Racial, Ethnic & Sexual Identity & Difference - Pt 5
Last Updated: 14 June 2016
British Nationalism and National IdentityHowever, it is clearly up to the individual as to what they want their beliefs about their identity to be, whether it reflects who they actually are, what they can be if they develop all their personal qualities, a worthless individual who is no good at anything or cannot be good at a particular thing, or a stereotype of what their ethnicity group dictates or a combination of the above. It comes down to individual choice. We have seen historically that forcing an identity onto people is not a good idea! Perhaps we are now seeing a resurgence in nationalism and desire for a certain kind of patriotism because of the effects of the global economy (increased internationalism), perhaps in a similar fashion as at the turn of the 20th century, as people feel more disassociated and lacking in a sense of identity. At times of economic upheaval and cultural uncertainty, the crudest of people's fears often come to the surface. This area clearly requires more study and examination so we can avoid the mistakes of the past. This is another good reason to break down the barriers and fears around group difference now! In our industrialised, democratic societies, we imagine that we are all very civilised, but violent conflict often exists just below the surface in many individuals and requires only the slightest encouragement or excuse for an outlet. Our consumer society becomes more and more meaningless and self-absorbed, but violent crime continues to dramatically increase. Perhaps children at school should be taught cultural studies and social anthropology and material culture to understand where their society has actually come from, how it has evolved, and how life in other countries actually is, and how they aren't that different from themselves, and are more able to form intelligent beliefs about what it means to be a citizen in their country; rather than have their beliefs moulded by their parents perhaps somewhat limited understanding and the television and media's 'harmless fun' and dumbing down generalisations.
For example, Scottish nationalists are often unaware that the kilt was invented by Thomas Rawlinson, a Quaker from Lancashire, as a practical work garment for use in his factory. Tartan designs were created in the 1820s and were only then used to designate clans. Much of Scottish culture originates from the Irish mainland.
Click here to read more about the history of the kilt.
Wikipedia's history of the kilt
The British Royal Family used a German surname Wettin prior to the First World War, but it was changed to the more English sounding name Windsor because of increased anti-German feeling in the general population. The surname arose from Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, son of Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in February 1840. How British is the Royal Family in reality?
The best influencers in history have managed to establish traditions in culture which in a few years are considered traditional.
History is presented at school in such a boring manner, and it could be seen to be relevant and exciting, if presented in a better manner, and how it actually relates to the present. That would however require effort on behalf and imagination. It is no coincidence that every international football tournament has increasing numbers of hooligans and violent thugs who appear to confuse a friendly game with a world war, and with childish ideas about World War Two. Perhaps the majority of football hooligans share the 'red' personality type, as examined in the Personality Types section.
If one is to be extremely nationalistic and/or have inflexible ideas about racial/ethnic purity and cultural preservation, then one really needs to be honest and have a think about what it actually is that one believes in. For example, people who are proud to be black, or proud to be white and British, what are they actually proud of? Many racists consider themselves to be extremely patriotic. The concept of being proud of one's race is often confused with class, nation and many other concepts. Is one saying that one is proud to be part of the 'race' one is born into? Is one proud of the 'culture' and 'ethnicity' of the race one belongs to, in that particular country? Or is one proud of all other cultures and ethnic groups that could be crudely said to belong to that same race?
So is the 'white British race' so wonderful? And other 'races' so terrible? Are we proud of all people of other classes? And how they speak? And how they behave? Often when we find someone being annoying, selfish, aggressive, defensive or anti-social, we make a note of it when they are of a different skin colour, but when they are a member of our ethnic group, we don't find them so annoying somehow, or if we do, we forget it more readily. It is not a rational phenomenon.
