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Racial tensions and problems Essay

Racial tensions and problems are common for multiracial countries. They are unavoidable as wherever there is a mixture of cultures, there always is prejudice. As far as the history is concerned, blacks were the ones to whom the hatred was directed the most. Laissez-faire- the initial policy of the British government towards migration proved to work for country’s disadvantage, which only became clear in the years that followed. Negroes, Indians, Asians or any other ethnic minority whose skin color is darker than that of WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) are referred to as black.

For these people the term “equality of opportunity” is far from the truth and their struggle for “freedom” seems to be endless. They experience many humiliations on everyday basis and often are objects of bullying. They find it difficult to assimilate owing to many reasons and the society is not helping them at all. However, in accordance with some claims, there exist certain opportunities that these people may take an advantage of.

The children of black families are said to be the ones that can make the most of the two cultures- the native and the target one. Owing to their susceptibility, it is easier for them to assimilate than for their parents who have a strong feeling of identity and are often nostalgic about their origin. Mixed schools are places where black children learn about the target culture and socialize with their friends of different origins. It is an opportunity for them to enrich their cultural values and at the same time preserve their own.

Due to the disrespectful attitude they meet with everyday, these children become much more motivated to do well at school than their peers. It is education that is inculcated into their mind since it is essential to lead a decent and respectful life in future. On the other hand, schools are often places of terror for black students. In fact, they are bullied and intimidated on every occasion. There are many racist groups including skinheads, whose ideologies are close to that of Nazis.

“The skinheads beat the Bengalis with baseball bats and bottles and drove at them in a van. One Asian was beaten unconscious as the mob returned for a second assault just minutes after the first one. When police searched their van they found a swastika flag, white supremascist literature as well as machete, axe, knives and a CS cannister.” (‘Asian Weekly’ 12 July 1993)

Blacks are considered as enemies or plague of the country and these subgroups refer to themselves as the cure. Their severe attacks most often have fatal effects or even result in suicides. The victims are innocent adolescents whose only crime seems to be their complexion.

Strange as it may seem, elocution and clothing can contribute a lot to an improvement of ones image and status. There are numerous blacks who became successful on television or in politics and many other walks of life. These people surely do not consider themselves different from their parents or ancestors; neither do they consider themselves better. It is hard work that has got them so far and they have every right to be proud of themselves.

This may be regarded as the very last step of acculturation where a person is fully assimilated and integrated into the target culture. At this stage one may say that the opportunities for blacks become almost equal with those of WASP. People seeing a black man on television reading news no longer see a black speaker but a speaker who happens to be black and that is a grave difference. It can be safely said that speech manner and impeccable appearance combined with good education opens a window of opportunities for blacks, however, not many of them are willing to accept this chance.

“The fact that many black teenagers dress in the style of extremist groups, such as the rap group Public Enemy, conjures up images of hostility and aggression in some people’s minds. Rightly or wrongly, they will be equated with the attitudes that such groups represent.” (‘The Sunday Times’ 30 August 1992)

Making an effort to assimilate is crucial. Most of young blacks do exactly the opposite. Their appearance and offensive language stray too far from the established norms that exist in a given society. By doing that they exhibit a very negative attitude toward life, which is portrayed not as a desire to assimilate but the converse.

Because of the facts presented above only a small percentage of blacks gains respect and a good position in life. This gave rise to something which was termed an “affirmative action”. All it meant was that employers, to some extent, were forced to give job to people from ethnic minorities. In every institution there must have been a certain percentage of these people employed in order to create a general feeling of equality. Positive as it may seem, this also created problems. It was a “backstab” for people of the target culture because their jobs were threatened. General attitude was that blacks are given the jobs of whites who are often better

skilled to do them. Considering an assembly-line job it did not matter much but a police force was more serious issue. Blacks were teamed with whites to patrol the streets not because their abilities or test scores were high but because they were black and that was an outrage. The society was very negative toward the idea of affirmative action and remained so until today.

All in all, I would venture to say that the parents are the ones to be blamed for the problems that their children have with assimilation. It is often their attitude and the feeling of nostalgia that does not allow the youngsters to adopt the target culture. The children are left confused and undergo an identity crisis trying to reconcile themselves to a particular culture. This is where all the problems result from and they seem to outweigh the opportunities that I presented above. Yet, the hope for better future is still at hand. Next generations of blacks will certainly analyze the faults their parents and grandparents had made and allow more freedom of choice for their children.


‘Skinhead mob jailed for attack on Asians’ in “Asian Weekly” (12th July 1993)

‘Young, gifted and not-too-black’ in “The Sunday Times” (30th August 1992)


Fiedler, E., Jansen, R. and M. Norman-Risch., 1995. America in close-up. Harlow, Longman.

O’Driscoll, J., 1995. Britain. Oxford, OUP.

‘Growing up BLACK in Britain’ in “She” (January 1991)

‘My parents are racist’ in “Just Seventeen” (1st June 1994)

‘Skinhead mob jailed for attack on Asians’ in “Asian Weekly” (12th July 1993)

‘When Asian youths hit back’ in “The Guardian” (16th september 1993)

‘Young, gifted and not-too-black’ in “The Sunday Times” (30th August 1992)

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