And so, as Kenan Malik recalls in From Fatwa to Jihad, in order to prevent large-scale uprisings in the inner cities, the government introduced state multiculturalism, with Sir George Young made Britain’s first “minister for race relations”, the aim being to encourage moderate minority leaders at the expense of the militants. Between 1981 and 1986 the Greater London Council under Ken Livingstone pioneered “a new strategy of making minority communities feel part of British society,” in Malik’s words. “It consulted with them, drew up equal opportunities policies, established race relations units, and dispensed millions of pounds in grants to minority groups. “At the heart of the GLC’s anti-racist strategy was not simply the reallocation of resources but also a redefinition of racism. Racism now meant not the denial of equal rights but the denial of the right to be different.” Minorities should no longer be forced to adopt a British identity: they should express their own, live by their own values, pursue their own lifestyles.
The demon being invoked here is terror at its most viscerally parochial: terror of the other, of foreigners and foreign ideas, of anyone who looks or speaks or prays differently. At root, this banal breed of suspicion taps into the more instinctive insecurities that beset all working people: our worries about loss of status and secure work, our fears that the communities upon which we rely might no longer be safe, supportive places to live and work. These fears are reasonable, but they have nothing to do with multiculturalism. They have everything to do with an economic programme that threatens to put millions out of work and destroy social housing. David Cameron's government is doing less than nothing to allay these root-level fears. The Conservative-led administration, with its merciless programme of cuts to public spending and welfare and its plan to sell off the libraries, the schools and the forests, has given ordinary families far more to fear than the occasional misguided teenager with homemade explosives strapped to his nether regions. The real ideological war going on in this country right now is not between terror and its antithesis, but between action and apathy. The notion of community solidarity, of local people standing together against the government's austerity programme, as they are this week with library and council sit-ins, is profoundly threatening to the political elite. Buried in the hawkish rhetoric of Cameron's attack on multiculturalism is an implicit imprecation to his grass-roots constituencies, one that serves the interests of a government trembling at the thought of popular uprising: fear thy neighbour.
The night featured 10 speakers, each highlighting rich stories from their culture. One story highlighted the ways that social media can help in confronting some of the misleading stereotypes perpetuated by mainstream media.Many of the night’s speakers spoke about the use of social media in building and maintaining multicultural communities.
UN anti-racism panel finds Iran discriminating against Kurds, Arabs, other ethnic minorities.“The Committee expresses concern at the limited enjoyment of political, economic, social and cultural rights by Arab, Azeri, Balochi, Kurdish communities and some communities of non-citizens,” it said in a report on a regular review of Iran’s compliance with a 1969 international treaty banning racism.It also urged Iran to continue its efforts to empower women and promote their rights, paying particular attention to women belonging to ethnic minorities.Some tenets of Islamic sharia law disadvantage Iranian women, Indian committee member Dilip Lahiri said. “On the other hand, in terms of their education and access to jobs, very remarkable progress has been made in Iran,” he told a briefing. The committee voiced concern at reports of a selection procedure for state officials and employees, known as gozinesh, requiring them to demonstrate allegiance to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the state religion, which could limit opportunities for ethnic and religious minorities. It said that lack of complaints was not proof of the absence of racial discrimination, as victims may not have confidence in the police or judicial authorities to handle them. It called on Iran to set up an independent national human rights institution and report back to it at the start of 2013 on how it was dealing with the concerns and recommendations.
Paris police have detained two women wearing Islamic veils at a protest on the first day of France's ban on the burqa and niqab.The ban makes France the first country in the world to forbid the veils anywhere in public.About a dozen people, including three women wearing veils, staged a protest in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday and two women were taken away in a van. Watch a video of French citizen Kena Drider as she boards a train wearing a veil on the day a controversial law banning people from masking their faces in public comes into effect.
Clever title too for this review of Raymond Gaita’s new compilation: “Islam, immigration and the great dividing rage.” I am so glad this has been published as it appears its various contributions support much that I have been thinking myself about the current discussion of Australian multiculturalism: that it has been polluted by alien experiences from other countries; that it is code for fear of Islam; that we are seriously under-rating what we have achieved here.
Early in 2010, Tim Wise wrote a widely circulated article called, "Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" which challenged America to take a close look at the hypocrisy of the Right Wing. A few months later in July, a Pittsburgh rapper is accepting his challenge in true Hip Hop form. Jasiri X has released a video called "What if the Tea Party was Black." The clip has had almost 300,000 hits on You Tube.
