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VARIOUS TEXTS: Genteel Xenophobia is as Bad as Any Other Kind by Trevor Phillips (Abi LK)

Text I:
Some liberals have given up on the idea of a multi-ethnic Britain.

Nice people do racism too. Liberal commitment to a multi-ethnic Britain is wilting. Some very nice folk have apparently decided that the nation's real problem is too many immigrants of too many kinds. Faced with a daily onslaught against migrants it may be understandable to give in to populist bigotry; but it is not forgivable.

Take this, for example: "National citizenship is inherently exclusionary." So no foreigners need ever apply for naturalisation, then. And " ... public anxiety about migration ... is usually based on a rational understanding of the value of British citizenship and its incompatibility with over-porous borders". Straight from the lexicon of the far right. And best of all: "You can have a [generous] welfare state provided that you are a homogenous society with intensely shared values."

Is this the wit and wisdom of Enoch Powell? Jottings from the BNP leader's weblog? Actually they are extracts from an article in the Observer, penned by the liberal intellectual David Goodhart, who I have always suspected is too brainy for his own good. He is just one of several liberal thinkers now vigorously making what they consider a progressive argument against immigration. It goes like this: the more diverse a society, the less likely its citizens are to share common values; the fewer common values, the weaker the support for vital institutions of social solidarity, such as the welfare state and the National Health Service.

There are perfectly good reasons to worry about how we respond to immigration, not least the downward pressure on workers' wages; the growth of racial inequality; and the exploitation of illegals exposed by the Morecambe Bay tragedy. But as Polly Toynbee elegantly pointed out in these pages last week, the answer to these problems is not genteel xenophobia, but trade union rights, backed by equality and employment law.

The xenophobes should come clean. Their argument is not about immigration at all. They are liberal Powellites; what really bothers them is race and culture. If today's immigrants were white people from the old Commonwealth, Goodhart and his friends would say that they pose no threat because they share Anglo-Saxon values. They may not even object to Anglophile Indians - as long as they aren't Muslims.

Unfortunately for liberal Powellites, the real history of the NHS shatters their fundamental case against diversity. The NHS is a world-beating example of the way that ethnic diversity can create social solidarity. Launched by a Welshman, built by Irish labourers, founded on the skills of Caribbean nurses and Indian doctors, it is now being rescued by an emergency injection of Filipino nurses, refugee ancillaries and antipodean medics. And it remains 100% British. […]

Perhaps we should also be creating an even more progressive immigration policy, for example offering easier admission to those who will bring their skills to the depopulated regions of the north of England and Scotland. The Americans will next year offer more work permits to IT whizzkids from India than ever before; and before the middle of the century, the world's strongest economy will become its most ethnically diverse. Our own population is still over 92% white; we shouldn't be duped by anxious faint-hearts into becoming an all-white backwater.

(561 words)
Source: The Guardian, London, 16 February 2004 (online edition), pp. 7-13


Annotations:
genteel - relating to a refined social class
to wilt - to become weaker
onslaught - verbal or physical violent attack
bigotry - the condition of having such strong opinions about a group of people (usually negative ones) that you are unwilling to listen to anyone else's opinions

over-porous - here: too easy to pass through
Enoch Powell - politician of the far right, who in 1968 warned Britain that there would be "rivers of blood" if it continued to allow virtually unrestricted immigration

jottings - quickly written brief notes
BNP - British National Party, a party of the extreme right
penned - here: written
Morecambe Bay tragedy - In 2004, at least 20 Chinese illegal immigrants were killed by a huge wave in Morecambe Bay in Northern England while collecting mussles.
Polly Toynbee - journalist at The Guardian
NHS - National Health Service
ancillaries - workers who provide additional help and services for the people who do the main work in hospitals, schools etc.
antipodean - of / from Australia and New Zealand
medics - (inf.) medical doctors
IT whizzkids - (sl.) young people who are very skilled at using the electronic media
duped - tricked, deceived


Text II: Im Käfig – US-Studie: Ethnische Vielfalt bewirkt Vertrauensverlust
Von Petra Steinberger

Der Mensch ist eine Schildkröte. Er wünscht sich einen Panzer, unter den er sich zurückziehen kann, wenn es ethnisch allzu bunt wird in der Nachbarschaft. Denn der Mensch mag es nicht, wenn er Sprachen nicht versteht, fremde Riten erlebt, anderen Religionen ausgesetzt wird oder seltsame Sitten praktiziert sieht. Eine gewisse Menge an Fremdheit kann er gerade noch ertragen. Zuviel davon und er verliert das Vertrauen – in seinen Nachbarn genauso wie in den Bürgermeister, den Gemüsehändler, in den Staat und in die Zeitung, die er liest.

