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