The privileges of whiteness include concrete material advantages such as access to “safe” neighborhoods, well-resourced schools, and favorable or fair treatment by most private and public institutions. They also include less tangible advantages such as a confidence (not always warranted) that the system will be forgiving of your and your children’s “mistakes,” that your bad habits won’t be seen as racial flaws, that portrayals of your race in the media and in history books will be mostly positive, and that your race will remain a norm against which racial and cultural difference is measured and judged. It should come as no surprise that white people act collectively, if not always consciously, to preserve these benefits. By Gregory Mengel Ph.D
Just as a composite material is often stronger than the individual components, the various threads of different cultures, if blended well, can serve to strengthen Australia. Each migrant culture should self-engage in current affairs so that Australia can benefit from the wisdom of others. Everyone has something positive they can contribute. Multiculturalism should be accepted in so far as it does not go against human rights or public security. Excerpt from the submission by the Buddhist Council of Western Australia.
In the last State election, Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party ran a record number of candidates. One of their policy platforms was "No Islamisation of Australia".While those views might be on the extreme end of political thinking but there are an increasing number of Australians worried about the rise of Islam in this country and the changing nature of our cultural core. This week a Parliamentary Inquiry into multiculturalism will conclude, having received numerous submissions. One of those submissions was made by the former NSW Attorney General, who told the inquiry that NSW is a world model for multiculturalism. He also suggested the Federal Government enshrine the concept in law. Not everyone shares this enthusiasm for the big M, for some, the sheen is wearing rather thin. ABC Radio Broadcast interviewing Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor at The Australian.
What may have been a regular school board meeting weeks ago became a platform for discussing racism and discrimination in the Canyons School District Tuesday night. Watch a video that provides a timeline of events leading up to this meeting.
The concept of race has received unusual public attention recently, as Andrew Bolt defended himself against charges of racial vilification.Ron Merkel, for the prosecution, accused Bolt of harking back to the racial attitudes of the 1930s, which fuelled the eugenics movement and ultimately the Holocaust. What was learned from those horrors, Merkel argued, was that "race is a loose concept and it overlaps with nationality and ethnic identity." Merkel is right that the early twentieth-century saw an evil flowering of "scientific" racism in the form of eugenics movements. But this form of racism has a much longer history. In Australia, as elsewhere, the story of race has much to do with both religion and the theory of evolution.
Countries across Europe have wrestled with the issue of the Muslim veil - in various forms such as the body-covering burka and the niqab, which covers the face apart from the eyes. The debate takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and even fears of terrorism. The veil issue is part of a wider debate about multiculturalism in Europe, as many politicians argue that integration of minorities was neglected in the past. This article outlines laws regarding the Islamic veil in 11 European countries.
We can have a debate on another day about whether a "doctrine of state multiculturalism" even exists, let alone whether or not it has "failed", but the key point here is to stress that the debate over multiculturalism has little to do with the debate over extremism and radicalisation. The two should be kept separate. Terrorism is a political problem; not a cultural problem. Extremists, violent or otherwise, come in all shapes and sizes, all colours and creeds.Muslims and Muslim organisations have a crucial role to play in the struggle against home-grown extremism and in the battle for the hearts and minds of young, angry, alienated Muslims. Cameron's simplistic speech has done more harm than good, and so have the predictable and depressing newspaper headlines that it provoked. It is a step backward rather than forward.
WA Minister for Women's Interests Robyn McSweeney sparked heated debate when she spoke out against the burka at the weekend, labelling it "alien" to Australia's way of life. "I'm saying that it's confronting when somebody's face is not showing and I personally think that they're being oppressed," Ms McSweeney told The Australian yesterday. "I would just love for them to have the freedom to show their faces." Opposition parliamentary secretary for the status of women Michaelia Cash said the burka had nothing to do with religion because Islam stipulated modesty only, not the wearing of a face covering. She said the dress deprived women of their identity and isolated them from society. "It is inconsistent with our culture and values and I truly believe that women should not do it," she said.WA opposition women's interests spokeswoman Sue Ellery claimed Ms McSweeney was playing the race card. Victorian opposition women's affairs spokeswoman Jill Hennessy accused Ms McSweeney of engaging in "dog whistle politics".
