Letter: Asian attitudes towards British racism

Share
Related Topics
Sir: Bhiku Parekh rightly criticises ("The race for respect and recognition", 19 June) successive governments' failure to combat racism in this country. However racism, as the American experience has demonstrated, cannot be eliminated from society merely by passing legislation; it needs to be continuously challenged through a well-organised, non-communal and non-sectarian campaign. But unfortunately that is where we, the Asians, have miserably failed, especially after the early Eighties, when the campaign to fight racism began to lose its momentum and a big crack started to appear in the composite Asian identity that had evolved during the Sixties and Seventies.

A number of factors contributed to this retrogressive development. The "invasion" of the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the explosion of the Salman Rushdie affair in Britain alienated Asians not only from the indigenous population, but also from each other. Asians began to seek their identities not in ethnicity but in religion. The decision by successive governments to provide generous grants for opening religious institutions such as temples, mosques and gurudwaras (Sikh temples) merely accelerated the process of religious polarisation. Young Asians today see themselves not as a part of one racial group, but merely as Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.

The splitting up of composite Asian identity along communal lines has had a negative fall-out on the anti-racist movement. Since the late Eighties, no worthwhile attempt has been made by Asian organisations to mobilise public support against racism. In fact there have been more demonstrations against the publication of The Satanic Verses than against the evil of racism.

The Government must do everything possible to stem the tide of fascism in Britain, but it would be futile to expect the Government and the white liberals alone to set the scene for racial equality. Asians also need to transcend their "communal identity" to revive the now almost defunct anti-racist movement.

Yours faithfully,

RANDHIR SINGH BAINS

Gants Hill, Essex

20 June

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech on his party's plans for the NHS, in Sale, on Tuesday  

Why is Miliband fixating on the NHS when he’d be better off focussing on the wealth gap?

Andreas Whittam Smith
 

Record Apple profits: We addicts are all too happy to be milked for our cash

Rhodri Marsden
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore