25 August 2014

Ethnicity

The official ethnic make-up of the population of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has changed very little since 2001. The white "host" community is still far and away the largest ethnic group in the country. We are generally people whose family roots in these islands go back a long way. The 2001 "cake" shows that 91.3% of the British people were "white". Of course not all of these belong to the original host community for we have EU nationals in our midst - Poles, Latvians and Lithuanians for example. We even have French!

Overall calculations based on the 2011 census suggest that 82% of the population are "White British". Looking back, let me illustrate this with memories of my own time in schools - both as a pupil and as a teacher. In my village primary school of about 200 pupils there was only one pupil who wasn't "White British". His name was Steven and he was of mixed race - his mother having had an affair with a black American airman some time in the summer of 1950. In my two secondary schools - one in Hull and the other in Beverley - there was not one black or Asian scholar. We were all "White British".

On to teaching in Britain. I taught in three Scottish schools during my training years and there was not a single black, Asian or mixed race child in any of those schools. At Dinnington School (1978-1980), again not a single black, Asian or mixed race child - all "White British". In my first Sheffield school - Rowlinson (1980-!985) I again cannot remember a single pupil who wasn't "White British". And in the final school where I was sentenced to twenty two years of hard labour - in the poorer northern suburbs of Sheffield - there was only ever a small handful of "non-White British". Two nice Sikh lads from a corner shop close to Parson Cross Estate, a refugee called Brighton who came from Zimbabwe, the daughters of the Chinese family who ran the nearby takeaway and half a dozen mixed race children - the products of long buried love affairs with West Indian or African men. That was about it.

I know that London is a different kettle of fish entirely. It is perhaps the world's biggest and most varied melting pot of races with people hailing from just about every other country on the planet. Of course London is also  at the core of the TV and media industry and it's where our national politicians pontificate, But London is not England and it certainly isn't Great Britain. It is very easy to get the nature of our multi-ethnic country out of proportion - to forget that this is principally still a "White British" country. But in the politically correct rush to demonstrate democratic and anti-racist values, it seems to me that the "White British", the host community, are frequently being sidelined or treated with an element of disdain - ignoring the arithmetical significance of our overwhelming majority presence.

At this point, I can sense "Disgusted" of Tunbridge Wells and others starting to bristle in their armchairs with little Acme racism detector antennae bristling and bleeping like smoke alarms. "Let's torch Pudding Towers! He's gone and joined the Ku Klux Klan!" But stay with me - I haven't reached my main point.

What I want to get at is television advertising. In recent years I have noticed that the ethnic make-up of television advertising is generally out of synch with the make-up of the population -  facts already covered above. There'll be a pizza party or a bunch of pretty models promoting skin products or a family buying a new car and there's always a significant black or Asian presence in the ad.. Increasingly, I see middle class families from AdWorld and there'll be a black daddy or a black mummy with a white spouse. It's as if the advertisers are becoming afraid to reflect our true ethnic picture - preferring to opt for a false portrait of Great Britain in which every other human being, every other household is black or Asian. That is demonstrably not the case.

Yes Britain is far less "White British" than when I was growing up. That is true. But the statistics still tell us that "White British" are overwhelmingly the largest ethnic group in our country and surely this should be simply and accurately reflected in our media, including television advertising, websites and public information products.

From the Royal Bank of Scotland website
Howard - Halifax Building Society advertising

20 comments:

  1. The latest figures I have been able to find for the U.S.A (based on the Census Bureau’s March 2012 and 2013 Current Population Surveys ) are as follows:

    The U.S. is 63% white, 12% black, 17% Hispanic, and 8% "Other" (which includes Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Aleutians, Eskimos and persons of "Two or More Races").

    The population is not distributed evenly, of course. My own Georgia is currently 56% white, 30% black, 8% Hispanic, and 6% Other, while New Mexico (for example) is 42% white, 1% black, 45% Hispanic, and 12% Other.

    The states in the U.S. most resembling what used to be called "the Mother Country" are Montana (89,NSD,3,8), New Hampshire (93,1,3,4), West Virginia (93,3,1,3), Vermont (94,1,1,4), and Maine (95,1,1,3).

    I think NSD means "no significant data" or "no separate data" -- but what do I know?

    Here's a link to the complete table.

    But, yes, the name of the game in the media and among all politically-correct folk these days is definitely DIVERSITY.

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    1. Thanks for this and thanks also for appreciating the central point I was seeking to make. Diversity - good name for a boy band methinks.

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    2. Multiracial ads make total sense in California where there are not only an assortment of races, but also a wide assortment of multiracial children. I call them the "Beige" kids. You can scarcely ever tell who their parents are, and as a group I find them beautiful. We have three in our family so far. The only people I personally have a problem with are the ones whose women cover themselves from head to toe and walk 3 steps behind some strutting, arrogant asshole. That's a cultural thing, not a racial thing, and I admit to being intolerant, even though I've observed the practice doesn't last into the next generation here.

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  2. By the way, it's Ku Klux Klan, not Ku Klux Clan....

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    1. Thank you for the correction Mr B. How do you get your conical KKK headgear in your closet - or do you keep it in the garage?