If one considers oneself to be proud of British culture and wanting to preserve it from 'outside influence', one has to consider first of all is culture a static thing and also what parts of British culture is one actually proud of? Culture is not a static concept as we have learned. Culture by its very nature is constantly changing. Who is to decide which culture is good and which is bad, and which should be preserved? And how should it be preserved and forced onto people? If we look at British English, the way we speak has changed considerably. With the emphasis on watching television, more and more people speak a characterless 'BBC English' dialect. Regional dialects are disappearing more and more. People with strong accents or dialects are not desired to be heard on television, or if they are, as a novelty. But even regional dialects have changed considerably. For example, in Edwardian Britain, a middle class accent from the north of England sounded very much like a West Country accent today. Should we preserve accents?! The way British English is spoken today has been heavily influenced by Australian Soap Operas such as Neighbours, which has resulted in a national phenomenon of the raised inflection at the end of a sentence (raising the tone on the last word so it sounds like a question). In Edwardian times, it was a popular pastime amongst the youths to steal the hat from a Policeman, who was regarded as a jocular figure. Should we revive and preserve this tradition and steal Policemen's and women's hats? If one looks at the middle classes, who may aspire to read the classics of literature, do they have the guts to actually speak in the language used by the Victorians and Edwardians? Should one preserve the divided class structure in the UK? And the way people identify with a class by various learned behaviours, language, accent?
The last few centuries have seen a great deal of change, with the rate of change in certain areas escalating more and more, technologically, socially and culturally. It is a natural tendency for those who grow into adulthood to reminisce about their youth and to how things were and what they did when they were teenagers or children. Some people continue the rest of their lives in a time bubble, wearing the same clothes and styles at 60 as they did at the age of 20, regardless of fashion. Others try to be more 'hip'. However, there is always some reluctance to change in some area. The former scenario is an example of the desire to freeze culture and society at the snapshot moment of one's youth. Who is to say that that moment is for everyone? And indeed, certain aspects as remembered or revered in opposition to other characteristics which might not be so great so today's standards. The previous generation will of course will similarly have a snapshot view of what their youth was like and how they wish society would still be, so our view is not the same as the older generation's, who make up an increasingly large segment of the population. Those who look back to the 'good old days' are regarded by today's youths as 'old gits' and laughable figures, out of touch with the today in terms of youth culture etc. Retro has been in fashion, for many centuries, with a significant segment of the population always dissatisfied with the current trends. This should be considered when examining nationalism - exactly which 'Britain' are we looking to preserve? Whilst many people may be united on what they don't like, what they do like may not always unite them. One has to consider at the end of the day what one wants to embrace and what one is not particularly bothered about, and what one will not bend to, on a personal level, about who one is and how one relates to modern culture; and to what extent one is going to embrace aspects of it and utilise it for one's benefit and to what extent one is going to resist often in a rather pointless manner.
Many nationalists criticise the influx of muslims into the UK, but how many of these nationalists are proud of the UK's religious heritage? How many are regular members of a church congregation? Britain is after all a Christian country and not a secular country. How many know anything about the development of the British national identity and how nationalism, British independence and church power were closely related over many centuries? Do the same rules apply to religious freedom in the UK as they do in the countries that muslim migrants come from? Are migrants from certain countries wanting to have their cake and eat it? Is it reasonable to come from a country where Christianity is persecuted and settle in a Christian country and expect religious freedom that did not exist in one's own country? To clarify, if one expects all the benefits of a democracy, human rights and religious freedom in the country one migrates to, surely it would seem consistent if one then was active in terms of lobbying for greater human rights, democracy, equality and religious freedom (and against corruption) in one's own country that one left - to stand up for those that are pressured and persecuted?
