Wouldn’t This Be Interesting Research Into British Racism?

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It is a standard claim that British society is grossly racist. As someone who has lived and worked in a number of different societies I would insist that this isn’t true. As would anyone who has kept their eyes open while travelling the world – Britain might be racist, in the sense that it has racists in it and aspects of the society where some matters are based upon race. But it’s hugely less racist than near any other society on the planet. One only has to look at the numbers for “mixed race” among children in the census. We Brits are handling immigration the same way we always have done, by boffing.

It should be possible though to go a little deeper. Take this from Nick Cohen (his larger point he’s entirely correct upon of course, that membership of one or another group, from sexuality to origin to gender to melanin enhancement might have some relevance to, in order, who you date, your accent, your physique and what level of sunscreen you use but has none at all to your views on capitalism, inequality and the rest):

The attacks on the Tory descendants of east African Asians echo the attacks of white racists. Their ancestry remains their curse. They are no longer from refugee families, who were robbed of everything they owned by Idi Amin and the other African dictators of the 1970s but the tainted descendants of the British empire’s “subcolonial agents” in Africa. Who could be surprised that their bad blood turned them Tory?

The thing being that there’s a vast difference in the outcome of different waves or groups of immigrants. More specifically, those “Ugandan Asians” generally turned up with nothing but the clothes they wore, an education and a trading and hard work culture. Others of the same race – whatever that means – have turned up equally fiscally poor but without that education and culture bit. The outcomes have been rather different – one symptom of which being that one section of the sub-Continent sourced is Tory, others strongly Labour.

Which leads to that research bit. Why not try to track the outcomes of those different waves? Properly, academically? Do the offspring of the Gujerati traders (either direct, or via East Africa) occupy a different position in British society than those of the Bangladeshi peasantry?

My assumption would be yes. And if we tried to fine grain the investigation a little more I’d expect that it wouldn’t be skin colour, fiscal position at the start, even religion, which would make the difference. It would be that familial culture that would. Those that were the striving middle class achievers at source – largely through education and graduation into the professions for the children – would be so here. Those that weren’t wouldn’t be.

In the absence of anyone actually doing the research that’s just my prejudice speaking of course. But it would be interesting because it would bolster Deirdrie McCloskey’s point. It’s the adoption of the bourgeois virtues that matters for economic development. Or, as a more important finding, nothing at all to do with the racism of either side. That is, nothing to do with the far right idea that them coloureds can’t hack it, not the left’s that them coloureds are oppressed by the inherent racism of the society.

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Boganboy
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Boganboy

You have a point. I was just glancing at the difference between the outcomes of independence for Botswana and Zimbabwe.

I don’t think there’s any real genetic difference (well ok, I’m an Aussie), but the rulers of Botswana appear to have been reasonably responsible and ethical, whereas Mugabe and his gangsters were and are just thieves.

This implies that the difference was cultural not racial.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

i think that’s overly simplistic, as someone who spent some time in both countries in the early 1980s and visited both a number of times since. Botswana is by and large non-tribal, whereas Zimbabwe is starkly tribal. Zimbabwe inherited a relatively prosperous and developed economy at Independence, but one in which white farmers and white businesses predominated. Botswana was so poor and so empty, the British never had it as an actual colony. It was only the discovery of diamonds that started to change Botswana’s economy. It really had nothing to plunder, either by whites or blacks before that. Botswana… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

We also need more granularity analyzing the flood of Hispanics into the United States. They are two dozen separate nations with distinct cultures. One (Puerto Rico) are already US citizens with a culture that prizes bilingualism and dual heritage. Most Latinos are conservative Catholic, though illegal entry self-selects for grifters likely to vote themselves more free stuff. We need a better handle on this than that they are all “Dreamers.”

John B
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John B

‘ Who could be surprised that their bad blood turned them Tory?’

Presumably the same people who would be surprised to learn their antecedents’ blood was de facto ‘Tory’ before it arrived in the UK, that is to say conservative in outlook, with self-betterment as a core value.

The Asians who migrated to Africa (it was not compulsory) were the entrepreneurial/adventurous types and better educated who went to work in Colonial administration. So they were people who inherently were inclined towards making a successful life in new lands.

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

Among the earliest of those migrants was a large group that was enticed out of India by Germany to perform that middle-class role in Tangyanika. It never really became a German settler colony, IIRC there were perhaps 2000 whites there (other than servicemen). Others apparently got on a boat in Bombay, got tipped out in Dar es Salaam and told it was Durban. By the time they found out it wasn’t, the boat was already making rapidly for the horizon. They made the best they could of it as well.

John B
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John B

‘ Who could be surprised that their bad blood turned them Tory?’

And judging individuals exclusively by their blood – race – that who they are and how they behave is determined by immutable, innate characteristics is the correct definition of racism.