The ‘model minority’ issue


by Rumbold
14th December, 2010 at 10:41 am    

One of the Daily Mail’s main stories today concerns a new study which examines what they call “the lifestyle of a typical Middle Briton.” This study looked at a number of different factors to produce a picture of a typical middle class household. The Daily Mail’s take on it was interesting, as it headlined the piece:

How Sikhs and Hindus became the bedrock of middle Britain

The actual article spends very little time on this, but it is telling that the Daily Mail chose such a headline, which suggests a clear ‘endorsement’ of Sikhs and Hindus, and recognition that you can be British without being white. This should be all the more welcome coming only months after the same paper said that second and third generation British Asians couldn’t be considered British.

There are a few problems here though. The main one is that such an approach once again resorts to stereotyping. Not in a negative way with regards Hindus and Sikhs, but in a way that lumps them all into one group: both religions contain masses of very different individuals, from professors to convicts, so to suggest they form a monolithic group is wrong.

This idea feeds into the notion of the ‘model minority’, which is difficult to tackle because it is viewed in a positive way. Often applied to Sikhs (amongst others), the notion of a ‘model minority’ suggests a well-integrated, hard-working ethnic/religious group whom few have a bad word to say about it. For many first generation immigrants who experienced severe racism in the 1960s and 1970s, being in such a group is seen as a great advantage, and understandably so.

The problem with this though is twofold: Firstly it encourages members of that group and those dealing with this group to view them as a single monolithic block, which discourages individualism and perpetuates the old colonial mentality of ethnic groups being apart from mainstream society. Secondly it leads to competition between different minority groups, who use the praise given to them as a ‘model minority’ as a way of showing that their ‘community’ is superior to other ones. In this case, that would mean the Muslims. Some white people will make the same comparisons, leading to bigotry against groups seen to not be model minorities, rather than treating people in those groups as individuals.


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Filed in: EDL,Hindu,Muslim,Sikh






27 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  2. Nemesis Republic

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  3. Alom Shaha

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  4. Carmelita Serkei

    over de #model #allochtoon; artikel uit UK ook in NL toepasbaar. http://bit.ly/gDyiwf


  5. terry o'brien

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  6. lisette boeren

    RT @CarmelitaSerkei: over de #model #allochtoon; artikel uit UK ook in NL toepasbaar. http://bit.ly/gDyiwf


  7. Ira

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  8. Kash Farooq

    RT @sunny_hundal: The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  9. Kash Farooq

    Good read RT @sunny_hundal: The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9


  10. Press Not Sorry

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The 'model minority' issue http://bit.ly/hRhxS9




  1. Sofia — on 14th December, 2010 at 11:39 am  

    Photo caption from the mail “Kameez-clad women make their way down a street in London”. They obviously forgot their shalwars. Typical shitty ‘journalism’

    “Data about spending habits revealed the average household spent £610 per week on bills and shopping, with transport and groceries the biggest expenditure.”

    That’s obviously for the extended family right?

    “And they are 2.5 times more likely than the national average to live in a semi-detached property”.

    The semi detached properties are usually adjoining the son and daughter in law

    “Socially, they are more likely to spend time at home than other groups, and enjoy watching sport, property programmes and science fiction shows”

    Err ZEE TV ANYONE? Agreed till the bit on science fiction unless Dr. Who counts

    Comments at the end of the article show how bigoted us asians can be..oops should I separate that into hindus sikhs and muslims…

    what a load of bollocks

  2. Kismet Hardy — on 14th December, 2010 at 1:26 pm  

    The article has totally got it right. Ever since the Sikh Foundation (now renamed Ex-Sikh Foundation) announced earlier this year that all Sikhs were now foregoing aloo paranthe for sausage and chips, and swapping their turbans for trilbys, followed swiftly by the Hindu Association’s (now renamed not very hindu association) call to swap their goddesses with cheryl cole and cher lloyd, sikhs and hindus are all proper brits now. And all the while the ominous azaan from the million minarets of bradford call for the downfall of civilisation…

  3. coruja — on 14th December, 2010 at 2:45 pm  

    What’s new here? The Mail always had something like an article about ‘troublesome black youth’/'troublesome muslim youth’ followed by an article about how one Indian family arrived with £5 and are now chip shop millionaires. This is a time tested way of creating division resentment between ethnic groups so that spend their political energies fighting each other than pursuing a better future for everyone in this country. It works.

    Hindu/Sikh good, Muslim bad, for now.

  4. damon — on 14th December, 2010 at 4:24 pm  

    Is that entirely fair Coruja? While there is some of that and there is certainly Islamophobia … and Melanie Phillips trying to make things even worse, there are problems too: with events like the Global Peace and Unity one, and issues of segregation.
    I mentioned this guy Sarfraz Manzoor from Luton yesterday and this is what he said in the Guardian yesterday.