Of course, national identity is a personal concept, but if someone wants to believe in a certain type of national identity or what constitutes a national identity, that is their business. If someone wants to be a nationalist or an internationalist, then it is clearly up to the individual, but I would stress that an understanding of the issues involved from both sides is very important. One should bear in mind that a nationalist is not necessarily a racist, and the right and far right is indeed constituted of racists, non-racists, and also officially non-racists who are somewhat racially confused. Some may be more culturalist than racist. Objecting to immigration from unskilled migrants does not necessarily mean that one objects to their 'race' or 'culture.' Racism does not necessarily mean that one is racist towards all 'races' either, as some 'races' may bear the brunt of one's disgust more than others. A 'racist' may dislike a specific nationality on account of stereotypes in the media or one particular bad experience with an individual. Does that mean one is 'racist' or nationalist? And indeed some of those who claim to be non-racist are in practice very racist in their policies. For example, in South Africa, during Apartheid, 'blacks' and 'coloureds' were second class citizens compared with 'whites'. However, after the fall of Apartheid, and the new found 'freedom', the same ghettos still exist, rife with gun crime and poverty, and now 'coloureds' are third class citizens. Race is not always the issue, as discussed elsewhere in this article.
One who sees another 'race' differently may indeed be somewhat confused and what they are actually objecting to is economic behaviour or perceived anti-social behaviour or perceived obnoxious behaviour resulting from a difference in values - amongst specific individuals, where race takes the 'blame.' For example, methods of communication may vary between cultures. In some cultures, direct eye contact is seen as threatening or aggressive, and in others, a lack of eye contact may be seen as shifty, untrustworthy or rude. If one moves to another country or culture, one should be sensitive to the way people are used to communicating and be aware of one's surroundings, and just not carry on oblivious and insensitive to others needs and methods of communication.
Rivalry between communities can develop where local councils seek to even the 'playing field' and create equal opportunities by positive discrimination, for example, housing allocation, which rarely has a positive effect on intercommunity relations. Political parties may also seek to place 'more women' in certain jobs, which may result in perhaps not the best candidates getting the job and increased rivalry and tension between gender groups. Encouraging a more diversity in certain employment areas should be achieved by encouraging people to develop their skills and to go into areas that they are genuinely passionate about, regardless of gender, ethnicity etc.
Usually, one's concept of what constitutes British culture is lacking in historical perspective. It is mixed up with various international aspects of modernity, which are perceived as being nationalised in each respective country they find themselves in. Those who are proud of a culture often only think of a few stereotypical notions of that culture and use those to identify themselves with it. However, it is clear that many 'patriots' or people wishing to preserve a culture do not really have much idea of what is really out there in cultural terms, nor have much interest in all aspects of 'their own' culture. How many 'patriots' wear traditional clothes? How many wear characterless international sportswear? Or foreign clothes? What constitutes traditional food? In ex-empire building countries such as the UK, many people only know of a few traditional 'British' dishes and much of the food dishes eaten are foreign in origin. Are people wanting to preserve high culture or 'low' culture? Who is to decide which is superior? Those who wish to preserve high culture look down on the culture of the working class. In Edwardian times, it was the intellectual elite who wished to preserve their intellectual heritage and feared democracy and consumer power. How many 'patriots' in the UK have been to an art gallery recently to view great British painters? Or have read great British Authors such as Graham Greene or Lord Byron? Or have been to see a British living composer, such as Tavener? Or indeed, how many far right extremists actually positively help people in their own communities (as opposed to negative, hate-based actions and behaviour)?
If we go back to the first moment of the creation of a concept of 'Englishness', it was probably the Lindisfarne Gospels, written in the late 7th or early 8th century. Although during the Dark Ages England was divided and ruled by a number of different ruling kings, they were all Christian kingdoms by this stage, Christianity having spread from the Celtic Christian west, from Roman Catholicism and having influenced the Anglo-Saxon Germanic pagan kings. This created a unique although hetereogenenous form of Christianity, unique to England. No one thought of themselves as an English people, but as subjects of their respective kingdoms. It was only really through the Christian identity that the concept of 'Englishness' arose, and it was not a political or nationalist identity but a religious one. The Lindisfarne Gospels for the first time brought together diverse cultural elements of Latin and Roman culture, Anglo-Saxon symbols, Celtic culture and created a diverse religious identity, talking of the English people. They were written by culturally rich and educated Christian monks on the island of Lindisfarne who stood in contrast to the violent society of the mainland and conflicts between kingdoms. They represented a kind of benevolent Christian 'English' brotherhood. The first concept of Englishness was that of diversity and influence from many different lands overseas, and grounded in Christian teachings. This is a far cry from the working class or middle class consumerist and nation state views of what it means to be English today for many people, who are only brought together in times of war or economic depressions.
