Multicultural mud

Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time caused my heart to sink. No not because of Griffin. I saw only the 6 min highlights and I felt sorry for him. Everyone picked on him and he tried to be coherent and ended up even more befuddled. But he is right in one thing. It was a lynch mob. It started off with Dimbleby instigating the whole fight. That is bullying and bullying is exactly what the BNP is accused off. Different bullies, different victims.

Didn’t the media czars for one moment think that an underdog is always sympathized with no matter how horrible the underdog is? The audience were there mostly to boo him and on TV if someone is booed he becomes popular as evidenced by the various gameshows we’ve seen over the years. In the end the whole episode has shown that the whole area of multiculturalism needs new life and a fairly substantial reboot.

One of the most popular phrases now in self-justification is ‘I’m not a racist but….’. There are actually not that many racists now. Which I think is the fruit of various moves of multiculturalism. However racial prejudice stays on and on. We talk of integration but it is necessarily a difficult and long process. Yet honestly as a family I would rather stay in England than in India where in my personal experience the prejudices are stronger.

So if everyone takes as a starting point that we all have our prejudices we will have started at a point of truth. Another worrying point is that this is quite often a prejudice of colour. The majority of immigrants into this country are actually from Europe who are mostly white. Yet they are not the targets of this talk. It’s simply that the more alien the immigrant looks and behaves the more insecure we all are in relating to each other. From my wife’s experience the Portuguese community are fairly insular but since they look kind of similar and also behave in a similar fashion they are more accepted.

Thankfully Kiarna is fairly international looking so I’m not worried too much about her other than her passion for dosa and idli. My guess is that I should expect some sort racial comments at some point. It happened back in Northwood where I was shouted at to go back to my country. Well at the time I was. Haha. But now my nationality has changed. Oh and I was asked which tribe I was from. By a great standing member of All Souls Langham Place. So I shall accept that it will happen. Even from within the church.

My response will have to be that I am as prejudiced as those and swallow my fear and shyness and get to know them. Only Christ can open our eyes and continue to break the walls that divide us.

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3 thoughts on “Multicultural mud”

  1. Hmm…I’ve found that political institutions and human rights legislation can also break the walls that divide us.

    That may seem like a throwaway comment, but so did your “Only Christ can…” conclusion. After a really sharp sociological analysis, why did you feel compelled to end on that note? I’m sincerely curious, not just making a rhetorical point.

    1. You’re too kind my friend. I thought I was all over the place. As this reply might be.

      breaking the walls that divide us is a bit of quote from the book of Ephesians (2:14). It had to do with the one essential issue that the early Christians faced. The foreigner Question. No not about Lou Gramm but about the so called Gentiles. Huge sections of the New Testament aim to deal with this issue. The early Christians were primarily Jews with maybe a few Jew sympathisers along with them. Now the early Christians didn’t seem themselves as some new religion. They claimed (and so do we) that Jesus, his death and ressurection were the logical conclusion to all of the promises of the Old Testament. So they continued behaving like Jews but as they went about telling other Jews about this theological development more and more Gentiles were drawn into this model of being. And obviously there were the usual tensions of culture and practice and prejudice. So the leaders of the church thought through all that happened right from their history and the story of Jesus and figured that actually this was what God had meant to do all along. This whole plan of God to save the world from death and decay was always meant to be a fully inclusive plan not just the Jews. So they figured that most of Jewish ritual and practice had been and is being fulfilled by Jesus and therefore it was not a necessary condition any longer. So theologically and practically those that were foreign to each other could refer to each other as family in Christ. This happened within about 20 years of the death and resurrection.

      So you see within the gospels the fairly large amount of dealings Jesus has with the Gentiles and the many stories which allude to the foreigners joining in the party. This sense of foreignness isn’t just about race but it’s about the other. We are tribal to our core and almost define ourselves against others. So we can talk about unity but how do we achieve unity? And how do we maintain distinctness without uniformity? I think my claim to true unity with others and still allowing people their distinctive identity is only possible in Jesus. Hmmmmm. has this gone cyclical?

  2. I cannot honestly say I’ve observed racial prejudices being reduced by any political institution or even the church – atleast in India – which is unfortunate really.

    The only glimpse of what unity would really look like seems to come from the understanding of the Trinity – in the way each separate Person interacts in perfect unity. Each distinctive identity is preserved within the Trinity. I’m sure if Adam had not fallen – there might have been a similar sort of unity on earth.

    I do agree with your background of the early church since that is more similar to the context in which you seem to be talking about unity. Paul referred to himself as a preacher to the Gentiles though of course apart from dealing with cultural issues he was also responding to the intellectual issues of the time.

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