The Toxic Politics of Diversity

In recent times, we have been treated to a flurry of books which amount to the vilification of Britain and more generally white people. This includes the toxic identitarian-in-chief Kehinde Andrews’ latest book The Psychosis of Whiteness.

The reality is that the white-British mainstream has been incredibly accommodating of the significant demographic and cultural diversification of post-WWII Britain – to the point that the vast majority now reject racial and ancestral framings of ‘Englishness’ in favour of civic values based on contribution. Britain has established what I call a ‘multicultural-integrationist’ model for the socio-political and socio-economic incorporation of its minorities – providing relatively robust anti-discrimination protections on the grounds of race, ethnicity, and religion, along with reasonably dynamic and flexible labour markets. As well as having a liberal democracy where members of ethno-religious minorities routinely hold the great offices of state, the UK also has a market economy where two of the higher-earning ethnic groups are workers of Chinese heritage and Indian origin.

Across the Channel, the French Fifth Republic established in 1958 has remained dogmatically loyal to its rigid model of secular ‘colour-blind’ universalism – to the point that it has a mainstream political culture that largely overlooks very real forms of discrimination towards its racial and religious minorities (especially Muslims of North African and West African origin living in the banlieues of Paris, Marseille, and Lyon). Meanwhile in Germany, the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) remain divided over the possibility of having a non-Christian leader in the future. In stark contrast, their British counterparts – the Tories – have produced a Punjabi-heritage prime minister who is unapologetically proud of his Hindu faith. Post-Brexit Britain leads the EU’s western European member-states when it comes to the integration of its ethnic and religious minorities.

One should never trivialise the role of non-white, racial-equality stalwarts such as the magnificent Trinidadian-born Baron (Learie) Constantine. But neither should we ignore the fact that Labour passed the 1968 Race Relations Act under Harold Wilson, while his Tory successor Edward Heath resisted considerable domestic opposition to help resettle East African Asians who were fleeing the aggressively dictatorial processes of ‘Africanisation’. Two white-British men born in 1916 – the former in the West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield, and the latter in Broadstairs on the Kent coast. Should Wilson and Heath be considered as heroes in Britain’s anti-racism history? Absolutely. But instead, we see the bizarre deification of convicted criminals within the so-called ‘anti-racist’ movement.

The gravest threat to Britain’s multi-ethnic democracy is not white-British racism – it is the tribal importation of racial and religious identity politics which have fuelled tensions between minorities in cities such as London and Leicester. Britain has made significant strides over the past few decades when it comes to racial equality – in fact, it is home to some of the strongest equality bodies in the world. The real challenge is how to neutralise the impact of foreign ideological imports such as American-inspired racial identity politics, subcontinental-style communalism, and Arab-world sectarianism. University departments in the cities that focus on ‘rural racism’ whilst much of this is unfolding on their very doorstep – including their own campuses – are doing us all a fundamental disservice.

If Britain’s hyper-diverse democracy ever unravels, it will not be the fault of the so-called ‘white supremacy’ which is imagined by modern-day British social-justice warriors who cosplay as 1960s African-American civil rights activists in the segregated South.

It will be because we lacked the political, social, and law-and-order leadership to address the clear complications that come with racial, ethnic, and religious heterogeneity.

Unless it is tied together by mutual obligations, a sense of common purpose and respect for the rule of law, diversity is anything but a source of strength.

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