Diverse Magazine

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ASSIMILATION IS NOT A DIRTY WORD

We should distrust those who use scare tactics that warn of loss of ethnic identity. Minorities today need not fear cultural oblivion… Let’s say you’re very unhappy that a high proportion of the members of your minority group are losing their identity and assimilating into British society. Would you describe that as a Holocaust? Granted you’re deeply concerned about ensuring the continuity of your group’s culture and values. The lure of the host culture is such that you look into the future and see empty prayer houses and community centres, the collapse of family traditions, the end of practices that...

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MICROSOFT REMOVES BLACK FACE FROM ADVERT

In the first picture, he is a smiling, grandfatherly black man, with salt and pepper hair and a smart grey suit. In the second, the suit remains, but the black man has become white, and a decade younger, with slicked-back hair. Yet not all is different: he still has a black hand. “Empower your people with the IT tools they need,” reads the caption. But the use of tools to change the image – used in its original form to promote Microsoft’s business productivity software on its American website – has caused outrage. In the original picture, the black man...

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FROM SCEPTICISM TO BELIEF

When I discovered the social teaching of the Catholic church, my political urgings suddenly made sense I found my faith the way others lose theirs: by examining the presuppositions of secularism and finding them wanting. I was educated at a loving monastic school, but I don’t remember believing. The assumption at that time was that the monks were doing something quaint but anachronistic, like a tribe performing ritual dances shortly before a motorway was built across their ancestral lands. It took me years to realise that they’ll be there long after the motorway collapses. After a fractured childhood in which...

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STOP AND SEARCH DOESN’T WORK

A success rate of one in 1,000 shows stop and search doesn’t work This ‘important tool’ against terrorism treats innocent black people as suspects, writes Nicola Rollock The use of police stop-and-search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 has risen dramatically since summer 2007, with black and Asian people disproportionately targeted in the “aftermath of the failed London bombing in the Haymarket”. As you report, new Ministry of Justice figures show that from 2007-08 “the number of black people stopped under these powers rose by 322%, compared with an increase of 277% for Asian and 185% for white people”. But...

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GOVERNMENT AIMS HIGH WITH DIVERSITY TARGETS

Harriet Harman tells public sector employers to stop ‘fishing in same pool’ and increase representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people on the payroll… Targets set to obtain more diversity in public appointments are now more ambitious than those for senior public sector managers. Last week the Government Equalities Office and the Cabinet Office announced an action plan to increase the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people on more than 1,200 public bodies, arguing that their presence is necessary, not simply in the services of a fairer society, but to society in general is better served by public...

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KEEPING CITIZENSHIP JUST OUT OF REACH

Female, non-white or disabled? Then you can forget becoming a British citizen – a new bill gives you little chance… If you’re a migrant and you happen also to be either female, not white or disabled, then the government’s message in its new citizenship bill is simply; you need not apply. Due for a second reading in the House of Commons today, the borders, citizenship and immigration bill sets out just who the UK will in future regard as British citizens enjoying full rights of membership, including the right of abode, unrestricted access to the labour market/welfare state and the...

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THE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN RACE AND FAITH

The ruling that a Jewish school’s admissions criteria is unlawful raises questions about the scope of race discrimination… It’s been an interesting week for the Race Relations Act. I won’t make any friends by mentioning the admissions criteria of a Jewish school – declared unlawful by the court of appeal today – in the same breath as the BNP, but both raise fundamental questions about the acceptable scope of discrimination based on race. M, a 12-year-old boy, was refused admission to JFS – a school in North London which describes itself as having “a religious character in accordance with the...

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THREE CHEERS FOR NEW EQUALITY BILL

Three cheers for a Bill of rights for the old, gay, disabled, female and taken-for-granted… We have seen times and the law change attitudes. The new Equality Bill is the next step Some people just don’t get it, do they? They fulminate against a new and elaborate government Bill, almost as a knee-jerk reaction. They rage against proposals that, in the calm light of day, taken one by one, they would endorse. They use short-sighted criticism as a means to offload all the bile swilling around the other issues of government – fiscal and monetary, business and investment. Yes, there...

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BRITAIN’S FIRST BLACK CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF A LEADING COMPANY

The new man from the Pru – 46, an Arsenal fan, and Britain’s first black chief executive of a leading company. Appointment seen as big step forward for equality; Chief executive will be paid £875,000 plus bonus It took more than 200 years for the US to elect a black president. It took Britain a bit longer to install its first black chief executive of a leading company. Tidjane Thiam is a former government minister who survived a military coup, a one-time management consultant and a serious Arsenal fan. Yesterday it was announced he will take over as chief executive...

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HEADSCARVES: THE WRONG BATTLE

Excluding Muslim women who wear headscarves from the public sphere does nothing for gender equality or peaceful integration Throughout Europe, over the past decade, there has been a loud – and at times openly xenophobic – debate about whether a Muslim woman should be allowed to wear a headscarf while on duty in a government job. Various types of bans have been enacted in several countries, including France, Germany, and Turkey. Some feminists seek these bans in the name of helping Muslim women, whom they often see as uniformly oppressed. Anti-immigration politicians seek these policies because they see people who...