Monday, June 29, 2009

Are minorities self-segregating?

For all of my adult life the goal of Governments of all political persuasions has been to encourage social cohesion by integrating all citizens into a single, classless, British Society of equal opportunity. In my book this means encouraging all British citizens to live alongside each other regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or colour; giving them an equal opportunity to make the best of it, and then celebrating success on merit.

Great efforts have been gone to over the decades to ensure that no minority suffers discrimination, or that no-one is disadvantaged or prejudiced against. By and large this is a job done, in law at least.

In our own English way this has led to many politically-correct rules and tortured language designed to avoid embarrassing anyone by highlighting a difference, but it has also led to an infinitely better quality of life for many minorities, whether you are a disabled person needing the loo or a black person needing a job.

In recent times we seem to have moved on to a new stage, though. The buzzword when talking about minorities has been a classic New Labour phrase: 'celebrating diversity' which by my reckoning seems to be a short step away from saying: 'staying different' .

An example of this is Gay Pride events. It seems to me that having told the world how proud you are to be gay you are inviting the population to treat you differently to someone who is straight. Having spent 100 years demanding the right to be treated the same as everyone else some gay people are creating a gay society that demands not just equal, but special treatment.

The National Black Police Officers Association was formed in 1998 with the express aim of promoting the interests of Black Police Officers. This is creating a distinction that up to that point didn't exist (there has never been a White Police Officers Association in this country thank God) and has subsequently led to a far greater resentment and tension amongst officers than ever existed before because some white officers now feel that Black officers have special advantages.

Make no mistake I don't think there is anything wrong with being different, nor about celebrating it. Where I have an issue is when people choose to celebrate being different and then complain whenever anyone notices. There are lots more examples, the BBC's Asian Network and 'Miss Black Britain' contest are two more that come to my mind of where 'celebrating diversity' comes dangerously close to segregation. The acid test is would it work the other way round? What would be the response to a 'Miss White Briton' contest for instance?

Some of the more belligerent pressure groups have been the tail wagging the dog for a long time - there is a very real danger that this Governments total inability to say 'no' to any minority campaign will end up creating the very state in society we have spent the last 40 years trying to get rid of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem is that pressure groups can't stop putting on pressure, it's what they do. They get what they want and then just move on to want more - so that they then end up going too far.

We do need a Government that will at least occasionally stand up and say enough is enough. I envy the French who havs stood up to the muslim pressure groups better than we have.