    So what has gone wrong in my home town? There are no simple answers but I would cite three main factors: education, economics and representation. There are schools – and streets – in Luton that are ominously monocultural: the school I attended as a young boy was multicultural, that same school is now 96% Asian. Living in such bubbles – white or Muslim – can breed ignorance which can then spill over into intolerance.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/13/luton-failures-multiculturalism

  5. Refresh — on 14th December, 2010 at 4:44 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Thanks for the post.

    I fear this will be the marker that will accelerate the divisions, it will now be the race to the bottom.

    The Daily Mail is a clever piece, and it will be useful to the EDL. Especially as now they claim to be turning away Pastor Terry Jones because of his racist outlook.

  6. Joanne (africana) — on 15th December, 2010 at 3:05 am  

    Good analysis, Rumbold.The problem with putting anyone on a pedestal is that it implies that any success by a non-white is somewhat odd-which it isn’t, of course.The other problem is that if you elevate somoeone’s position, you judge them by much harsher standards when they do fall.

    Black folks and Muslims are treated as monoliths, too as they are posited as the other end of the extreme. This, in spite of the fact that the Muslim community and the Black community is incredibly ethnically, socially ansd economically diverse.Indeed,the Pakistani community itself is composed of a number of tribal groupings.

  7. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 7:26 am  

    Rumbold,

    As a member of the original ‘model minority’ that currently rebels against the whole idea of being put on a pedestal and would prefer to just piss off and be left alone, I think this is a good article.

    Sunny Hundal would, were he here in Scotland, vote for Elmore Fudd, aka Ian Grey, rather than Ek, aka Alec Salmond.

    I find that narrow minded socialism, indeed I find it tribal.

    Sunny corrected me on the question of what socialism is on a LC thread. It is, apparently down to adversorial politics. It is apparently OK to support idiots just because they are part of your clan.

    Well, I don’t think it should be. It ought to be about the greatest good for the greatest number. And our chum, Mr Hundal, should get his head around that. For Scots ought to make their own minds up. Be they
    muslim, whites, idiotic Rangers supporters and Celtic fans and all that shit.

    Just to say, again, if Sunny were ever to stand for Parliament in an English constituency, I would do whatever I could to try to see him elected. If he stood North of the Border, I would expect him to at least see the difference before I considered voting for him.

    It is this blindness to the difference between our politics and your politics that annoys the hell out of me.

    We stand firmly, against tuition fees, Trident, Trident Mark Two, and for, a completely green energy policy as soon as possible – around 2020, a capitalisation of our Universities, and a genuine belief that, were decent people like Sunny Hundal, to take a moment to look at Ian Grey they would walk away. For he is a tit.

    Least that is what I think. The Liberal vote in Scotland is very weak right now. I consider myself a Liberal that is lending my vote to the SNP.

    But that is what we have to do, to walk away from your insanity.

  8. Rumbold — on 15th December, 2010 at 8:51 am  

    Refresh- thank you. I think, for all its investigations into the EDL, they Mail and the EDL are still quite ideologically close. In this, they differ a bit from the BNP, which is more unthinkingly racist.

    Joanne:

    Good analysis, Rumbold. The problem with putting anyone on a pedestal is that it implies that any success by a non-white is somewhat odd-which it isn’t, of course.The other problem is that if you elevate somoeone’s position, you judge them by much harsher standards when they do fall.

    Thank you. And good point too- I hadn’t considered the ‘success is odd’ factor.

    Douglas:

    As a member of the original ‘model minority’ that currently rebels against the whole idea of being put on a pedestal and would prefer to just piss off and be left alone, I think this is a good article.

    Heh. Since when were Scots a ‘model minority’ (unless you are referring to being a Partick Thistle fan)?

    But that is what we have to do, to walk away from your insanity.

    My insanity? Crikey, what have I done now?

  9. anon — on 15th December, 2010 at 3:19 pm  

    Can you show me the Mail quote that states ‘second and third generation British Asians couldn’t be considered British’.

  10. Rumbold — on 15th December, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

    Anon:

    They have removed it from their webiste- I don’t know if anyone took a screenshot. Read Sunny’s article I linked to.

  11. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 4:00 pm  

    Err..

    But that is what we have to do, to walk away from your insanity.

    You know that that remark had nowt, nada, zero to do with you, don’t you?

    Rumbold, you know I think highly of you, don’t you? I would never accuse you of being insane.

    It was a collective term for all Englishmen, from the vast majority that aren’t interested in their last sizeable colony, to those that assume – as Sunny does – that it is a Labour fiefdom. Or that Labour is really ‘left’. It is his problem that he doesn’t appreciate what ‘left’ is.

    My hope, rather than expectation, is that SNP ideas should effect left wing thought, rather than be seen as alien to it. For we have more intelligent left wing thought than they do.

