Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A disuniting approach to multiculturalism threatens to destroy England

Those who know my writing know that multiculturalism is a big bee in my bonnet. I favor the treacley multiculturalism of the 1940s through early 1960s, which saw a huge emphasis on a united American culture, with a graceful nod to the various traditions immigrants brought to the country ("everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's day," "Merry Christmas, Mr. Goldberg," "Happy Cinco de Mayo, Sean" etc.) Private cultural and religious practices were never insulted or discouraged, but they were not elevated to a position greater than the dominant American culture. What I loathe is the kind of multiculturalism that contends that the dominant culture is an evil amalgam of "ist" and "phobic" ideologies (racist, sexist, and homophobic), built on an equally evil imperialist political structure that allows white males to embark on a worldwide project of implementing their "ist" and "phobic" ideologies. The flip side of this view, of course, is that everyone who isn't a Western white male occupies a practically sanctified position that cannot be criticized or ignored. And it's this kind of multiculturalism that is bringing England to its knees:

Britain is now a deeply divided land, where suspicion, intolerance, and aggression cast their shadow over urban areas. Only the other day, the government revealed that, in the last twelve months, the number of prosecutions for racial hate crimes had risen by 30 percent. In a courageous recent speech, Trevor Phillips, a black broadcaster who now serves as the chairman of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality, warned that the country is 'sleepwalking towards segregation,' with society ever more fragmented by ethnicity and religion. Using remarkably frank language, Phillips added that parts of some cities will soon be 'black holes into which no one goes without fear.' This sorry situation has been created by a deliberate act of public policy. For the last three decades, in response to waves of mass immigration, the civic institutions of Britain have eagerly implemented the ideology of multiculturalism. Instead of promoting a cohesive British identity, they have encouraged immigrant communities to cling to the customs, traditions, and language of their countries of origin. The emphasis is on upholding ethnic and cultural differences rather than achieving assimilation. This is in stark contrast to France, which has taken a color-blind approach to immigration, with newcomers expected to adapt to the culture of the host nation. The recently imposed ban on Muslim girls' wearing the hijab or headscarf in schools is a classic example of the French model. Britain has moved in exactly the opposite direction. Soon after the French hijab ban was implemented, a British Muslim teenager brought a successful legal action to win the right to wear in school full Islamic dress from head to toe. She was represented in her court case by Cherie Blair, the barrister wife of the prime minister. And Mrs. Blair's action was typical of the spirit of the Labour-led British ruling class, which has elevated dogmatic multiculturalism into a principle of governance."
As inevitably happens with this type of rabid multicuturalism, the dominant British culture, which bound all the disparate groups together, is being denigrated and abandoned:
Yet the diversity enthusiasts want to celebrate every culture but their own. In the self-flagellating climate of modern Britain, the nation's traditions are increasingly regarded as reactionary and prejudiced. Britishness has "systematic, largely unspoken racial connotations," declared the government's Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. The commission's report, published in 2000, described the United Kingdom as "a community of communities" and called for British history to be "revised, rethought or jettisoned." The official mood of self-loathing, epitomized by the terror of giving offense to any ethnic group, has become even more pervasive in the last five years. In one typical instance, the English inspector of prisons stated that wardens should not wear badges or tie pins with the red cross of St. George, England's national flag, because this could be "misinterpreted as a racist symbol." Another extreme episode that was much discussed in the media five years ago illustrates how multiculturalism can undermine the management of social services. At Haringey Council in north London in February 2000, an 8-year-old child from Ivory Coast, Victoria Climbie, died after suffering a catalogue of cruelty, beatings, and neglect by her great-aunt, Marie-Thérèse Kouao, who claimed that Victoria was possessed by the devil. Social workers and the police, alerted repeatedly to Victoria's plight, were reluctant to intervene because they did not want to appear culturally insensitive to Kouao's beliefs or methods of discipline. Indeed, the prevailing mood in the Haringey social work office was one of perverted antiracism, where the woefully incompetent casework manager, Carole Baptiste, held meetings in the dark to discuss African witchcraft and spent much of her time talking about oppression of black women. "It is hard to say how mad it was," recalled one black social worker. "There were some black staff members who would not speak to white people. Aggressive racial politics permeated the office."
The dream of the multiculturalists was to see a harmonious patchwork quilt, with the various little squares hanging onto their own identity while joining together to make a useful object, pleasing to the eye. It's a nice idea, but like so many of the dreams from the Left, it's totally inconsistent with human nature. Humans are tribal creatures. If we encourage a big tribe (the United States, Britain), humans will respond with positive emotions to that big tribe. If we encourage Balkanization within the big tribe, we'll end up precisely as peaceful as, well, the long-suffering Balkans.