Andy Gregg Blog

Researchers reveal that diversity is good for your health

Diverse hands holding wrists forming circle

It has become a commonplace idea that the more ethnic diversity there is in a society the more conflict and ill-feeling there is. Difference and diversity are seen as negative and dangerous rather than as positive and engaging. Actually this assumption is highly questionable, but of course the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express expend thousands of column inches a day to try to reinforce this assumption. Along with politicians they have ensured that the dominant prejudice of the age is the fear of the “Other”. This prejudice can then be used to swing votes and win referendums.

“Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True“ Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips

In his controversial and misguided programme “Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True“ Trevor Phillips argues that white people are so afraid of being called out as racists if they criticise black people or minority ethnic communities that they would prefer to stay silent even when serious abuses are taking place. He argues that this "political correctness" stops us telling a number of truths about race and racism and goes on to suggest that this is why there has been a growing UKIP style backlash.

White people must start talking about race and racism

Protesters holding White silence is violence sign

Many white people feel intensely uncomfortable talking about race. They say that they are constantly in fear of saying the wrong thing, of “putting their foot in it” or “treading on eggshells”.  Recently a white US rap musician Macklemore put it like this: "White, liberal people want to be nice. We don’t want to be racist. We don’t wanna mess up. We want to be ˜Oh we’re post-racial. We have a black president. We don’t want to talk about white privilege and it’s all good, right?” It’s not the case.

Is “White Privilege” a useful concept in the current UK context?

Unpacking the invisible knapsack of white privilege message

In the United States over the last 30years a useful concept has been developed which we could do with discussing much more on this side of the Atlantic.  This is the concept of ”white privilege”. As a white person I can take a whole range of advantages and privileges for granted as I go about my everyday life in the UK. So much so that I can even fail to notice that I actually have those advantages merely by virtue of being from the white majority. For example I don’t expect to be followed around by security guards whenever I visit expensive shops.

Researchers reveal that ethnic diversity is good for your health

Diverse hands holding wrists forming circle

It has become a commonplace idea that the more ethnic diversity there is in a society the more conflict there is. Difference and diversity are seen as negative and dangerous rather than as positive and engaging. Actually this assumption is highly questionable, but of course the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express do so much to try to ensure that this has become the dominant prejudice of the age – the fear of the “Other”. Sadly most politicians are prepared to swallow this line of argument whole as well.

Growing inequality is no accident

V4CE logo

Voice4Change England (V4CE)  have recently demanded  that Chancellor George Osborne should set up an inquiry into alarming new Labour Force Survey figures showing that Black British citizens are losing out in the economic “recovery”.  Rates for White people in  employment rose by over 360,000 (a 1.9 per cent increase) but the numbers of Black African and Caribbean people in work fell by 22,000 in the same period (a 3 per cent drop).

Peers are left to head off racist Bill

People queuing at UK Border

Yet again we are at the mercy of the House of Lords.  After the Immigration Bill passed the House of Commons with only 16 MPs voting against it, we are again in the situation where we are reliant on the House of Lords to head off damaging, dangerous and badly thought-through legislation. One of the MPs who did have the guts to vote against the Bill , John McDonnell, has correctly described the Immigration Bill as the most racist legislation he has seen in his twenty years in Parliament.

The Council of Somali Organisations shows the way

Young Somali people

I recently attended an inspiring conference that brought together Somali community organisations with a variety of service providers organised by the Council for Somali Organisations. Many community organisations are unable to overcome the influence of “community leaders” who insist on talking for their “communities”, sometimes in ways that do not reflect the real views, aspirations and feelings of people who they claim to “represent”.

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