Racism shows up in different ways, HCJ has long experience of dealing with racial harassment and the racists
• Asians – confused terminology
• Casey review
• Casey review – more expectations
• Increased focus on equalities, justice
• Bexit politics hitting children & schools
• Do we really need grammar schools
• Post-Brexit racism crimes
• Selfish vision to leave EU
• No forced academies
• Love for India and steel crisis
• Rhetoric of accountability
• Muslim women in right-wing headlines
• Concerns about Harrow CCG
• Listen to all Londoners
• Scandalous plan to cut welfare benefits
• Schools could do without politics
• Using migrants as springboard
• ‘Do first, and say sorry later’
• Blair, the savvier!
• UKIP in race-headlines!
• Politics of inequality & injustice
• Love for India – really?
• Cameron targets minority voters
• Prison situation
• Reviving ‘snoopers' charter’
• Palestinian statehood
• Gaza & Warsi out of the news
• Wake-up call for Warsi
• Political immaturity in Harrow
• Harrow Council institutionally racist?
• Why Tower Hamlets and not Harrow?
• Who decides the political map!
• Scaremongering in Harrow!
• Harrow Council with no party in
• Shah is bitter as his dynasty collapses
• Political parties want 'foot soldiers’
• Ousted - Labour Group leader
• Conservatives poor under Cllr Hall
• Community grants in Harrow setting
• Sharp increase in homelessness
• Engagement with older citizens
• Met racism inquiry
• Fuel poverty - a national problem
• Code of conduct - public accountability
• Would standards committees be missed
• 'Don't play politics with the economy'
• Broken Society'
• HPCCG plight
• Community consultation
• Housing benefit changes hit the
• Community lettings
• Threat to social cohesion
• A school of national interest
• The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
• NHS - Dr Foster Hospital Guide
• Immigrants to create extra households?
• Student unrest over fee
• Progressive approach to town twinning
• Twinning - Harrow's situation
• Re-claiming the 'inner cities'
• Housing benefit cuts – onslaught on vulnerable
• 'Big Society'
Since the UK race relations legislation forty years ago, race terminology has been struggling to keep up and faces multiple challenges because language is power where words create structures.
The term Asian in the UK developed with the development of anti-discrimination framework to combat discrimination against groups of people but without appreciating that the term has severe limitations.
Asians include people of Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Cambodian and Thai ancestries. But in Britain, the word "Asian" usually refers specifically to people of South Asian ancestry (Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans).
Concentrating on discrimination – the ‘effect’ and not the ‘cause’- obscures the reality that Asians are not homogeneous groups. There are vast differences – cultural, social and religious – where language, culture and religion are inextricably connected, but every apparatus of the state has been used to ignore this.
Most of the widely used ethnic monitoring forms have main categories as Asian, Asian British or Asian as a country of birth.
Asia is the biggest continent and consists of many ethnicities and cultures but serious mistake is made when people associate ‘Asian’ with ethnicity and race where the use of this term in social, cultural, economic and political contexts open up the possibilities of rivalry for power, recognition, provisions and funding within the communities.
Moreover, the piecemeal term ‘Asian’ hinders addressing any imbalances in treating and providing for the groups of people contained under this subjective title.
It would not be realistic to think that the social, cultural and religious needs of Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans under the consolidated title ‘Asian’ are the same.
Even the Daily Mail warned about this: ‘Peterborough has a proud history of immigrants integrating seamlessly with the community. Past arrivals – mainly Indian, Pakistani and Ugandan – gratefully accepted the opportunity to start their lives afresh. But the new influx is vastly different they say’ (30 August 2004, p. 16).
How real it would be to spread the cultural norms like the caste/ tribe system or the system of 'colour-creed', specific to a certain community, across the ‘Asian’ community?
Or tinting the collective term ‘Asians’ with the findings of the Casey review that segregation is adversely affecting some members of a certain community, in particular women – who are not just being held back, but subjected to ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘other criminal practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and so-called “honour”-based crime’?
Or that Islamophobia, a particular form of racism, is widely faced by all ‘Asians’ where we must continue to fight its manifestation, whether abuse on streets and buses, racist comments in the media, or being a refused a job by an employer?
We need a perpetual and forceful reminder that Britain has a diversity of cultures and religions and that a practice of the principle of ‘different but equal’ eases the sort of integration that the government is asking for.
A message of tolerance and harmony is helpful but we need to move on and cultivate a spirit of understanding and acceptance.
There is a consensus of opinion that multiculturalism promotes a sense of separatism and needs to be abandoned. Britain has been a multicultural society and should have the capacity to include, rather than exclude groups of people.
The former Commission for Racial Equality chief Trevor Phillips was quite right to point out that ‘multiculturalism is a better doctrine in theory than in practice because it can, in some circumstances, allow public funds to be used to entrench the power of community leaders – always a potentially loaded word – by isolating them from mainstream society: thus “sleepwalking” into the segregation’.
Unfortunately, there are some opportunists, including Asians, whose interests are not well served by achieving integration or empowering people to use mainstream services and representatives for the resolution of the problems thay face like Islamophobia and hate crimes, since it damages their chances to acquire or retain marginal community leadership or funding.
Therefore, no surprise to find a number of self-appointed ‘Asians/ Asian groups’ using the weight of this collective term and racing to deal or giving impression to deal with deprivation, extremism, radicalism, Islamophobia and cultural issues but really within their respective communities through public funding. There is hardly any rigorous mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of these groups or the value for money they provide.
Depending on who is doing what and for which community, the term ‘Asian’ helps one group at the cost of other, reinforced by media, government funding and socio-political recognition. For example, 'Asians' really mean certain people in areas like Brent or Leicester and different people in Bradford or Birmingham.
The institutionally defined term ‘Asian’ as a social category promotes a sense of 'once an immigrant, always an immigrant' which is not helpful in creating a ‘shared society’.
Such a language and whatever flows from it obscures the fact that the so called ‘Asians’ are British where they may look different but their participation in socio-cultural, political and economic life and their needs, different they might be, are equally important. The power-loaded terminology and its implications also create resentment within the communities and seriously hinder the process of integration and social ‘sharing’. 17/1/2017