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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:45 AM

14. 'Multi-culturalism' is a fact of life in the UK

but then it has been for centuries without any government or official policies to control or support it.

The truth is that identities are not fixed but mutate over time as history breaks down old groups and creates knew ones.

There was no such thing as Christian culture until the Ist century CE and no Muslim culture until the 6-7th century CE.

England and the English did not exist until the Anglo Saxon monarchs created it as part of their attempt to deal with Viking attacks in the 9th Century CE.

People also can have multiple shared identities at the same time (thus Oona King shares both an African American and a Jewish cultural background) a fact which some 'multiculturalist' thinking finds surprisingly hard to accept

The problem with apparently benign attempts by the authorities to promote cultural identity is that it soon winds up as a bureaucratic process that tries to shoe horn people into pre-determined categories that does not match the rather more fluid nature of identity. Worse if handled unsympathetically as appears to have happened in Rotherham it can easily degenerate into a kind of apartheid mentality where it is felt that 'separate development' for different groups is appropriate. It is no hard to see how this theory could be adapted by a truly racist political party for its own purposes if it got into power. There are too many parallels between this type of thinking with things which went on in South Africa in the 1950-60s and Germany in the 1930-40s for me to feel comfortable with it.

Ironically, true racism is most often seen when people actually try to shift the boundaries. Thus white America was quite happy for Nina Simone to sing blues and jazz but less happy to promote her love of Bach by allowing her to study classical music at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Can't keep a good girl down though. She remained 'independently blue' until the end God Bless Her.

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