Confronting difficult issues


by Sunny
25th March, 2006 at 5:05 pm    

The problem with wanting to let racists speak their mind is you end up on the same side of invertebrates as those berating Brownie on this article.

But justifying gagging someone because that group feels under attack is not good enough. It’s an excuse rather like saying: “I don’t feel British because the BNP don’t welcome me with open arms”. If you need citizenship advice from the BNP then you need your head checked.

In such debates people use statistics selectively that reinforce their point because it helps them understand the world. The stats above alone throw racial differences out of the window, and beg questions such as: why do girls do better than boys; why Indians do better than whites and Pakistanis; why do black boys do so badly? Apart from the fact that girls develop faster than boys, everything points at cultural and sociological issues than racial ones. Race campaigners run from this debate at their own peril because the inequalities then don’t get ironed out.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Culture,Race politics,Sex equality






42 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. Bikhair — on 25th March, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    Probably the only thing we Americans have in common with your Brits is that our black children dont do as well as other ethnic groups. It becomes very hard to track Latino students because there is a constant migration of people especially in Southwestern America. Our subcontinental people, Pakistani, Indian, and Bengali, all do just about better than all natives.

    We import better people. LOL, I kid.

  2. inders — on 25th March, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    Dr. Ellis is an idiot. Specialises in Russian and slavic studies. Thats not even a proper science. If he was a specialist in stats or a numerical field, and he was studing this as his proffession then we’d have to take his finding seriously. He’s out of his field. His opinon means as much as mine or sunnys. Except we’re not using Leeds university after our names to add credence to our opinons.

  3. Don — on 25th March, 2006 at 6:13 pm  

    Inders is absolutely right. He has the same right as any bar-room bigot to hold and express his opinion, but his views have prominence because of the academic association with Leeds Uni. I can see how they might feel he was bringing it into disrepute.

    I don’t think he is being gagged, rather told that he can’t use a university as a soap-box for privately held views unconnected with his field. These weren’t even measured, reasoned views, but rants.

    However, the real point of Sunny’s post, and the point SeanT has been pushing, is that the question has been asked and evidence has been put forward so it is dishonest just to say that the subject is taboo.

    Unfortunately, there will be a lot of axes being ground on this one, and a lot of half-digested studies and ‘studies’ cited.

  4. Kulvinder — on 25th March, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    I think he should be able to use his position as a soapbox :(

    I don’t like taking a reductionist approach to academics, all you end up with is a bunch of dickheads not accepting the opinion of anyone ‘outside their field’ when someone like Feynman could have kicked their arse even from outside their ‘field’.

    You may not accept the authority of his views but that should in no way prevent him airing them.

  5. Jay Singh — on 25th March, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    Indian girls performance is astonishing. They leave everyone in the dust. But I had read somewhere else that Chinese kids had the best results of all – why are they not on this table?

  6. Babu — on 25th March, 2006 at 8:06 pm  

    I have a real issue with tables like this. These percentages are not set in stone. They are, at best, estimates. In order to examine if there are any true differences between these groups, you must at least look the variation of these percentages (i.e. the confidence intervals), since these percentages will be prone to random variation year on year.

  7. Vikrant — on 25th March, 2006 at 9:32 pm  

    read somewhere else that Chinese kids had the best results of all – why are they not on this table?

    Was your source Xinghua (sic?) news agency?

    We import better people. LOL, I kid.

    Really? Judging by your intellectual abilities i doubt it.

  8. Bikhair — on 25th March, 2006 at 9:44 pm  

    Vikrant,

    Stuff it, I am a native.

  9. Vikrant — on 25th March, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

    So you are not an Arab chick? Arab or not, brain-dead fer sure.

