Last week, the APPG on Social Integration led by Chukka Umunna MP, released its interim report, centred on 6 principles. Some of the recommendations are welcome, but it left us with more questions than answers. More clarity is needed on what the recommendations would look like in practice.
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.
A quick Google search defines mental illness broadly as, ‘a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behaviour or thinking.’ When we live in a context where a “serious disorder” is often attached to acting and speaking out about racism rather than being racist, we must be critical about our own understandings of mental health and how they have been constructed by those with power.
“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” – Audre Lorde
In researching BAMER issues in the UK, it is important not to homogenise racial struggle and instead understand the diversity of identities that are present in different racial groups. For this, it is important that we view things from an intersectional perspective.
Pandora’s Box has been opened by the Brexit referendum and it is difficult to see how the evils that it has allowed to escape can be put back in the box. Already there are reports of increasing race hate crimes – many directed at Polish and other European migrants but also directed at Muslims and other migrant and minority groups.
Anyone reading the recent ‘Civitas’ publicationRace and Faith: The Deafening Silence byTrevor Phillips with commentaries from David Goodhart and Jon Gower Davies, who knew nothing about Phillips could be forgiven for assuming that he was a protégé of or speech writer for Donald Trump, or at least a spokesman for UKIP.
If citizenship is the fundamental status for EU citizens, what is its substance for child citizens who are too young to enjoy the rights set out in Articles 21-23 TEU to work, travel, vote or petition the EP? What does the principle in EU law of ‘genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship’ mean if you are a child? And what are the implications for your parent or parents? These are central questions for a specific group of children now growing up across the EU – those who themselves hold EU citizenship but their parents do not.
In my blog of 6th March 2014, I forecast that the Immigration Act would make private landlords into unpaid and untrained Immigration Officers. The Immigration Act would become “in effect, a charter for racial and other forms of harassment and abuse where people encounter rogue decision-makers (e.g. rogue landlords)”.
The Conservative plan to replace the European Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights could be disastrous for BME communities who enjoy the protection granted by European authorities against unjust deportation, discrimination and the inequalities of the British system.