Student situation: Why Britain needs to focus on integration, not segregation

(Originally published on The Student Situation:)

After watching Britain First’s latest stunt, I am ever so slightly ashamed to be white British. I am all for people having their own opinions/religions/political leanings, but the logic behind their messages is ridiculous.

I have just watched their protest in Bury Park, Luton. As someone who lives local to the area, in the next town, I am aware of Luton’s multiculturalism. However, unlike these extremists, I have no problem with it. Luton may have a bad name for various reasons, but multiculturalism is not a bad thing.

It’s been said before and it will be said again – targeting people who fit the typical ‘Muslim’ demographic is an absolute guaranteed way to start conflict in a town. This is not what we need. Hate crimes like this come from stupidity generated thoughts and  equally stupid actions. How would Britain First feel if, along with the tiny minority of extremists in our country, they lost all the non white British people who make this country what it is? Just over 40% of the NHS employees are not ethnically British (The Guardian 2015), and with the NHS struggling as it is, imagine waiting times/appointment waits without that crucial 40%.

I imagine that if a Britain First supporter needed an life threatening operation, they would not want to wait an extra few weeks for a slot to become available. If a Britain First member needed to rush to A&E with a broken limb, I am sure they would rather get their anaesthetic and stitches faster, rather than wait an extra few hours in agony. Britain First seem to forget that although there are a few people in our country who should not really be here, the positive majority outweighs this by far.

The biggest irony, perhaps, is their methods of ‘fighting back’ that they love to shout about. Britain is a multicultural country and it prides itself on that, and if a group of Muslims were to wander the streets menacingly with huge signs and posters, Britain First would be all over it. In contrast, when they decide to march through a predominately ethnic minority part of the town, they act surprised to find confrontation. Tell me, why is it acceptable for Britain First to shout and swear and push people about, but for them to not respond? Why is it okay for them to refer to every non white person they see as ‘Muslim’ but not for those shouted at to retort with insults?

To make matters worse, the political situation in our country does nothing to help these assumptions. What with David Cameron insisting that all refugees wear wristbands (a throwback to Germany 1945, anyone?) and speaking publicly about the ‘submissive ways of Muslim women’ it is no surprise to see Britain First and similar groups picking up on this and throwing it in the air.

Britain needs to realise that without all of our multiculturalism, we wouldn’t be the country we are today. People from all ethnic backgrounds should be free to proudly speak the language they’ve learnt, to eat the food they like (and most people like a good takeaway aside fish and chips sometimes) and to socialise with those of a similar background. This is not to say segregation is the answer, because I firmly believe in integration and encourage it. Every country in the world has a few individuals to let it down, but Britain First need to realise that jumping on the smallest (irrelevant, and often inaccurate) statement to make ‘white British citizens’ look better is not the answer at all. In order to integrate different communities, the idea is to be open minded and accepting, and not split Britain firmly into ‘white citizens’ and ‘others’.

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