It is not uncommon for those who claim to be extremely patriotic to be extremely ignorant of their of modern cultural traditions, that they claim to be representing the preservation of. For example, British National Party leader Nick Griffin in 2008 was photographed next to an upside down Union Flag! If he is not aware of the correct orientation of the British national flag, he might want to consider leaving the 'British National Party' or changing it's name!
One naturally assumes that those who claim to be nationalists are mature and experienced politicians but this does not always appear to be the case. In 2006, the Barking and Dagenham BNP had proposed a vote on a particular issue, but when it came to the vote taking place, only one of the eleven BNP councillors actually voted for the motion, as the other ten forgot or neglected to actually vote. Of course, no political party is free from incompetence. Those in power, in the mainstream political parties have the opportunity to make incompetent mistakes and decisions on a much bigger scale, and service old boy networks against the public interest and at the tax payer's expense, but are usually better at covering them up. This web site is not concerned with politics or political affiliation. However, I would merely like to point out the image problem many far right parties have, in terms of perceived political naivity and economic inexperience and unrealistic goals. Whilst we may not agree with many or all of these goals, at least it is refreshing to see a little spirit and honesty. Clearly both mainstream and fringe parties have a long way to go. Of course there are no doubt many supporters of far right parties that support their slightly watered down version of social policies, and in reality support a far more extreme agenda, using the party as a platform for a further move to the right and a starting point. Leaders of course try to downplay this aspect and nowadays discourage shaven headed and para-boot wearing members from attending meetings, and to keep language polically correct (in public) to give them more credibility in the public eye. Perhaps this does reflect a genuine shift to a more middle class audience and mature working class audience, or perhaps it is just spin and image making.
Much of what is very popular is multinational consumer culture which is very similar in other developed countries. Popular culture and technology is imported too very often, with American artists being popular in all countries. Those who wish to preserve culture like international travel and open labour markets when it means they can go on holiday or buy cheap consumer products produced overseas. But then do not like immigration. If one considers the most 'traditional' aspects of culture, quite often they are only 100 years old, and at the time of introduction, were new and an evolution or revolution. All musical forms that have appeared and been highly influencial never stay static but evolve and combine with other influences. The idea of preserving a snap shot of an old cultural form is rather inappropriate, but rather encouraging young people to take an interest in literature and art from all periods, learn about their history, and to create new and exciting cultural forms is more productive and positive. Many countries are becoming increasingly similar in cultural terms, and this is a problem with modernity itself. You can't have your cake and eat it!
People who claim to be patriotic need to be clear about what they are being patriotic about. Are they proud of their fellow citizens? After all, it is the people in a country that give a country its character, as well as the physical environment. Do patriots really like most people in their local town or city? Are people generally friendly? Do people say hello to you in the street? Or do people who you don't know chat to you in shops? Are you friendly to other people? Or do people who you see every day (at work, in the street, etc.) ignore you, even when you say hello? Are people a pleasure to deal with? Or are they often quite miserable and anti-social? Are people very cliquey? Do you find often people to be snobs or inverted snobs (slaves to class)? Modern consumer culture has conditioned people to become selfish, self-centred, self-absorbed, vain and greedy, and dishonest with themselves, at the expense of the community and community spirit. It is easy to blame other people for why a country isn't how it should be, but ultimately it is up to the individual to make their environment a better place. Clearly how a person behaves, treats others and speaks is up to him. But often a 'national or regional' character can emerge whose qualities apply to many people in varying degrees. Monkey see, monkey do. Such a character is in a sense like a virus. Do people have to become slaves to such models or roles? For example, I have personally noticed that on mainland Europe, people tend to be more open and relaxed in work environments, people behaving positively and having a laugh together, whereas in the UK, his work colleagues have generally been quite miserable and utilised 'negative British humour' (basically insulting each other and making bitchy comments and putting people down as a form of 'bonding').
