Nihal talks politics — off the record
For a more balanced society, I’d like to compose an all-encompassing, modern day Multicultural Magna Carta designed to help foreigners or ethnic minorities, who are living segregated lives mix in a way that we find acceptable. A sort of checklist that we can all refer to when said foreigners stray ‘too far’ from the British norm.
This Oath has been asked for by Dame Louise Casey, the government-appointed ‘Community Integration Tsar’. She wants to make sure that we all integrate with each other (not a bad idea) and one of the many proposals she wants implemented is this Oath.
The only problem is we don’t know what it’s actually going to contain. So, I shall attempt to dream up my own Oath Of Integration.
State school was the incubator of these ideals. Rules began to form, were experimented with and then nurtured in that piazza of brutality and youthful exuberance known as The Playground.
MIX IT UP
It was here that I learned how the giant hulking bully is, in fact, deeply sad inside and in need of a big hug, despite testing the resilience of the glass doors with my face. I also learned that colour and culture does not define whether you are an idiot. An Asian did not jump to the top of my friends list because of their love of daal and roti. If a white person called me a Paki, there were usually five more white people willing to give said racist a physical lesson in good manners.
I was lucky. I had to integrate. I am blessed to have a very close and mixed circle of friends. What about you? Can you say the same?
If you live in a major city and all your friends are of one colour then you have singularly failed to integrate. You must venture forth from your monocultural enclave and seek the friendship of someone who is a different colour/faith/football team supporter/dress size/race to you. Remember, some cultures don’t act well when confronted with unwarranted hugging so approach your collaborator carefully in order to sound them out.
DIVIDED WE FALL
Making lasting friendships with people who are different from you will take time and emotional investment. For example, don’t wander up to any Asian and say ‘Namaste’. It’s the equivalent of saying ‘Bonjour’ to a German, assuming that all white people must be French.
The fact is, we are becoming divided as a nation. Last week, I met an Asian taxi driver from Bradford. He had friends who found it difficult to relate to white people. How scary is that? In a country that’s 85% white, there are groups of people who have no meaningful contact with white Britons.
Left to our own devices, do we huddle together with those who physically resemble us, only wishing to see a giant reflection of ourselves? Now we need our government to socially engineer us to integrate. Perhaps this is what the PM meant when she launched another new buzzword-driven attempt to galvanise society behind a common ideal. Her term was ‘a shared society’, so now it’s time to share our work, love, leisure time and space with others.
One thing is true: things can’t go on as they are…