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Reflections on Immigration - Part 8

A Conversation with the Ethnic Minorities

A diverse street in London
(24/10/20)
In the eighth of a series of short posts on immigration, our branch member Ian Cooper argues that immigrant, ethnic minorities need to understand the concerns and anxieties of the ethnic majority. The views of the author are his and not necessarily representative of the branch.


We have seen how Professor Kaufmann in his book, Whiteshift, has urged that there should be an open conversation on immigration in order to make a success of it. This must obviously involve the ethnic minorities. They need to understand the concerns and anxieties of the ethnic majority just as much as the ethnic majority needs to understand theirs. Perhaps the best way of doing this is in the form of a series of questions for the ethnic minorities to reflect on. These may be difficult to think about but it is a difficult issue for everyone.

Is it understood that any society finds immigration hard, especially when the immigrants are very different and they form whole ‘foreign’ communities? Would their own societies put up with the amount of immigration Britain has had? If London is now only half-white British, would New Delhi accept being just half-brown Indian, or Lagos half-black Nigerian? If it’s said that these countries are too poor for that, would they change when they become rich and lose their national identity? Is immigration somehow a universal right? Now some may mutter, "you colonised us and now it’s our turn". But what country in its right mind accepts a quid pro quo like that?

Isn’t it also strange that those who fought – physically, politically or both - for independence from colonial rule, and at last were free of the British, should then want to come to the country of the former colonial power, to be its citizens? How is that independence? Isn’t it a cop out? Wouldn’t it be great if Pakistanis, Nigerians and Jamaicans etc. came here as citizens of those countries having made a success of their independence first? After all don’t many former colonies constantly complain that their best people are sucked abroad, to the UK and USA?

Again, do the ethnic minorities really believe in a multi-ethnic society as a universal principle, or is it to merely justify their presence? Isn’t that bad faith? Do the ethnic minorities want any limit to immigration or are we all fated to the same treadmill of ever constant change? If it’s a country for everyone then perhaps it’s a country for no one. Kaufmann is interesting here as he points out that some ethnic minorities voted for Trump on immigration as they wanted to keep ‘white America,’ the country they originally came to. Might that apply here too?

Despite the undoubted contributions made by the ethnic minorities, isn’t it true that Britain is now more divided – ethnic divisions added to the acute social divisions - and more unequal – imported cheap labour – as a result of immigration? And if that is the case, then shouldn’t the ethnic minorities, as British citizens, support a halt to immigration for the common good? Moreover, if Britain improved its education for its workforce and increased its native birth rate by the family-friendly policies it used to have, then wouldn’t immigration be unnecessary anyway?

Lastly, do the ethnic minorities have any idea how many in this country mourn for the England they once knew, as it has changed beyond recognition?

Read Part 9 - Conclusion.
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