Much has been said about preserving 'Britishness' or encouraging 'British' values in the population of the UK. However, what exactly are we talking about here? When asked what constitutes Britishness, many people say things like 'fair play', 'modesty', 'politeness', 'law and order' etc. These are middle class values and aspirations and do not necessarily reflect the reality of the working class, in the present and especially historically. Drunkenness, coarse, chaotic, lawless behaviour was not uncommon amongst the working classes in the 19th and 20th Centuries and much of today's youth, of any class, on a Friday night, are clearly not embodying these idealised values either!
When some British people make small talk briefly, they often talk about the weather or complain about something amongst themselves. It is almost as if people are embarrassed to be genuinely positive, and being negative is so much 'safer'. The British middle classes often say 'sorry' too much, even when it is not necessary or not their fault. Is this apologetic manner appealing or just a sign of a lack of self-confidence? But often the British rarely have the guts to be assertive and complain if something unfair is happening (going up to a person they don't know and stopping them), but prefer to protest 'in their heads'. This isn't usually a problem on the continent in countries like France or Italy! People seem to strangely gain confidence when they are in a car and as they are 'protected' from the outside, tend to behave worse than they would walking down the street. Perhaps this is part of the 'British character'. Perhaps not! The 'British character' stereotype seems diverged into two forms, the shy, modest, timid, polite, quiet, emotionally inexpressive character and the overly aggressive, obnoxious, angry, loud and rude character. Class inertia and class identity is very strong. Clearly such characteristics vary according to region, socio-economic and 'ethnic' group association and the individual. Such ultimately fearful and negative behaviour really does spread like a virus from generation to generation, and is perpetuated by the individual. It is up to the individual to break the mould of course.
National flags or regional flags often carry different meanings in different countries and in different contexts. For example, if we look at Swedish summer houses, many can be seen to display the Swedish flag. This is not considered to be racist! Cafes in Stockholm may also be seen to display the Swedish flag. If one looks at the UK, there is more stigma associated with the national flag, and displaying the Union Jack is often seen as aggressive or racist. The English flag is often drapped outside people's homes during sports tornaments, but rarely all year around. During sports tournaments, people can be seen to go mad with flags covering their cars. Yet the Union Jack or English flag is seen as racist by many people in the UK. Surely one should be able to display the national flag if one wants to without any assumptions being made. And equally, people feeling more at ease with the national flag all throughout the year, to the extent that it becomes something one doesn't notice or pay much attention to. After all, one is living in a country, it should not be a shock to see the flag occasionally! White supremacists may use the national or regional flag as a symbol of patriotism, but their agenda is subversive and far separated from the democratic national institutions and establishment which these flags represent. Their use is somewhat misguided.
Immigration and EmmigrationWestern economies will continue to become more diverse with economic migrants from all over the world settling up home. There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to every order. However, it is no longer possible to maintain small, local communities with fixed religious and ethnic groupings and local character in the same way that it was a few hundred years ago before road, rail, flight, telecommunications and the internet. There are clearly positive and negative aspects to the change in the fabric of society, and ultimately migration and communication across borders cannot be stopped unless we want to return to rigid, economically inefficient and anti-democratic systems of government. Perhaps increased migration and internationalism/globalisation is a good thing, to make our culture more diverse and rich, no matter in what manner it occurs. Perhaps it is only a good thing when the culture can be diverse but not divided and where the population is well integrated but still diverse and heterogeneous. Perhaps it is a bad thing in that it dilutes our concepts of national character and reduces our sense of national uniqueness, and confuses concepts of identity (which may lead to crises in identity later). Each person should make up his own mind. Whatever goal we seek and what our beliefs are, the most important thing is to reach those goals in an ethical manner, respecting people's human rights and not fighting prejudice or stopping conflict between identity groups by introducing policies that create and reinforce concepts of difference.
