Ex-Free Speech Union Director Inaya Folarin Iman has written a great piece for the Sunday Telegraph pointing out that the Jubilee celebrations give the lie to the claim that Britain is a deeply racist society in which non-white citizens are condemned to second class status. Here’s how it begins:
It has become fashionable, particularly amongst the cultural elite, to describe today’s Britain as a racist society. Indeed, only this week, comedian Stephen Fry claimed Britain was deluding itself about being a tolerant nation and that we shouldn’t think we’re better than America when it comes to racial prejudice.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Few things better exemplify this than the exuberant, multicultural melting pot embodied by the Jubilee celebrations. Far from being riddled with racism, the Platinum Jubilee has demonstrated that Britain is a country where race is no longer a central feature of British national identity, and civic pride and participation are what truly count.
It is not true that Britain is an exclusive project, in which some racial groups are inherently squeezed out. Glance briefly through the gathering crowds at the celebrations and you will find British people from all colours, cultures, and creeds, sharing in these joyous events, often adding their own cultural embellishments to it, too.
And not just British people, people flock from all over the world to partake in the unique and rich traditions that Britain offers. This is what fosters a sense of belonging and home, that which reminds us of the importance of our British citizenship, a status that transcends racial, cultural and gender divides.
The elite says that, despite the progress we’ve been on, racism is embedded into society. This claim fosters a sense of alienation and resentment and prevents us from being able to appreciate how good we genuinely have it and how much we support one another through the challenging times.
But it is difficult to cultivate this sense of gratitude and perspective with the level of historical denigration that has become all too familiar nowadays. Increasingly, a one-sided view of the past is promoted, one that sees British history as fundamentally racist, colonial, and sexist, and that the only adequate response to this is to untether us from the past by creating a Year Zero.
But this can never truly be done, as our past is who we are, and so, attempts to do so only end up depriving us of our cultural inheritance and disorienting us in the world.
Worth reading in full.