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 Integration or segregation?

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Number of posts : 62
Age : 47
Location : Solihull, England
Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: Integration or segregation?   Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:12 am

With the increase in immigrant communities in the UK, are we really an integrated society? Or do these communities themselves encouraging self-segregation by keeping within their own communities and not mixing with other UK residents? Should all people living in the UK be made to speak English? Or should cultural diversity be encouraged?

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Number of posts : 102
Age : 47
Location : Birmingham, UK
Registration date : 2008-07-23

PostSubject: Re: Integration or segregation?   Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:44 pm

This is a touchy subject because this discussion is at the root of much of the racism in the UK today, and it’s difficult to argue one side or the other, because no matter which side you argue on, someone finds offence in it.

Having myself been an immigrant in other countries for most of my adult life, I can see both sides of the argument, and although I hold my own opinions on what we should do about it, I can see how others will disagree with me, and have just as valid opinions to the contrary.

When you move to a new, strange country, it is only natural to seek the reassurance, comfort and familiarity of other members of a similar culture to what you are used to living in. However, in your choice to move to that country, you are choosing that country’s culture over your own and so it’s absurd and self-defeating to the whole point of moving to say that you want to live in one country but still retain the culture of another. When I was living in America, I accepted the American culture over English, because that was the culture I had chosen to live in at that time. When I lived in India, I accepted the Indian culture over English because that was the culture I had chosen to live in at that time, and so on. If I want to live in an English culture, then I live in England, if I was to live in a French culture, I live in France, etc. To move to another culture, but insist on still living in a culture different to that country’s culture is bound to segregate yourself from the natives of that country and offend them by intimating that your culture is better than theirs, so much so that you feel that they should adopt your culture over their own.

When immigrants to the UK live in their own communities, this is bound to antagonise their English neighbours (who already tend to be suspicious of the newcomers anyway) and so there is no great surprise when there is an increase in racism and prejudice against those immigrants in that area. By not integrating with the society that you have chosen to join and setting yourself up as different to those around you, you are providing tem with a perfect chance to turn against you (not that I excuse any form of prejudice in any way, I have always been actively against prejudice of all kinds, but I can see in cases like this why it increases, without actually agreeing with it).

I completely agree that cultures should be celebrated and encouraged, but it should also be remembered that inserting a new culture into any area is bound to be met with resistance and mistrust from those who already live there with their own culture.

When I lived in other countries I felt it important to speak the language of the country I was now living in, and accept the culture and laws of that country. I was the one that had chosen to be there, so it was up to me to integrate myself into that country and get along with the people living there. I also believe that this should be true for others that move to live in other countries, whether immigrants to the UK, or British people living in other countries.

The best way I know to prevent this issue in the first place is to simply get rid of national identities. Once we accept that there is no difference between any of us, we are not French, English, African, Indian, American, etc, but all Human Beings and that such differences are purely artificially created to try and make people think that they are more special than people in other countries and areas, the better. Whether you believe in creationism, where you believe that humans all descend from Adam and Eve, or whether you believe in evolution, where you believe that humans all descend from a small group from Ethiopia, the same is true in all cases, that we are all descend from a common point and are all related at some point if we go back far enough. To believe that any nationality, social group, colour of skin (or any other petty difference between us) is better than anyone else is absurd in the extreme. The ideas were put into our minds during times of conflict where out leaders actively liked to encourage the ideas that “our side” was somehow better than “the enemy”. In WWI and WWII the British were encouraged to believe that they were inherently “better” than the Germans, the Germans were encouraged to believe that they were inherently “better” than the British, and so on. “We” always had to be “better” then the “enemy” because then that meant that we had more right to win. Once the wars are over, then we are then encouraged to believe that such differences are no longer real and that we’re all the same after all, but humans don’t work that way, we can’t convince ourselves of one way of thinking one week, then convince ourselves of the opposite way of thinking the next week, so it’s no surprise that these ideas “hang over” and people continue to think of themselves as “better” than the rest of the world, despite the efforts of the government to now discourage such thinking. We made the problem ourselves and it’s only by accepting this mistake and actively working to reverse that damage that we can move forward to a place where we can do away with these false national and tribal identities and truly realise that we are all the same really.
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