Brexit has highlighted that Britain is a divided nation. Having voted Remain, I was shocked and saddened by a minority of powerful metro-elite pro-EU supporters who have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the result. It was their vitriol against working-class voters that has led me to rethink many of my previously held assumptions.
Trevor Phillips once said to me – only half joking – that newspapers should have identity correspondents, just as they have economics or environment correspondents. Certainly there appears to be an inexhaustible appetite on the part of media outlets for stories that focus on social divisions, real or imagined. Usually these are framed as moral parables featuring virtuous victims, usually female, ethnic minority or gay, and contemptible wrong-doers who are male, white or straight. Sometimes the perpetrator is institutional – often, as with the Windrush generation controversy, the British state itself.
Shelby Steele argues that the combination of a black power ideology and white guilt (or more accurately white fear of the stigma of racism) has thwarted the promise of the civil rights era to create a post-racial world.
It has long been a curatorial fantasy of mine to organise a re-staging of a boxing match that took place in 1972 between the German artist Joseph Beuys, regarded as a giant of modern art, with a local art student of his.
Is The Guardian immoral or amoral? Guardian writers and the editorial team know exactly what they are doing. They are the truly wicked.
Race, region, gender identity and sexuality are what matter in this culture war waged by the social justice warriors.
Our values today are being driven not by morality, rationality or philosophy but by the harsh, crude and bitter outpourings of petulant and snarling individuals.
Two years ago, I took a visiting German colleague to a Diwali dinner at an Indian friend’s house in the UK. The guests were a mixed bunch, mostly Southeast Asian but several English and mixed-race couples. The serving staff were English.
This month, scientists unveiled a reconstruction of the face of Cheddar Man, who died around 9,000 years ago, and whose skeleton was found in a cave in Somerset in 1903. DNA analysis has now revealed that ‘the earliest known Briton’ – part of a population from which modern white Britons are thought to descend – probably had dark to black skin and blue eyes.
In 2013 amendments initiated in the House of Lords decided that specific legal protection against caste discrimination should be introduced in the UK, by making caste an aspect of race in the Equality Act 2010. The underlying assumptions were that caste discrimination is rife against the 500,000 Dalits in UK (a figure that cannot be confirmed, since no caste based data are currently collected), and that current legislation neither protected them nor acknowledged their unfair treatment in UK. The Government set out a public consultation and the responses are being analysed now.