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October 30, 2003

A new ethnic classification

Reading today's Guardian newspaper (UK, 30 October) I came across the following:

"For young boys like Jake and his cousin John, the world is divided into two groups: the Pakis and the Porkies. The Pakis are the Muslims who seem to go to the mosque a thousand times a day, who fast and pray and have to watch what they eat. The porkies can be white or black or mixed race, but what unites them is that they are not Muslim. They call themselves porkies because, unlike the Muslims, they can eat pork. It is not a racial category you will find on any census form, but the concept of porkie says something new and profound about how some are forming their cultural identity in urban communities. The rise in mixed marriages has spawned a generation of children for whom the old race distinctions have blurred into irrelevance: it is not about whether you are black or white any more, it is about whether you are a paki or a porkie."

This comes from a feature article about a white family living in a predominantly Asian area of Bradford (northern England.) It is trailing a documentary programme The Last White Kids on Channel 4 at 9.00 p.m. tonight (30 Oct.)

I hasten to say that I would never use the 'P' word myself - I'm only quoting from the dear old Grauniad.

Posted by David B at 04:59 AM

If you ddid, in the end, watch the show, I

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at October 30, 2003 09:00 PM

Lest we forget, such distinctions would not have been necessary a generation ago.

Therein lies the tragedy of Britain. They created this mess.

Posted by: Sen at October 30, 2003 11:11 PM

And I still don't understand how a once ethnically homogenous European nation as Britain with thousands of years of history willingly adopted multiculturalism as an ideology. I can understand this in the US, Canada or Australia or New Zealand... but Britain?

Posted by: Sen at October 30, 2003 11:18 PM

Wrote a very long comment, which became more of a post so I decided to contribute to my weblog.

Anyways my final conclusion is that the Pakistani community was excessively demonised in the programme and great lengths were taken to portray it as the brown "other", steeped in mysterious rituals and speaking in incomprehensible tongues.

Though I was chuckling when the lil white girl was fluently repeated swear words in Punjabi.

Posted by: Zachary Latif at October 31, 2003 12:44 AM

Yes, but reading the news makes me really question whether multiculturalism & immigration has benefited Britons in any way. I'd contend that Canada and Australia would most likely be poorer, but would Britain be any poorer or more prosperous today without immigration over the past 50 years? ... It's highly suspect. If anything, immigration has caused more problems in British society.

Also, visible minorities constitute barely 6% of the British population, yet from such media reports one would think Britain is being swamped by coloured hordes. Yet Canada & Australia have far higher proportion of visible minorities (close to 15%) but such alarmist reports are rare.

Are these offshoot societies inherently more receptive/better at integrating its immigrants? Or has it more to do with the quality of the immigrants themselves?(ie. More Chinese/Koreans/Vietnamese/Hindus in Canada and Australia vs. high black & Muslim population in Britain...) I don't read about race riots or about Porkies or shit like this in the papers. Yet by far most race-related articles relating to Britain are negative, whereas here you read articles about affluent Hong Kong-ers constructing monster homes and University admissions spots being swallowed by an Asian Invasion (fairly harmless in comparison, really).

So what's wrong with that jam-packed little island in the North Atlantic? And how has multiculturalism & immigration benefited the host population?

Posted by: Sen at October 31, 2003 12:57 AM

Sen: I am not sure where you live, but you make comparisons between immigration in Britain and Australia - one of the points being that you don't read 'shit like this' in the newspapers about immigrants in Australia - 'shit like this' being a story about alleged gang rape by Asians in Britain. So I can only assume that you think this doesn't happen in Australia.

Au contraire: Google on 'Australia' and 'gang rape' and you will get a nasty surprise! This recent case was actually quite widely reported in the international media. Certainly it was in the British newspapers.

You must also remember that, to a first approximation, good news is no news. You cannot judge any country merely by what is reported in the press.

Posted by: David B at October 31, 2003 10:51 AM

Ikram and Zachary: I did watch the programme. I thought it was OK, but I was uneasy about the intrusive questioning of children who were clearly too young to give informed consent. I didn't think Pakistanis were 'demonised'. After all, the whole point of the programme was to present the point of view of a white family living in an Asian area. There are umpteen programmes presenting the black or Asian point of view, so why not one from the other 'side'? And in fact the white family - even the boys - were not especially hostile.

