Failure of Multiculturism in the UK

Topics: Ethnic group, United Kingdom, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (1961 words) Published: November 5, 2014

Assess the claim that multiculturalism in the UK has failed. Multiculturalism has been intrinsic to UK society for centuries. On a timeline which reaches back as far as historic invasions by the Romans, Norse and French, to the pre-modern inflow of colonials and stretching to the present day, British society has been influenced and populated by many different cultures. However, UK opinions have become divided in recent years between those who advocate multiculturalism as a successful and enriching British policy and those who assert that the policy has failed, causing a plethora of social ills in Britain and fostering inequality and social fragmentation (Howarth & Andreouli 2002). Cases like the multicultural cities of Leicester and the progressive multiculturalism policies seen in some other UK cities highlight the positive argument. Those who argue in favour of multicultural failure refer to the race riots which gripped parts of England in 2001, the inferior quality of life expected and experienced by minority and ethnic groups in the UK, as well as the rise of the extreme right wing in some areas of Britain during recent years.

Kymlicka outlines four basic values which serve to foster a successfully multicultural society. They are; appropriate and equal provision of human resources, adequate and appeasing border control policies, the presence of diverse ethnic groups, and shared economic contributions among those groups which inhabit a space (Kymlicka 2012). These five criteria form a good basis upon which to form an argument around the success or failure of multiculturalism in the UK because their presence in a space, or a lack thereof, indicates whether multiculturalism is working. Khan (2011) and Murray (2012) provide convincing arguments to indicate that the UK fails on a tremendous scale in fulfilling one criterion in particular – equal provision of human resources (Kymlicka 2012). Murray details inequalities in UK employment; in June 2012 “7.3...

Bibliography: Benhabib, S (2002) The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Social & Cultural Geography, 10:4, 481-498
Clayton, J (2012) Living the multicultural city: acceptance, belonging and young identities in the city of Leicester, England, Ethnic and Racial Studies Journal, 35:912
Khan, O (8 April 2011), ‘The racial wealth gap: not just an American problem’, 
Kymlicka, W (2012), “Multiculturalism: Success, Failure and the Future”, Migration Policy Institute, Washington D.C.
Murray, K (2012) London: race equality in employment, Trust for London, London
Singer, A (2010), Why Multiculturalism Still Matters, Race, Gender & Class, Vol 17:2, pg 10-22
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