Bradford, UK as an example of a Multicultural Society

Bradford is an area in West Yorkshire near to Leeds and Halifax. In the 2011 census it was said to have a population that was 67.5% White, 26.8% Asian / Asian British. This gave it one of the highest percentages of people declaring themselves as Asian in the country. Of these most tend to be Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian.

 

History:

  • Many people migrated to Bradford to fill demand for workers in the textiles mills during the 1950s and 1960s. At the time the law in the UK prevented female workers from completing night shifts. To begin with many of these workers travelled to the UK for a short length of time, were paid for their work and returned home with the money they earned which in PPP terms was worth much more in South Asia.  However law changes prevented this continuous travel between countries so many decided to settle in the UK permanently. The ratio of men to women in the 1960s from Pakistan was 4.1.
  • However during the 1970/1980s many of the mills closed in Bradford due to a national economic downturn.

Issues:

  • Riots between white and asian youths in Bradford in July 2001. Part of the reason for these riots was misinformed envy about what benefits each group received. Furthermore mainstream politicians take the view that differences should be celebrated, this has led to Islamic schools gaining the same funding as other religious schools. This has resulted in a growing “us and them” mentality and rising segregation. Some degree of assimilatory mixing is needed in the UK that is not present in communities such as Bradford at the moment. Many groups in Bradford are growing up apart rather than together. Uni of Oxford research believes that different groups assimilate in different ways over time, Caribbean communities have desegregated well while asian migrant communities tend to segregate more.
  • Areas of Bradford such as Heaton which previously had large white communities have experienced “white flight”, this occurred when Asian families moved to the area meaning that current “white” homeowners decided to sell their houses because they were worried about falling house prices and living environment. Furthermore there is a very significant difference in the ethnicities that attend different schools. Some schools have up to 98% Asian students meaning that white students could be bullied or feel excluded. Furthermore many white parents have began sending their children to schools far away which have higher percentage of white students.
  • Some commentators describe the situation in Bradford as Bi-cultural rather than multicultural as there are only two key ethnic groups and they are regularly segregated. Furthermore much of the Asian, Muslim community practice biraderi, which is a process of allegiance due to family ties, for jobs and houses to rent. This leaves the locals feel left out.
  • Arguments of local people include that british values are being damaged by multiculturalism, a survey in 2015 found that 55% of respondents said that there was a fundamental clash between muslims views and british values. Other polls have however claimed 83% of Muslims are British.
  • Parekh report suggests that political methods of representation have actually led to increased segregation. The idea is that creating faith and ethnicity based groups to represent the entire group and treating the group as an homogenous group rather than a diverse group of people has turned Britain into a community of communities.