In Pictures: Race Riots in Burnley, UK.
June 25, 2001 2:08 PM   Subscribe

In Pictures: Race Riots in Burnley, UK. After three days of violent race riots in Oldham last month, the troubles have now moved to Burnley. What, with asian vigilantes running around, and the British National Party receiving a record number of votes.. is racial tension on the up in the UK?
posted by wackybrit (8 comments total)
"is racial tension on the up in the UK?"

up, out, and using petrol bombs.
posted by clavdivs at 2:37 PM on June 25, 2001

I remember a friend of my roommate got beat up for no reason by a white gang. He was a foreign student there and he only stopped by the local store when these white hoodlums came along and decided they didn't didn't like him.
posted by adnan at 3:06 PM on June 25, 2001

Everywhere you go in the world, there are assholes.

Sometimes those assholes are violent and unburdened by conscience, fear of the law, or the norms of society. Some places have a higher percentage of those types of people. They are a nuisance and a danger to a "civilized" society.

They are not necessarily black, white, red, yelow, green, or purple. They are any color and every color. But mainly they're just assholes. Why can't people leave race out of it altogether?
posted by fooljay at 3:51 PM on June 25, 2001

Fooljay, leaving race out of the discussion of a race riot would be pretty stupid, wouldn't it? Clearly race is a motivating factor.
posted by Doug at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2001

Faisal Bodi's op-ed in today's Guardian captures the demographics of the situation in the north-west, which actually reflect those of my home town pretty accurately. (It's both a surprise and a relief that nothing approaching the violence in Oldham or Burnley has spread across the Pennines.)

Because the majority Asian districts in these industrial towns are, essentially, the old workers' terraces which were abandoned by white families in the drift to the slightly more leafy suburbs, they're generally the areas that require the greatest spending to improve living conditions. When those areas receive redevelopment grants, it's too often regarded as "special treatment" by many (mainly white) people in outlying estates, many of which have their own serious problems with drug abuse and youth crime. And so that notion of "special treatment" becomes the stuff of mythology: that those in the Asian community get to the front of the queue for council housing and funding (untrue: they're offered the houses that others now think "beneath them"), or that they "have their own banks" to underwrite business at preferable rates, while the white working-classes are forced to use loan sharks. In short, it's classic mutual alienation, reinforced by racial, religious and language barriers, but most of all by a poverty that is shared, though neither side would attribute it to the other.

This is the reality of modern multicultural Britain: a whole generation growing up deprived of any contact with people unlike themselves, their horizons bounded by the invisible but very real walls of the ghetto.

The utter irony being that the resentment stoked up by the BNP is usually combined with an appeal to nostalgia for the days when the white working-classes in the downtown terraces helped each other out in precisely the same way. And further, that the pillars of that white working-class community -- very often the Catholic churches and schools -- still provide a hand-up out of those estates and an alternative to their "sink schools", but reinforce the sense of segregation and ignorance when it comes to dealing with the community as a whole. Which is why it's such a tough problem to address.
posted by holgate at 4:37 PM on June 25, 2001

I guess I should have been more clear. I wasn't talking about the disucssion here. I'm talking about the media, or the rioters/police, or to go more to the source, every person who interacts in a racially motivated way (on either side of the fence).

I'm sorry. I seem to keep saying the same thing in multiple threads. This is obviously my own little utopia which keeps getting invaded by the visigoths. I'm shutting up now.
posted by fooljay at 6:16 PM on June 25, 2001

You know holgate, I was reading your comment, and before I scolled down, I knew whose comments I was reading! It's strange, but just about every comment I've read from you, on just about every topic, I've just thought, "ditto".
posted by salmacis at 7:21 AM on June 26, 2001

in america, an immigrant gets a two-year tax break if they start a business. Do immigrants in U.K. receive benefits like this?
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 AM on June 26, 2001

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