Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 41: Culturing Poverty? Ethnicity, Religion, Gender and Social Disadvantage Among South Asian Muslim Communities in the United Kingdom
Claire Alexander Introduction: Britain in the twenty-first century – from multiculturalism to cohesion On 22 September 2005, in a speech to the Manchester Council for Community Relations, Trevor Phillips, Chair of the then Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)1 proclaimed: Some districts [in Britain] are on their way to becoming fully fledged ghettos – black holes into which no-one goes without fear and trepidation and from which no-one ever escapes undamaged. The walls are going up around many of our communities, and the bridges . . . are crumbling . . . The aftermath of 7/7 forces us to assess where we are. And this is where I think we are: we are sleepwalking into segregation. We are becoming strangers to each other and we are leaving communities to be marooned outside the mainstream . . . We know what follows then: crime, no-go areas and chronic cultural conflict. (Cited in Finney and Simpson, 2009: 116). For Phillips, this move towards segregation emerges from the multicultural policies that have defined Britain’s response to its Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities for the past 20 years, where ‘we have allowed tolerance of diversity to harden into the effective isolation of communities’ (cited in Finney and Simpson, 2009: 94). Phillips’s account, echoed by politicians, policy pundits and the press, reflects a number of important shifts in the way in which issues of ethnicity, cultural diversity and social exclusion have been understood in the past decade. First, there is the assertion of increasing levels of social and spatial segregation defined along racial, cultural and...
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