Rob is a fine young scholar raising hell across the pond. His post came right before I saw Hanif Kureishi's piece in the Guardian, The Carnival of Culture. With a 600 percent increase in hate crimes, Blair announcing further support for faith schools and deportation for hate-mongers, it appears that the conversation about multiculturalism is about to go beyond chai, curry and bhangra.
Recently, it's all come in for a lot of stick from the usual suspects. Slavoj Zizek has called multiculturalism "The Cultural Logic of Multinational Capitalism", while Alain Badiou has condemned any politics based on "communities". Zizek is right about at least one thing: writing pieces on multiculturalism is a ripe opportunity for punning on the titles of famous books and essays on modernity. "Multiculturalism: An Unfinished Project"? If it hasn't been published, it will be.
But enough flouncing about! A lot seems to be going on at the moment that makes a fair number of people think that "British Multiculturalism" is under threat. ID cards that will certainly not be demanded of white 50-somethings in the Home Counties; the Metropolitan Police instituting href="http://www.hindu.com/2005/08/03/stories/2005080302581400.htm">racial profiling for stop-and-search; a massive increase in racist attacks in the past few weeks; and of course the early closure of West End musical Behind the Iron Mask, starring ex-Three Degrees star Sheila Ferguson as an exiled gypsy. (OK, no more jokes.)
So, CMers, while I disappear for a few days to move house, I ask you a few questions, hoping that I can benefit from this temporary audience on a subject of long-term importance. Is British-style multiculturalism worth defending? Is there even such a thing? If there is, do we want it? And is it really under threat? I'm still working my way through these, so any help would be great.
Also see Amardeep on Kureishi.
Probably "Diversity" is a better idea than Multiculturlism.