms of immigrants are going to take over British culture, then perhaps the Confident Multiculturalists are actually an incipient swarm headed for world domination.

No, sorry, that's a bit cynical; to be fair, Searchlight stuff does tend to paint a gloomy picture, perhaps not surprisingly because orgs dedicated to anti-racism tend to observe a lot more horrible stuff than positives. But I am worried by the implication of the survey that the only thing keeping the UK from spiralling into massive xenophobia is the fact that currently all the right-wing groups are a bunch of obviously incompetent thugs. UKIP looked some years ago as if it might develop into a plausible right-wing political force (if only because they included and appealed to polite, articulate, middle-class racists), but they've got so distracted from their cause by infighting that they're no longer a serious threat. That's a very thin comfort, if huge numbers of people would be willing to support groups like the EDL or the BNP if only they would abstain from actually beating people up on camera.

The glib comment is that mainstream politics has "failed", that people are driven to the extremes because there's no sensible choice among the major parties. That doesn't really make it less scary for me, because I still find it horrifying that anyone but a fringe minority would consider racism a sensible alternative to corruption, nepotism and bad economic policy.

Anyway, the discussion that has arisen from the publication of this report reminded me that a few weeks ago I read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, which is in part a polemic against the kind of multicultural values I hold so dear. So that was a spur to getting round to writing and posting my review.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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