Posted by: David B at October 31, 2003 11:01 AM

Isn't there planty of alarmism about the Asian invasion in Australia? Pauline Hanseon's not a political force anymore, but the current PM seems to have co-opted her main issues. Of the Anglosphere countries, I would say Australia is the most racist (more than the US?).

Canada is about 11% non-white (with Ontario being about 20% non-white). There is very little concern about it, probably becuase the longstanding French fact entrenched pluralism here.

In Britain, the Muslim pop is about 2.7%, not too far from Canada's muslim population (approx 2%). But the majority of British Indian Muslims (1 million of them) live outside London. In Canada, non-whites live almost exclusively in large cities.

One explanation for the in UK is that minorities live outside London and are so visible in the declining industrial areas. Imagine if the outports of Newfoundland were 2% South Asian.

I'd note that the most recent wave of immigrants I've seen the London are Eastern european. Perhaps channel four should focus on the slav menace?

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at October 31, 2003 11:12 AM

Do Jews count as Porkies?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at October 31, 2003 11:27 AM

Could it be that (the most visible of) visible minorities in Britain are preodminantly Muslim, or that in Australia the minorities are Chinese/Vietnamese? Whereas in Canada (and in particular Toronto) you have a whole smargasboard of immigrants from all over the world - Italians, Greeks, Serbians, Jamaicans, Native Americans, Chinese, Koreans, Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans etc... In America immigrants=Hispanics, in France the North Africans, in Germany the Turks, in Australia the Vietnamese etc... in Canada they're from all over the place (black, brown, white, yellow...). Therefore you can't single out a single particular minority group as being particularly problematic (as in the UK) since they don't stand out as much, because's there such amazing diversity here and no one minority is singularly "dominant"?

Also, is there a reason why the fairly large Muslim community in Canada have been (by and large) fairly dormant, while in the UK they've been quite active? If the Muslims here wanted to turn Toronto into a "Londonistan", I'm sure they'd get catch major beef from the Chinese and Jamaicans and other minority groups (neglecting self-hating reticent Anglos). :-P Can't ever see that happening here...

Posted by: Sen at October 31, 2003 12:00 PM

My brain is mush, so all I can say is that blacks appear to be WAAAY over-represented on British TV. When i was England I think I saw more blacks on TV there than I did walking around London or Luton. (only in Buxton did I see a number of blacks on the street which roughly corresponded to TV).

In Canada, TV-land is the exclusive territory of the whites AFAICT.

I hate it when NRO-style Republicans like to bash "Red Canada" when it's clear as glass that Britain is a far more left-leaning country. (completely unrelated gripe, sorry)

Posted by: Johnny Rotten at October 31, 2003 07:26 PM

Joseph: there aren't many Jews in Bradford!

I am sure they would count as 'honorary Porkies'. You know the old joke about the Jewish boy in Belfast. A gang of other boys stop him and ask 'Are you a Catholic or a Protestant? He replies: 'I'm a Jew.' 'Yes, but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?'

Posted by: David B at November 1, 2003 02:53 AM

"I don't know about that. Britain still has a military and a relatively free market."

Agreed but consider the fact that they have the only "all-encompassing" public health system in the world (while the Cdn. system does not pay for dental or vision, among other things). Also consider that up until a few years ago, higher education (university/college) in England was practically free for the vast majority of people - I don't know the details, but something about *everyone* getting a "grant" which basically amounted to free money. Meanwhile Canadian students have to get a loan from a private bank if they can't pay tuition (for the public universities) themselves; tuition fees which are already higher than public schools in North Carolina or California.

How about the ridiculously high tax rates in the UK for basic things like gas (petrol)?

The "dole", as they call it in the UK, seems to be remarkably easy to 'extort' money out of, thus allowing someone to live semi-comfortably without a job. And the whole "council housing" thing is just hilarious; the poor in Canada for the most part have to struggle to make ends meet living in crappy - but privately owned - apartment buildings.

Anyways, I'm sure the resident Britons here will be quick to denounce what I've said in case I'm wrong...

Posted by: Johnny Rotten at November 1, 2003 10:42 PM

For all their contributions to science and political philosophy, the british remain a race of pirates. I think they deserve their racial problems. As the white brits become an increasingly smaller percentage of the population we will be in for some interesting news. I think around 2100 the white brits turn into a minority. The era of the white man is coming to an end.

Posted by: akshay at November 5, 2003 09:15 AM