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  3. DIVERSISTY comes from the root word DIVISION as in; to divide, split asunder, separate and apart. I fail to understand why people are so hell bent on promoting it thinking that it some how will bring about unity and cohesiveness.

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    1. That was meant to read DIVERSITY.

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    2. As my post suggests, champions of diversity are ignoring the arithmetic. Thanks for dropping by M. Silvius! I wonder what the M stands for. Maurice? Mickey? Marmaduke? Max? Milton? Anyway - hello sir!

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    3. Marmaduke, I like the ring to that one ha ha .. sorry to say it is far more ordinary than that, M for Michael.
      Still dazed and confused by the whole diversity thing. I know that western culture and youth in particular, have always, struggled with a sense of identity. So they festoon themselves in labels, afro-am, asian-am, gay- bla bla bla in a vain effort to make up for their self perceived shortcomings. I am told that Facebook now has 60 some options on sexual orientation, can you imagine? Call me silly but I never new there were that many possibilities. On the census forms, on the race line, I always filled in Martian just to keep them guessing. But I ask, why must we divide and tribalize ourselves by prepositions and superficial attributes that we were always taught should not matter? As the product of German and Dutch parents and the token Heinz-57-varieties-poor-white-trash-boy in a sea of "cafe-con-leche" in my native Venezuela, I sought to assimilate and minimize the target I presented. Kids can be cruel you know. Then later as an immigrant to the US, assimilation was again a means to an end. The "united" in both UK and US seems far less so today than it ever was with all the prepositions seeking to separate and divide in the name of diversity. Just my never-to-be-humble opinion.
      I am Michael, with no prepositions

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    4. Dear Marmaduke,
      Your journey so far has been very different from mine. You have obviously had to ask these questions as a matter of some urgency because they were right in your face. Assimilation versus Diversity - it's a contest in which it is rather hard to know who you should be supporting though instinctively I veer towards the unity that assimilation ought to bring.
      Best wishes,
      Neil (YP)

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  4. I personally don't have an issue with it. I don't think it is done in the name of diversity or percentages but rather inclusive language and pictorial representation. In my small school community of some 1500 students and 200 staff, we are represented by many nations and races. It is a joy to work in and I couldn't ask to work in a more multicultural workplace.

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    1. I have no issue with multicultural life Carol. Britain has benefited greatly from the presence of other races in our midst. What I am bothered about is representation - it should in my view be guided by numbers - not by devious manipulation of the truth for political or commercial purposes.

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  5. I decided to look up the cultural diversity in my county of Durham. Whilst I was browsing the statistics for the county I came upon this:

    '152 species of birds are recorded as breeding, however not all are considered regular breeders.'

    I know it has nothing to do with the subject in hand but I'm not sure I know what it says about Co Durham.

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    1. "Not all are considered regular breeders" - I think that this applies to male citizens of County Durham as well as the birds.

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  6. Back in elementary school, this little Librarian-in-the-making was a minority at school in that she was one of the few kids wearing specs. She was almost part of a minority in terms of nationality, too, because in this class at a German school in a German town nearly half of the pupils were not German. They came from Turkey, Spain, Italy, Greece and Jugoslavia, and strangely enough, most of them were boys with only one Italian girl among them.
    Somehow, there never seemed to be a language problem; nowadays, I often read that many children "with an immigration background" (as the politically correct expression seems to be) don't speak enough German to follow lessons without much trouble. I can not remember one single incident when one of my non-German classmates wasn't able to understand what was being said, or couldn't make himself understood.
    I wonder what has changed since then, apart from me being 40 years older.

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    1. I like the idea of Little Librarian-in-the-Making. Probably a bit like Little Red Riding Hood. I can take the part of The Big Bad Wolf! The language issue also has echoes in England where non-English speaking citizens can have interpreters provided at say hospital or legal appointments. And who pays for these interpreters? Why the British taxpayer - that's who! Crazy!

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  7. The " special" corners of new immigration are the ones I find most interesting. The polish, the Roma .......etc

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  8. Well said; well written, Yorky. No smoke was coming out of my ears; only a smile spread across my face...because you were saying it as it is...and I guess my smile was because I agree with you, and probably couldn't have put it better.

    When I was going to school way back before twerking was invented, at our school there was one boy of indigenous heritage ..aka Aboriginal...if I'm permitted not to be politically-correct. There was one Aussie-Chinese family who ran a little greengrocery-come-mixed business in the main street of town (they cooked their own roasted and boiled peanuts - and they were great!); along with a couple of Greek families who owned and operated the fish & chip shops and a couple of cafes. The majority of the rest of the town's population was of Scottish-Irish heritage (I'm part of that mob), English, and Welsh and that was about it. There was one family we referred to as "White Russians"...they were from Latvia or somewhere similar. I remember well when an English family named "Sexton" arrived straight from "Old Blighty" - they moved into a block of flats behind where we lived and came to our school. They were quite the novelty, at the time. Note...I was raised in a country/regional town...not the city.

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  9. It is no surprise to me that you have Scottish-Irish heritage - like a fiery Celtic warrior! Thank you for your first paragraph Lee. Much appreciated.

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  10. Trendy middle class white executives think by putting brown faces on TV, we will forget thst the world is predominantly prejudiced to people who look different to them.

    It serves the purpose of a manner of corruption from top to bottom.

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