British society is increasingly dividing along ethnic lines – with segregation in schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces – that risks fuelling prejudice, according to one of the country’s leading experts on race and integration.
Prof Ted Cantle, who carried out a report into community cohesion in the wake of a series of race riots in 2001, warned that growing divisions had led to mistrust within communities across the country.
Speaking to the Guardian 15 years after he called for action to reduce polarisation following violent riots across northern England, in Oldham, Bradford, Leeds and Burnley, Cantle said he was alarmed by the direction the country had headed since then.
“There is more mixing in some parts of our society. But there is also undoubtedly more segregation in residential areas, more segregation in schools and more segregation in workplaces,” he said. “That is driving more prejudice, intolerance, mistrust in communities.”
Cantle cited as evidence an almost four-fold increase in the number of electoral wards with a non-white majority, from 119 in 2001 to 429 today, saying that suggested communities were more concentrated by race, rather than increasingly mixed. He also pointed out that in the 10 years after the riots, London’s white-British population was reduced by 600,000, while its minority population rose by 1.2m, saying that segregation was particularly marked in towns and cities.
... The academic argued that part of the solution had to be driving a more positive conversation about race in Britain, which accepted that society had changed and tried to focus on the potential benefits of immigration. “We live in a globalised world – we can’t disinvent easyJet, we can’t undo the internet, we can’t turn the clock back on companies being global and we can’t undiversify Britain,” he said.Source