Radio talk-back host David Oldfield is accused of provoking Australians to feel fear and anger towards immigration. Listen to this interview, where he claims that multiculturalism was "forced on Australians". Oldfield was a co-founder of the far-right 'One Nation' party, which was campaigning for assimilation and a return to racist policies and practices. The party peaked at the 1998 election but lost ground in subsequent elections.
I try not to promote these kinds of sensationalistic, divisive articles, but in this instance, I have done so for a reason. This blog post contains the kind of negative, biased and ignorant anti-liberal propaganda that circulates widely, denigrating intelligent professionals who are striving to challenge a system that perpetuates inequality and discrimination. What the author 'Todd' clearly doesn't realise is that he is the embodiment of 'white privilege and guilt', he is the reason for the existence of the very same conferences that he condemns. Perhaps his bitter resentment stems from the fact that he lives in Boston, one of the more progressive of the US states. Watch the two videos, get informed about why inequalities exist and then read the ridiculous comments in this blog. I wish there were more educators like Paul Kivel, who teach for social justice and 'disrupt' the system that produces narrow-minded right-wing commentators like 'Todd'. (Comment by CSullivan)
Bolt described Heiss as an ''Austrian Aborigine'', implying she'd used the term. She didn't. I did. He trashed her professional reputation by implying a string of jobs she'd held, including an associate professorship at Macquarie University, were jobs exclusively for Aborigines. They weren't. Bolt is from the state that gave us Hans Heysen, Malcolm Blight, Paul Kelly and Cooper's beer, but he never sings the place up. Instead, he inhabits that shadowland where fear and resentment meet public policy. For me, a big difference between Andrew Bolt and Anita Heiss as social commentators is that Anita Heiss tells you exactly who she is. By Martin Flanagan
Here is an excerpt from the statement: "The District has concluded its initial investigation into these allegations and taken swift and appropriate administrative action to address them.It is the highest priority of the Canyons School District to foster an educational environment wherein every student feels welcome and safe. Beginning March 29, the Superintendent and his senior staff spent over a week at Alta High School visiting more than 80 English classes to tell students about the District's nondiscrimination and bullying policies and how to report incidents of harassment, discrimination, or bullying. Additionally, the District has taken, and will be taking, the following measures to foster a safe and nondiscriminatory learning environment at Alta High School and all other District schools in the future." The attached image was sent as a text message by two students currently under investigation. It is interesting to read the six measures listed in this official statement. In my opinion, these are fundamental to anti-discrimination and inclusive practice and should have existed in the first place. This case should serve as a lesson for educational organisations and communities to ensure that appropriate policies, processes and programs are in place. (Comment by CSullivan)
Don’t go to Arizona looking for beat-down brown people. Young people are full of creative opposition and practical solutions.At the University of Arizona, where I spoke as part of their “Who Draws the Line” series, students have put up a border fence designed to provide daily teaching opportunities about what is so wrong with our narrow and race-baiting immigration debate. The project is a collaboration between No Mas Muertes/No More Deaths, which works to prevent people dying as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Jewish Voice for Peace, which works to end Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The fence spans the length of four football fields and runs along one side of the campus quad, forcing students to walk all the way around it. While a few people have complained about the inconvenience, student leaders told me that many people said thanks for providing a focal point that got people to rethink borders.
A large crowd packed into the Alice McKay Room at the downtown Vancouver Public Library last night for #NETCulture: Stories of Culture and Diversity in Social Media. The forum addressed two Canadian obsessions: multiculturalism and social media. How do social media like twitter, Facebook and Skype help diverse cultural groups get stronger? Can the power of social media be harnessed by people for whom English is a second language, or by older immigrants?
Across Europe, the politics of the far right is infecting us all with the need for a 'reasonable' anti-immigration policy. On today's market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. And the list goes on: what about virtual sex as sex without sex? The Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties (on our side, of course) as warfare without warfare? The contemporary redefinition of politics as the art of expert administration as politics without politics? This leads us to today's tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of the Other deprived of its Otherness – the decaffeinated Other.
An interesting report examining the impact of extremist views, religious vilification and the provision of a platform to people who preach hatred. "It deepens the divide and the crazies on both sides win, in the sense that they are able to portray this and deepen the clash of civilizations mindset." NBC News: 'Burning the Koran Is Worse Than Burning the Bible'
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