After I wrote this :
I get bored with writing about race and demography. I get cheesed when those who don't like black or Asian people assume that I agree with them. I worry that some of the remarks in the comments threads will put off the people I want to attract to the blog - lefties who've got the odd niggling doubt as to whether all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and who might be prepared to look at evidence to the contrary. I worry that this blog's getting a bit monochrome in its choice of subjects.
I got some supportive comments that made me feel a little less like a voice shouting in the wilderness.
I also got this email which, with permission, I reproduce. Not much there I can disagree with.
I have two daughters and a son, I was born and raised in Birmingham, and as you will know, when you have children, your whole perspective changes, and you start to think about what kind of world they will grow up in. I like reading your blog because it is honest and it chimes with worries that I have too, and if I will be honest, quite a few Indian people I know wonder on these issues, especially those of my age and at this stage of life. I don't read the comments though for fear of what they may contain!
I would say before 9/11 I was a fairly typical kind of defensive-about-race British Indian guy, an instinctive defensivness that was probably half genuine insecurity (memories of the National Front) and half posturing. It was the reaction of some people to 9/11, coupled with a growing awareness that there was a tangible, shall we say, 'excitability' in the air amongst some of the Muslim youths I share a city with, along with fatherhood, and a need to be honest about certain things, certain persistent dysfunctions that changed my mood. Ultimately, nobody I know that is British Indian was surprised when the 7/7 bombers came from the British Mirpuri community --- if we are honest it has been bubbling under, the rhetoric was in our face even long before the Iraq war.
We have serious issues --- generally, Asians need to become less defensive and open up, some more than others. You will know about the differentials from amongst the Asian communities themselves. The situation is dynamic, but all sorts of indicators like the relative success of Indian children at school do point to the possibility of Indians and eventually (most or at least some) Pakistanis and others following the Jewish model of academic/business success and melting into the bourgeoisie.
What terrifies me, I mean really terrifies me, is the X factor, the suicide bombers, the continuing perpetuation of this grievance culture that has, I have to admit, been fostered, or at least stoked, by some on the left. Terrified because of the sheer horror of what they can do, and a secondary horror of any backlash. I don't want my daughters and son growing up in an atmosphere as thick with hate that might accrue because of these issues. It's why I lose my patience with those on the left, and some Muslim identity politicians that don't face up to the problem.
And if we are serious too ---- yes, we need a moratorium on immigration for at least ten years and work things out. We'll always need immigrants, but let's be more selective. And we need to somehow stop chain migration from Mirpur and Sylhet. Supporting a law to discourage marrying boys and girls from back there has to be brought in --- there are enough British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and Indians in the UK now for parents to introduce to their children if that is what they want to do in terms of marriage. This will be tough, but something has to be done to discourage that practise, especially amongst girls, especially amongst the young. Certainly the forced marriage legislation needs to be seriously considered. Continually importing women and men who bring the 'back home' culture doesn't allow the kids to find their own settlement with British society on their own terms and leads to frustrations and failure to integrate, which becomes like a vicious cycle, this becomes like a self perpetuating thing and when relations between them and mainstream society get worse it becomes more difficult to break the process, the rejection on both sides, belligerence and so on and so on.
So many issues, so much to say.
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