Issues of diversity

Sir Reg Empey is Dublin-bound to meet with his Irish counterparts, Mary Hanafin and Michael Martin. A key issue for discussion will be migrant workers. Sir Reg expressed concerns about the community relations impact of an economic downturn and whether business was too reliant on importing rather than developing skills. He asked:

The question is whether it would create a pool of people in our own community who may be left behind?

Recently, social capital guru Robert Putnam, after a six year delay*, released his research on the impact of diversity on communities across the USA (full report here pdf file) and it showed people in ethnically diverse communities would:

“distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.”

Despite the discovery of an inconvenient truth Putnam remains optimistic about the future . The optimism is based on:

“his reading of US history and how an ethnonationalism of white Anglo Saxon Protestant America was transformed into a civic nationalism as a response to mass immigration of late 19th century.”

Although arch-Conservative Pat Buchanan points out this large-scale migration was followed by a forty year morartorium.

“that Great Wave was followed by the Great Lull”

However Putnam warns both left and right that:

“It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity, it would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

*The raw data was available in 2000 but Putnam held back final publication of the research report until he had examined and exhausted all the possible factors that could effect the data.

  • Dewi

    Fascinating paper FD. Intersting also on, despite the increasing religosity of USA, religion less a badge of ethnicity than when the author was in school. I suspect every schoolkid overthere knows the religious background of every other – if there are even in the same school.
    His specific point was that inter-religious partnerships were frowned upon in the US Mid West in the 1950’s – a phenomenon that has fairly well disappeared now. It would be intersting to track the rate of cross faith marriages in other places. I’ll see what I can find…..

  • páid

    Perhaps Sir Reg will say…..

    If people do come in, don’t let them in in large numbers all in one part of the country.

    Don’t let them force their language and cultural traditions on you.

    And whatever you do, look out for the ones with weird frizzy hair who are loyal to their home country down the generations.

    Or perhaps he won’t. 🙂

  • Diverse This

    Phew!

    Just when you thought it was safe to cross the street along another lorry load of guff slams into your purview.

    I think the reality is that US has come a long since Jim crow and many people welcome that.

    And that is becuase people fought to change things and did not

    ‘stay at home and watch television.’

    Jesz how much did that little nostrum cost?

    A lot more than a bus ride through Alabamie I can tell you!

  • Dewi

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/csc/reports/mixed.htm#one

    That from Cain in 1996 shows the extent of mixed marriages.

  • oh dear uup…

    So… “For All of Us” clearly doesn’t apply if you’re the child of a migrant worker?

    What happened to that manifesto he was elected on just a few months ago?

    The anti-gay stuff on the UUP website makes more sense now. People on their site called gay people an “abomination” and much worse – and the powers-that-be in the UUP certainly seem more than happy to have all that on their official youth-wing website.

    So why not go after the migrant children next?

    Makes a perverse sense in appealing to a certain knuckle-dragging demographic.

    Is this the UUP’s new direction?

    Shame!!

  • noel adams

    What was the logic of UUPusing 8languages on their website and then this line.

  • Diverse This & That

    OD uup

    How Dare you impune the good intentions of our leader Roge Empty!

    As for people logging on to blogs to slag off other minorities – you should check the archives here!

    And its all in the name of equality and diversity too. Trouble with Equlaity and Diverity is that people actually fight for them and that’s a bit disturbing to the the Empties and their ilk.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    So… “For All of Us” clearly doesn’t apply if you’re the child of a migrant worker?

    What happened to that manifesto he was elected on just a few months ago?

    The anti-gay stuff on the UUP website makes more sense now. People on their site called gay people an “abomination” and much worse – and the powers-that-be in the UUP certainly seem more than happy to have all that on their official youth-wing website.

    So why not go after the migrant children next?

    Makes a perverse sense in appealing to a certain knuckle-dragging demographic.

    Is this the UUP’s new direction?

    Shame!!

    The for all of us doesn’t apply either to the Irish language community as the UUP wouldn’t put a word as Gaeilge on their website, alongside other minority cultures.

    Is this ‘the simply British’ way of doing things?

  • slug

    Pity people make predictable and boring partisan/tribal comments on this issue, rather than thoughtful contributions on the issue in hand.

    It is actually quite an insteresting and relatively new policy issue that thoughtful people such as Labour’s Frank Field MP have been worrying about recently.

  • Diverse The Other

    Slug

    There is diversity and the important issues connected with it and there is BS.

    Anybody who has actually seriously fought for minority rights will tell you that they are well used to Empty iniatives like this one.

    Frank Field went very stange a long while ago. He started out as a campaginer against child poverty and then ‘got Gurued’ by neo-conservative dogma.

    But I think he was an excellent indication of how we now live in a very conservative era where the liberal culture of the 60s and 70s – such as it was gave way to neo-liberal culture of today.