When considering the issue of immigration, it is important to bear in mind that it is not just a question of being 'for' or 'against' immigration, but also looking at the effects of immigration and providing the necessary infrastructure for migrant workers and their families. Industry reaps the rewards of cheap labour from Eastern Europe, but does not contribute more widely to the effects these workers and families have on society, for example, social integration and social problems. Migrant worker families in many cases do not speak much or any English and expect the same level of medical and dental care as other UK residents. Council facilities such as waste disposal and recycling are not explained to migrant families who would not understand in many cases anyway as they do not speak English and have little idea of community services available. Medical facilities are often already full to capacity and the necessary manpower to accommodate for the increased numbers of people and the burden of slow interpretor telephone services makes matters worse. New schools are set up to accommodate migrant children who speak much less English than other children of equivalent age. Existing schools are often hard enough to get into in any case. The police often require translators to communicate properly to migrant family members. Migrants may also not be familiar with the local culture in terms of quiet hours at night that people come to expect. All this costs money and requires resources. If a government allows high levels of immigration into specific communities, then it needs to fork out financially (along with the employers - e.g. migrant worker tax paid by employers for community services?) to provide for such infrastructure. Problems are exaccerbated when migrants are concentrated into specific towns or areas rather than spread evenly throughout the country.
The influx of migrant workers is often in manual labour jobs. It is argued that these jobs are not wanted by the locals, and as such migrant workers do not take anyone's jobs. However it is a circular argument, as employers can get away with lowering wages as there is a surplus of available labour, and someone will always do the job even if it is hard work and close to minimum wage. This may in turn discourage local workers. There is also the argument that generous welfare system, gentrification and higher standards of living in general make it too easy for local workers to lose motivation for the lower paid jobs or harder manual jobs, which is one of the problems of a borgeois and wealthy culture.
There is often a notion that ethnic groups fit into convenient geographic areas. Whilst this may be generally true in certain specific cases, more often than not it is not the case, and ethnic groups may be spread out disporadically over wide areas and heavily mixed in with a number of other groups differentiated by language, religion or ethnicity. Whilst these differences go largely unnoticed when there is a powerful, totalitarian state in place, once that state collapses, the country can be thrown into chaos and civil war if the different ethnic groups are sufficiently insecure about their ethnic identity and/or there are signficant historical struggles (over right to land or claims on land as being 'homeland', or between loyalties to different invading groups) or differences between them. In a power vacuum it may be tempting to try to assert one's power and authority, to create some good feelings about who they are and to take power back after years of oppression. In highly heterogeneous areas however the result is rarely positive. Conflicts often escalate on account of tit-for-tat type executions and acts of violence or terrorism. The effects can be clearly seen in collapsed totalitarian states or new states such as Yugoslavia, Iraq or the areas of Palestine and the West Bank.
