Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wouldn't Integration Be Loverly?

One more reason we should've been born a hundred years earlier: in 1911 the lower classes of London consisted mainly, I assume, of lovable Cockney flower-sellers with amusingly deadbeat fathers. Nowadays London's poor are too busy burning down and looting the city to take part in linguistic bets wagered by gentlemen of means.

To what should we attribute these riots? The problem, as it looks from this armchair several thousand miles away, is a generation of young people who have grown up without any attachment to their own communities. Admittedly, this is a problem throughout Europe, where children of immigrants have found neither acceptance nor employment in their adopted societies. (Xenophobes will point out that many immigrants have shown no desire to integrate, which is probably fair — to an extent. But the level of frustration shewn in the U.K. and elsewhere suggests that at least some have tried and been rebuffed.) We are beginning to see the effects of decades of inept immigration policy: immigrants are allowed into countries where there are neither jobs nor opportunities for advancement (i.e., education and integration programs — consider Germany's failed Multikulti policies) for them. Deprived of the means to help themselves, utterly dependent on the welfare state, is it any wonder that so many children of immigrants have grown to hate the societies of Europe in which they find themselves?

The real sticky wicket, now, is what to do with such a systemic problem. Political and economic enfranchisement is never immediately achieved; it must be the result of education, of viable employment, of real communities. Once these are gone — as is the case, in the urban ghettoes of both the U.K. and this country — well, nobody is quite sure how to get them back. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to go against the grain here, but let us recall an earlier post in which I more or less summarized a pretty great study establishing the link between racial-cultural identification and the tendency for law-abidingness. Thus, the present circumstances ought not surprise us. By and large, minorities perpetrated the rioting and looting, though an important distinction is required. Turkish, Persian, and Arabian minorities were not among those predominantly active in the rioting; indeed, many stories told of brave young men in these communities banding together to defend their property from the lawless vagrants. No, the rioting and looting was perpetrated by and large by members of African-English (is there some shorthand for this?) minority groups. Much as the study I cited would've predicted, in the absence of obvious legal or financial sanction against law abidingness, Blacks were the group most likely to participate in the law breakery.

    Ross, I think you're right to note that part of the problem will involve the rehabilitation of communities, education, and all that. But, "How does one reform a culture?" seems to me a rather different, and more difficult to answer, question. But coming up with an answer seems a prior necessity to answering the question of what to do about urban ghettos and the rest. After all, one can imagine which groups will be called upon to finance the rehabilitation. I'm for the slow, powerful process of gentrification, myself. "We try to bring them civilization, and this is how they repay us."

    *Swallows oyster.