A briefing paper explaining and defending multiculturalism has been published today by the Institute of Race Relations.
As the government’s commission on integration and cohesion questions the basis of multiculturalism, the independent charity, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), publishes a short, practical guide to the concept, drawing on discussions at its ‘Racism, Liberty and the War on Terror’ conference in 2006.
In defence of multiculturalism by Jenny Bourne, which can be downloaded here (pdf file, 65kb), explains what multiculturalism really means and how it was created out of the positive struggles against racism that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities have waged over three generations. The public debate about multiculturalism having ‘gone too far’ really shrouds, she argues, a desire to return Britain to retrogressive, assimilationist policies.
It was the 2001 ‘riots’ in the northern towns and September 11 and the War on Terror that provided the excuse – in anti-Muslim racism and the Clash of Civilisations thesis – for blaming Minority Ethnic communities for refusing to integrate, preferring to lead ‘parallel lives’. In reality, it was successive discriminatory policies, particularly in housing and educational allocation, that led to segregated communities. Such separation, this briefing paper argues, will not be obviated by top-down, cosmetic cohesion policies but through joint struggles against poverty and deprivation which engage and unite all affected communities.
Download a copy of IRR Briefing Paper No.2, In defence of multiculturalism (pdf file, 65kb)