Whilst the focus is often on immigration in one's own country, this is as stated above only considered a problem by many if the immigrants are of a 'dark' skin colour (can be 'seen' to be different) or are unskilled, but also those who show little interest in cultural and lingual assimilation. However, whilst it is easy to focus on immigration, few focus on emigration. The phenomenon of emigration is probably more significant demographically than immigration, with one in ten British born nationals choosing to live abroad. This usually occurs in English speaking countries, such as the USA or Australia, but also in other countries, typically in Europe. With the advent of cheap air travel in the 00s, many British nationals have chosen to go away to Eastern Europe for example on short breaks, and often on stag weekends, giving the worst impression of British people to the local communities possible! Do British people who emigrate always fully assimilate into their new found homes? Some do, either totally adopting the new culture or mixing elements of their own culture with the new culture. Of course, some stoically resist and insist on never changing their ways whatsoever and who many not bother to learn the local language. Such behaviour is what grates many people in Britain about immigrants. It is easy to focus on immigration as that is what we may observe in our own country, but it is more difficult to be aware of the effects of emigration on other countries. Clearly the levels of intermingling and intermixing will create new cultural forms of an increasingly diverse and global nature, taking cultural elements from all over the world and integrating them into contemporary youth culture etc. but of course not all elements will integrate so well and may cause friction in their respective countries. Whether this will be one additional cause of anti-globalisation, which encompasses many areas, but may perhaps zoom in on the more 'visible' elements in our respective countries, i.e. skin colour, and result in a far right backlash remains to be seen and how our governments handle increased levels of globalisation, both positive and negative aspects. Eventually we may have a global culture with minor local variations. Tastes in music, cars, television, sports, clothes, ugly/bling/show off architecture (rather than fusing the best of the old with the best of the new) and fast foods seem to be converging the world over. Increasingly one can enjoy international type foods in one's country and low cuisine becomes increasingly marginalised (assuming it was good to start with of course!) Countries are increasingly susceptible to the swings of the global financial sector and also to outsourcing of jobs to countries with cheaper labour forces (also meaning cheaper foreign goods, e.g. from China - and increased levels of pollution and cultural desecration there). Wars are increasingly international in their scope, armies many countries becoming involved in each conflict, with insurgents or guerilla fighters being drawn from the world over too. Local conflicts are in a sense being hijacked or greatly exaccerbated by globalisation on both sides. There is less national stability and more volatility determined from outside sources. There is more legislative interference from global or multinational bodies and organisations. We are increasingly at the mercy of multinational capitalism. How well these things are managed in the future will determine how encompassed by global capitalism and market forces we become and how reactionary we become. Clearly letting the country be at the mercy of the global economy is not entirely positive, nor are all aspects of the opposing reactionary nationalism. We should not dismiss either side out of turn, as the far right have many valid points to make about globalisation, aside from the irrational and confused stances they often adopt. There are many valid arguments on both sides.
We as a society have to therefore learn to be colourblind. New economic migrants who believe they belong to a minority group may perhaps want to try to integrate into the society as much as possible, and be encouraged positively and incentivised to do so, by learning the language of where they live fluently, and learning the culture, if such a thing exists, and not being fearful, and mixing with the rest of the hetergenous population. This is only possible by the government encouraging new housing for economic migrants to be spread evenly throughout the country, not settling immigrant populations into specific areas, and through actively encouraging self-confidence and self-improvement, not only amongst economic migrants but amongst the poorer population as a whole. Some initiatives in the north of England appear to be working, where in divided communities of 'whites' and 'muslim asians', schools have days where they take children from a mainly 'white' school to meet and socialise with children of a mainly 'muslim asian' school, free from their parents restrictions and without fear of retribution or social control, so that they learn to get along at a young age as people. Ignorance and lack of familiarity breeds fear and prejudice, and ultimately creates a divided society. This is a good start, but much more needs to be done.
All citizens have to be treated equally, whether they are migrants or not, and the same opportunities and facilities provided for everyone. This may be become increasingly important in western industrialised countries as the incumbent population becomes older, and more people are drawing state pensions and using state facilities, more tax is required to pay for state spending. Perhaps more tax payers are required to pay for it, which means more immigration. Or perhaps the alternative might be massive taxation increases. Politicians will have to decide on these matters. Society may have to lose its fears created by the trend of political correctness to really tackle these issues and discuss them in an open and unemotional manner. Of course, in such a scenario, the economy would to be stimulated enough to provide for all these migrants, and the migrants have to be sufficiently skilled to add value to the economy and workforce, and to create new businesses and jobs themselves. However, this is a problem for politicians, and with anything in politics there is rarely an ideal solution for anything as all policies have positive and negative qualities, and a series of compromises has to be made with policies being sufficiently balanced to consider all areas of impact. Political systems are often inherently inefficient and the temptation for corruption and greed is always present, as it is in all areas of life. This is why I try to steer clear of politics on this web site!