Immigrant and Ethnic Minority Experience in the UK
One of the major challenges that a nation has to cope with is to handle immigration and multiculturalism. This attitude should undoubtedly be regarded as a crucial indicator for a society’s stability. Great Britain has a relatively short history of multiethnic cohabitation. Since the first foreigner’s settlement on British soil there have been swayings in the attitude towards immigrants.
Generally, two tenors have to be mentioned at this point: Either one reduced the stream of people or one tried to guarantee protection from racism (Matley, “Multiculturalism in the UK”). The Commonwealth Immigrants Act and Commonwealth Immigration Act in the 1960s, which held off people that were not of British descent, Enoch Powell’s notorious diatribe and the conservative policy from the eighties until 1997 can be considered as the cornerstones of ‘Closing the Door’ thinking. ‘Citizenship’ is the term used for gradual containment of discrimination and incorporation of immigrants in society.
On the other hand, the ‘outside-in’ perspective should also be investigated. Ethnically different people coming into Britain realised that their hopes did not comply with reality, such as the black Caribbeans fifty years ago. They did find work, but discrimination went along with them in every area of life, sometimes ending in bloody riots. Indians, Pakistani and Bangladeshi arrived a few years later and experienced mainly the same. It is rooted in the native’s fear of losing jobs to strangers. As a result, most immigrants held on to their origins and did not establish a strong British identity. Nonetheless, the contemporary self-confident behaviour of successing generations indicate that the tide is indeed turning.
In conclusion, the era of immigration and the resulting multiculturalism gradually led to a new mindset in British society, although certain issues, such as the representation of minorities within mainstream culture,...