    Sunny tells me I am pissing in the wind, or summat.

    I reject that, and can agree with most of your posts on here without a qualm. For despite how you charactarise yourself, you are a good and decent person.

    I have said before that it would be next to impossible to stick a cigarette paper between your ideas on the important stuff and my own. I stand by that, and by you.

  12. Rumbold — on 15th December, 2010 at 4:47 pm  

    Douglas:

    Well, I am glad you clarified it.

    I am interested in Scotland- it is a fascinating example of what happens when de-evolution is introduced into a country. I suppose the question is how left wing is the SNP?

    intelligent left wing thought

    That, my dear Douglas, is what you call an oxymoron.

  13. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 8:30 pm  

    Rumbold,

    intelligent left wing thought

    Well, you’d better take that up with your editor. ;-)

    Certainly, we’re more left wing than Labour. Which probably makes us slightly left of centre.

    Oh dear!

    It is the idea that we are a collective rather than just individuals that seems to me to separate us from libertarian loons such as Devils’ Kitchen and Mr Eugenides, who both ought to be taken into care and regularily sedated.

    It is just a shame that that collective swarms around the Labour Party and not the SNP.

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 15th December, 2010 at 10:15 pm  

    “I would never accuse you of being insane.”

    I’m getting t-shirts printed with that!

    :-)

  15. Refresh — on 15th December, 2010 at 11:16 pm  

    There is nothing worse than getting bogged down in a left-right debate when the pitch is already queered by the term leftof-centre rightof-centre.

    That implies an inherent expectation that the leftof and the rightof will converge – and we can (probably) all agree that they already have.

    So to avoid confusion and bring in some honesty to the debate, you should use terms such as left or leftof and right or rightof. Leftof and rightof are an untrustworthy bunch, they are the careerists.

    Those on the right are tribalist in every sense of the word, they are an insecure bunch possibly linked to some childhood trauma. And are the most likely to be shouty on a holiday abroad when asking for the way to the WC. They cover their own ‘issues’ by adopting a sneering attitude which can often be turned into an outward display of patriotism and jingoism. That is to say, they are permanently fearful and lack the instinct needed to nurture an independent mind and as such have little to offer to a globalised civilisation.

    They despise the progressives, but hurry to justify their overweening claim to civilisation by holding up the gains delivered by campaigns originating from the left; and yet fought against them tooth and nail when it would have made a difference.

  16. Shamit — on 16th December, 2010 at 12:50 am  

    Once more Refresh with his indomitable quest to monopolise virtue demostrates his ideas and ideals reflect exactly the opposite of what is needed in a global village. And I say this with all due respect.

    And his comment “Leftof and rightof are an untrustworthy bunch, they are the careerists” proves my point.

    Very few things in life are black and white especially when it comes to policies and politics – absolute rights and absolute wrongs are hard to find – and when you do find them – they usually involve situations where someone or some people end up in body bags.

    Most people on this earth want to get on with it – neither embracing the lunacy of the left or the right – in fact vast majority of people are on some degree of the centre ground. Before you object Refresh and get angry let my explore my point in detail.

    Let’s take abortion – most sensible people in the world believe in women’s right to choose as it should be.

    However, most ardent feminists I know would find it difficult to accept, if they found that the woman is aborting because the child is a girl – or because the child is missing a toe or a finger.

    At the same time, there are some who are staunch anti-abortion but are happy to accept abortion when it comes to rape or incest.

    The reason I chose this emotive subject is to highlight that even the most ardent sensible supporters of a position do not hold absolute opinions – but opinions that have caveats attached to them.

    So when someone writes off the entire centre ground as untrustworthy – it just shows lack of understanding and nuance. It also makes them a relic to be viewed at with uninspiring and bewildered gaze in a museum.

    Another small example which would anger Refresh –

    Most committed true lefties do not believe in the existance of God or a divine power – in fact they view religion as the root cause of all evil. But Refresh believes in religion and the Supreme being yet he is a lefty – isn’t that in itself a position on the centre ground.

    So bottomline, Refresh is not making the debate honest but trying to impose his wildly flawed static black and white logic in a complex, colourful, vibrant and inherently fluid canvas called life. And inevitably it does not stick.

    Again, I say this with utmost respect and with all humility that I could muster.

    I rest my case.

  17. Refresh — on 16th December, 2010 at 2:19 am  

    Shamit,

    Thanks. Your comment has cheered me up considerably. I expected a response but it never occurred to me that it would be you responding. Yet looking at your recent tirades, it shouldn’t have surprised me.

    BTW I can’t see why you want to think I would get angry. Tell me, I would like to know.

    For what its worth, in my categorisations its conviction politics versus career politicians.

    So do you agree with my stereotyping of right wingers? Don’t you think it describes Michael Gove and Melanie Philips quite well?

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