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Three perspectives of RACE

This model, by Shahid Ashrif, presents the three modern perspectives of 'Race' in Britain - the assimilation, multi-cultural and anti-racist thinking. It can be used for socio-political analysis of legislation, social policy and ideologies behind 'race' and racism.











Historical Background



Historically, this country has largely welcomed immigrants.  Coloured people came to this country in droves because the laws on immigration were not very strict.  New laws have now stemmed the tide.



Ethnic minorities came here because they had a right to and because they wanted the better life that this country could provide.


Black people came here as to other countries because their labour was required by the economy.


What Black People

Should Do


Immigrants should integrate as quickly as possible into the host society, as other immigrants have done in the past.



Ethnic minorities should be able to maintain their languages and cultural heritage, provided they can operate in wider British society.



Black people have to defend themselves and their communities, challenge racist laws and practices and to fight for justice and equality.


To Nature of

Racism & Prejudice



There is prejudice in this country but this is only human nature, but generally this country is more tolerant than most.



There are some misguided individuals and extremists but basically society is just, democratic and provides equality.


This is a racist society and has been for centuries.  Racism is to do with power structures and ideologies more than with the attitudes of individuals.











How to Combat

Racism & Prejudice



It is counterproductive to try to remove prejudice - Legislation can’t make people like each other.  It is best to ignore or play down racial prejudice - besides, coloured people are just as prejudice as us.



Prejudice is based on ignorance and misunderstanding.  It can be removed by personal contacts and provision of information, and generally encouraging inter-cultural understanding and exchange.



Prejudice is not synonymous with racism, and the latter generates unjust structures and procedures.  Racism can only be combated by dismantling such structures and procedures.


Priorities In Social

Policies or The Law



The British way of life should be upheld, and immigrants should ‘do as the Romans do’.  If immigrants children and their parents learned the British way of life, and to speak English, they would face less prejudice and discrimination.  Legislation or social policies that give concessions to coloured people would be divisive and would stretch the tolerance of the British people.  That said, all people should be treated the same.



Society should recognise and affirm the right of all minorities to maintain their religions, languages, cultures etc. and suitable interpreting services ought to be available at the point of service delivery.  While cultural diversity should be celebrated as enriching the British way of life, as is natural, the norms of the majority will prevail over the long term.



Legislation is needed to combat direct and indirect discrimination.  Black peoples’ particular needs must be communicated to decision makers, and legitimate needs met.  Power and decision-making must be shared, not concentrated in the hands of a few people.  Black people need their share of positions of authority as well as to be seen to exercise that power.  Social policies, provision and the law need to confirm that Black people are within the mainstream of a society that is diverse and heterogeneous.



Shahid Ashrif

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Revised: February 14, 2002 .

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