Sunday, August 29, 2010

from two essays by Kenan Malik

making a difference: culture, race and social policy:
Multiculturalists, like racial theorists, fetishise difference. Both seek to ‘confine individuals to their group of origin’. Both undermine ‘any possibility of natural or cultural community among peoples’. We believe we have discredited the concept of race but, Finkielkraut asks, ‘have we really made any progress?’
born in bradford:
Multiculturalism transformed the character of antiracism. By the mid-1980s the focus of antiracist protest in Bradford had shifted from political issues, such as policing and immigration, to religious and cultural issues: a demand for Muslim schools and for separate education for girls, a campaign for halal meat to be served at school, and, most explosively, the confrontation over the publication of The Satanic Verses. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment. As different groups began asserting their particular identities ever more fiercely, so the shift from the political to the cultural arena helped to create a more tribal city. Secular Muslims were regarded as betraying their culture (they belonged to the 'white left') while radical Islam became not just more acceptable but, to many, more authentic.