Dies ist das Fazit einer alarmierenden Studie, die der in Harvard lehrende Politikwissenschaftler Robert Putnam jetzt vorgelegt hat. "Wir verhalten uns wie Schildkröten", erläutert er, "angesichts von menschlicher Unterschiedlichkeit verstecken wir uns." Nachbarn und Mitbürger in Kommunen vertrauen einander desto weniger, je verschiedenartiger ihnen die Bewohner ihrer Umgebung erscheinen, je ethnisch gemischter diese ist. Zu diesem deprimierenden Ergebnis ist Putnam durch neue umfangreiche Erhebungen in amerikanischen Gemeinden gelangt – die Effekte seien schlimmer, als er es sich vorgestellt habe: "Nicht nur, dass wir den Menschen nicht trauen, die anders sind als wir. Vielmehr trauen wir in gemischten Gemeinschaften auch den Menschen nicht, die aussehen wie wir." Und das, glaubt Putnam, gilt weltweit, mit geringfügigen Unterschieden.

Zunächst, heißt es in der Financial Times, habe er die Veröffentlichung seiner Studie zurückgehalten, damit er "Vorschläge entwickeln kann, wie die negativen Folgen ethnischer Diversität kompensiert werden könnten". Denn seine Studie zeigt nicht nur für den Mythos des amerikanischen "melting pot", in dem die diversen Einwanderergruppen zusammenschmelzen sollen, katastrophale Erkenntnisse, sondern für alle, die die Zukunft der multikulturellen Gesellschaft postulieren. Putnams Studie scheint die Kassandrarufe zu bestätigen, dass ein hohes Maß an Immigration den elementaren gesellschaftlichen Kitt zersetze. Für Amerika hatte zuletzt Samuel Huntington diese Befürchtung formuliert. In seinem Buch "Who are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity" warnt er davor, dass durch die hohe Rate der lateinamerikanischen Einwanderung Amerikas Identität gespalten werde. Doch Putnams Forschungsergebnisse müssen ihn selbst besonders schmerzen, da sie den Werten zuwiderlaufen, die er als liberaler amerikanischer Intellektueller hochhält. Es gehe nicht nur darum, den Zerfall der zivilen Gesellschaft zu untersuchen, sondern stets auch darum, die Gemeinschaftsbindungen zu verbessern.

(349 Wörter)

Annotations:
Schildkröte - turtle
Panzer - shell, armour
Politikwissenschaftler - political scientist
Kassandrarufe - the prophecies of Cassandra, a figure from ancient Greek mythology
gesellschaftlicher Kitt - social cohesion

Quelle: Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, München, 10. Oktober 2006 (Online-Ausgabe)

Assignments:
Work on a total of four tasks.
Tasks 1, 2 and 3 are compulsory. Choose one task from 4.

1 Summarize the Guardian article (Text I) in no more than 150 words. (25%)

2 Analyze the attitude of the author of the Guardian article (Text I) towards xenophobia and show how the language employed reflects it. (25%)

3 Mediation
A friend of yours, an English journalist, is to write a comment on Trevor Phillips' article, in which he / she also wants to mention similar problems in other countries. After reading the article "Im Käfig – US-Studie: Ethnische Vielfalt bewirkt Vertrauensverlust", you decide to inform him / her about its content. Outline the main points of the article in Die Süddeutsche Zeitung for him / her (Text II). (20%)

4 A Point out the arguments for immigration which Trevor Phillips advances and comment on them on the basis of relevant material you are familiar with, also considering contrasting views. (30%)

OR
4 B Discuss to what extent the negative attitudes towards immigration presented in the Guardian article (Text I) are connected with globalization. You may either refer to Great Britain, to similar situations in other English-speaking countries or to Germany. (30%)

OR
4 C A member of an ethnic minority in Britain has read Trevor Phillips' article and comments on his arguments in a letter to the editor of the Guardian. Write this letter. (30%)

Address it to:
Readers' editor
The Guardian
119 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3ER, UK.

You are expected to write at least 700 words in no more than 300 minutes.

Source: Berlin: Senatsverwaltung f. Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung



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