    Where once Liberal or reforming governments did make some adjustments to the impact of poverty. Now it was the rights of ‘tax payer’ that are king and their percieved right not pay tax to support social programmes for the poor or those in need.

    But Empty?

    Empty is as Empty does.

  • slug

    DTO

    I am not taking Reg Empeys side in this debate, if indeed he has taken a side himself. However the question of low-wage immigration, its impact on low wages, the widening impact on wage distribution, its all worthy of more considered discussion. Field is interesting because he says things that others don’t, and he does think about things.

  • Diverse On The Converse

    Slug

    That Frank Field makes the contribution he does can make him a hero to some but he most certinaly is not alone. Many others have been making similar contributions for thirty years.

    In any case it does not make him right either.

    But since you value his type of thinking perhaps we could start by you actually saying what you think is right about it.

    Then perhaps we would have something to discuss.

  • worried uup unionist

    I think thats rubbish, Reg wasn’t worrying about Australian or Canadian children now was he?

    Just another sign of the desperate UUP now playing the Racism card – pathetic.

    Maybe instead of translating their manifesto into 8 languages, next time the UUP will just translate

    “Either Go back to Karachi/Lagos/Nairboi or we’ll attack your schoolchildren in the press”

    into eight languages instead.

    Disgraceful.

  • Converse the Diverse

    Dear Worried

    They have names for people like you in the UUP.

    Ah well the majority are also part of some minority as you are.

    Wellcome to the world baby!

  • Gareth

    In the article Reg actually does not criticise the fact that immigration is happening. He is seeking advice in Dublin on ways of managing how to deal with that immigration, managing budgets etc, from their experience. Why exactly is that wrong?

  • fair_deal

    Will commentors please remember to play the ball not the man.

  • willowfield

    Sir Reg expressed concerns about the community relations impact of an economic downturn and whether business was too reliant on importing rather than developing skills.

    I agree that we should be developing skills, but my understanding is that – while some migrant workers are taking skilled jobs – the majority are here to do unskilled work (in factories, hotels, restaurants, etc.).

    Therefore developing skills in NI will not reduce the need for migrant workers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The for all of us doesn’t apply either to the Irish language community as the UUP wouldn’t put a word as Gaeilge on their website, alongside other minority cultures.

    Is this ‘the simply British’ way of doing things?

    No, it’s an Irish way of doing things. Nobody in Ireland aside from a scattering of people on the Western seaboard, and the political zealots, use it. Look at the websites of large Irish indigenous businesses – AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ryanair, the Quinn Group, the list goes on. Do you see any Irish translations there ? On Ryanair’s site the language choice is Ireland (English).

    The Irish language is nothing but a political football.

  • dewi

    Everything is political Joseph – the UUP using piles of other languages other than Irish obviously one of them !

  • Diverse Reports

    Fair Steal

    As I said if you do *fight* for Equality so as to make society more diverse than it was/is then this latest ‘populist’ move by the UUP/Empty is risible.

    I’ve asked for a proper discussion on the politics of the issue to take place here.

    So far no takers.

  • Pounder

    Typical UUP left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Mixed messages and blatant contradictions. The UUP are truely flourishing under the leadership of Reg Emptyhead. Simply British, more like Simple and British.

  • steve48

    The issue of ensuring that young people in Northern Ireland benefit from an economic upturn is a serious issue. The trade union movement has raised the issue about the impact of the current level of employment led immigration on local job training especially in the construction and manufacturing industries. Why would employers want to be bothered with trying to recruit local staff through our convoluted employment laws who they would have to train when they can have an agency in Poland recruit workers by the hundred.
    It is an issue that has to be addressed and is in no way a racism issue but a practical attempt at trying to prepare for any future economic downturn.

  • On-going Diversity

    Learning Polish

    In ten years time we will be using their words in our everyday conversations and on blogs to make a valid points.

    Five years before that they will be leading strikes in our communities.

    Five years before that ie now people we will simply be referring to them as being ‘recurited by the hundred’ to undercut ‘local’ people.

    #.. here we go gain that funny feeling… here we go again…#

  • Dan

    “Nobody in Ireland aside from a scattering of people on the Western seaboard, and the political zealots, use it.”

    Well, you’re wrong Comrade Stalin. But no surprises there. Most Irish speakers are in the Republic (and many actually aren’t on the Western seaboard nor do most speak it for political reasons) and I’m willing to bet they don’t give a damn about the sad joke that is Northern Ireland.

    But carry on…

  • Diverse Jingo Lingo

    Hey Boy

    Or Dan if that’s yer calling yerself. A think ya better leave off using dat tone here for al tell ye boy I’ll have my troope on till ye.

    An a not jus talking about da blagers who do my slabbering for me here. Am talking bout fellahs who are from the diverse comunity whose job it is to see off feckers like you.

    But seeing as ‘m in a good mode te day, el let ye off this time if a go back de Poleglass an don’t show yer words on here again.

    an when a say ‘words’ a mean Lizzie ER English or Irish propaganda.