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17 April 2011 @ 12:16 am
Immigration Is Neither Good Nor Bad - Zrinka Bralo  
Immigration Is Neither Good Nor Bad
@ the guardian

David Cameron's speech on Thursday was a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the debate on immigration. He starts off by identifying "concerns on the doorstep", "myths have crept in", pays a bit of lip service to "benefits of immigration" and then launches into "controls", "cuts" and "abuses". He, of course, leans into lazy Brits on welfare who do not want to do dirty jobs and his speech is full of anecdotes about immigrants abusing the system.

These are all very familiar arguments about the phenomenon of migration. But one thing that most politicians miss is that migration is neither good nor bad. It just is. Adding value judgments becomes problematic because when we talk about immigration, we are in fact talking about immigrants. When the prime minister, or others in power, talk about immigration as bad, abusive, criminal and threatening, they pass judgment on every person that migrated to this country. They are undercutting the work of every migrant that has made this country great. Is it a surprise that people are so afraid of the other?

So if you have a foreign-sounding name (like me), look and sound a bit different (like me), the message is: you will never belong here no matter how hard you try to integrate, because you should not have been here in the first place. While you were cheating your way into our country, our universities, our marriages and taking away our benefits, you were also too hard working, and willing to do our dirty jobs, and making our poor British-born welfare claimants lazy.

The truth is, like everything that has to do with human beings, migration is complicated. Migration is an experience, and most people once they reach their destination just want to get on with their lives, work, study and raise their families.

This government has fallen into the same trap as the previous one – it is making policies based on negative perceptions and fears rather than addressing immigration as a neutral social phenomenon that can be as beneficial or as damaging as we make it. Sadly our government has a fantasy that if it can prevent people from coming and staying here, it will solve all our social problems.

Constantly talking about immigrants as the problem detracts from the real reasons behind the shortage of social housing, unemployment and cuts in public services. As long as we think that immigrants can somehow be stopped before they reach our shores, we will be stuck in this circular debate of numbers, controls and blame.

The citizens of Britain, including migrants, are caught in a crossfire of mixed messages that does not increase understanding about the issues most important to them. Migrants are left to deal with the backlash that has serious consequences for our treatment and rights and we are left with no voice, regardless of how well we speak English.

A true debate will be possible when we all accept that immigration is an inescapable global phenomenon. For this to happen, we need visionary leadership to distil and address other serious issues that fuel emotions behind the smokescreen of the tough immigration debate.



Any thoughts?
Rants about David Cameron being a dick are also more than welcome, lol.

PS. Don't read the comments at the source ;~;

More info about this here and a great ripping apart of Cameron here, and in case you want to see what Cameron said for yourself here's a video of the speech.
 
 
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(Deleted comment)
dirty gyppo: quasi ; flowersgraspthethorn on April 17th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
Yeh, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article from this angle too :3

(no surprises it's written by an immigrant tho, right?)
M.I.A.caketime on April 17th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
You will never belong here no matter how hard you try to integrate, because you should not have been here in the first place.

This rings very true to me, and that's why I see red when perfectly white people complain about how others aren't trying to integrate themselves enough.
But in reality, these people will not accept anyone who is not Caucasian and eats, thinks, and talks exactly like them. Nothing is good enough, the immigrant will always be known as being originally from XY.

From this article you linked: Last year the Home Office rushed forward a piece of legislation that denies entry to spouses from outside the EU who don't speak English.

RAAAAaaaaaage. Now, personally, I would have a lot of problems learning a language that wasn't spoken around me (that's because I'm shite at languages despite being passably trilingual). I don't think this is a hard concept to grasp: IT IS HARD TO LEARN A LANGUAGE. Particularly if you don't have internet (radio and tv streaming is an amazing help). Especially English speaking people don't know/care? about this, because they automatically have learned the "universal" language.

As a person growing up in a French-speaking area it was always mind-boggling to me how people who spoke English would be flustered by the fact that not many local people spoke English. It's like ... yeah, you moved to Geneva and we've got a thriving English culture here with 1 out of 3 people owning a foreign passport, but THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS FRENCH. Stop whining about your lack of privilege and accept the fact that you haven't even learnt enough French to buy a loaf of bread. >_____>

Once the table is turned on them, it's completely different, too! Brits or U.S. citizens have their own thriving, privileged communities of expats here, but it's not the same as when Africans do it because they are not that rich look different and might be Muslim.

And I don't know why I read the comments, but I did and
Do all of the 500,000 British people living in France speak French?

No but crap argument because as someone excellently posted elsewhere the 500,000 british folk don't go to the town hall and demand documents are translated into english


France's government site is in English, German, Arabic and Chinese, so that argument is so, so wrong on so many levels. ~oh, we wouldn't do that, only pesky foreigners complain because they're so aggravated all the time, idk why they don't just chill~


I've lost a lot of hope ever since even Merkel said that multiculturalism has failed. Failed in doing what, exactly? Turning people into perfect Germans? Ugh.
M.I.A.caketime on April 17th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
The Guardian will always be a fave of mine just because of this great article of Cameron though. So prophetic.
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dirty gyppo: sara ; ughgraspthethorn on April 17th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
i hate the no accent thing so much.

i especially hate when you ask people "what is your accent?" or whatever, and so so many white people will reply "i don't have an accent" because they don't realise they DO have an accent, it's just that they've surrounded themselves with other people with that accent so they forget it exists and ahlfhgufldhusfdk HATE >:C
dirty gyppo: esmeralda ; redgraspthethorn on April 17th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
This is a beautiful comment. i am going to frame it and draw hearts all over it and everything <333

Now, personally, I would have a lot of problems learning a language that wasn't spoken around me (that's because I'm shite at languages despite being passably trilingual).
o hey, i'm trilingual too. LET'S HAVE A PARTY AND TALK BADLY AT EACH OTHER IN ENGLISH :3

and ugh, omg, don't remind of that angela merkel thing. i mean, i get that she was saying "it's failed bc white people are kinda sucky at not being racist so until they change it's never going to work", but her phrasing itself was just like "woah, merkel, you did not just say that".

Nothing is good enough, the immigrant will always be known as being originally from XY
Yeh, sadly. I mean I've lived in Britain since I was six. That's eighteen years of intergration, eighteen years of assimilation and of trying to learn English and drop my accent. I still get told to "go home" all the time.

But in reality, these people will not accept anyone who is not Caucasian and eats, thinks, and talks exactly like them.
Yep. It's why I get so pissed off about appropriation. Yes, it's ~just~ a skirt or a piece of jewellery or some slang words to them, but if we were to go around wearing it or speaking it we'd get the shit kicked out of us. GAH.