  10. jps — on 26th March, 2006 at 2:57 am  

    Funny that so many people jumped to discredit the author of the report but nothing to say about the data presented. Let us forget for a minute that Dr Ellis is a bigot and these perecentages change year to year. Is this data correct for 1999 or not? If it is correct, then it does show a picture how narrow and specific it may be. In year 1999 Indian girls were 3 times more likely to succeed in GCSEs. Does any one really believes such a wide gap can be filled next year or in 2/3 years?
    so draw your conclusions:
    a) Indian girls or smarter and work harder than Pakistani boys

    or b) Pakistani boys are discriminated in Britain.:-P

  11. nukh — on 26th March, 2006 at 4:40 am  

    The best judges would be you guys who grew up in Britain.
    Are the numbers reflected in society around you?
    It can’t be so tough to discern…can it?

  12. Vikrant — on 26th March, 2006 at 6:08 am  

    It can’t be so tough to discern…can it?

  13. Trofim — on 26th March, 2006 at 8:57 am  

    Dr. Rather than clog up comments here, I have just posted a comment on Harry’s Place relevant to this on “No man is an Ellis island”.

    >> Ellis is an idiot. Specialises in Russian and slavic studies. Thats not even a proper science. If he was a specialist in stats or a numerical field, and he was studing this as his proffession then we’d have to take his finding seriously. etc.

    Peculiar idea this, that one can have no relevant opinion on something unless one has a “qualification” in it.
    Amongst my interests are art, music, mycology, arboriculture, botany, gardening, literature, philosophy, Russian everything, linguistics, watercolour painting and more. I would be grateful, inders, if you could indicate in which of these subjects my opinion might be either valuable or worthless. I’m abstaining from all conversation until you let me know. Thanks a bundle for your professional advice. Oh, and I am assuming that you have a relevant qualification in “What People Are Entitled To Have An Opinion On” studies.

  14. Roger — on 26th March, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Why the fuss? Leeds has had a history of Stalinist teachers in the past including one- Vic Allen- who was a Soviet agent. What of muslim teachers who believe that sharia should be introduced as soon as possible? Presumably Ellis’s teaching and marking are fair or the university would have got rid of him long ago. They could point out that he isn’t doing himself, his subject or the university any good by shooting his mouth off. If people feel that strongly they can refuse to study Russian at Leeds or the courses he teaches, so that market forces remove him.
    Why are Pakistani and Bangladeshi children lumped together in the above table? How are Indian Bengalis classified?

  15. Don — on 26th March, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    Suppose you are of the opinion that conventional medicine is a massive conspiracy, that medical intervention for cancer, aids, and other serious conditions is detrimental and that the only way to cure disease, or to ‘repair’ a disabled child, is to hand over your worldly goods to a charismatic healer based in Switzerland, who will heal telepathically. This is a view sincerely held by many and, I suppose, they have the right to hold and express that view. You might even have the right to express it forcibly and with support from spurious ‘studies’ and half-understood theories to people who are vulnerable and desperate. You do, in fact have that right.

    Of course, you would hope that friends and family might put the countervailing view, if they become aware in time.

    But suppose you gain employment as a doctor’s receptionist and express these views in the context of the surgery. Would the doctor be denying you freedom of speech if, having repeatedly asked you to limit yourself to your job description, he decided that he didn’t want you on his pay-roll?

    Ellis can, of course, say what he wants. I think this particular case is borderline, but I can quite see that the university might feel that he is bringing it into disrepute and causing commercial damage.

  16. StrangelyPsychedelique/Kesara — on 26th March, 2006 at 11:42 am  

    read somewhere else that Chinese kids had the best results of all – why are they not on this table?

    Was your source Xinghua (sic?) news agency?

    Nope – I think it was the BBC, maketh sense too – the Chinese are more academically driven than south asians tend to be.

  17. Sid D H Arthur — on 26th March, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    My immediate reactioI think it’s pretty short-sighted of any study of immigrants in the UK, which has gone to the trouble of distinguishing the various South Asian national backgrounds, which then proceeds to make the mistake of creating a high-level grouping of Pakistani and Bangladeshis boys and girls. The two are distinct national identities with very different linguistic and cultural differences. This is especially insulting to the 3 million Bangladeshis killed in 1971 in order to make this national difference a reality.

    The main point of commonality of the two nations is that the large majority are Muslim. But if that’s all that’s needed to brand immigrant groupings in the UK together, then there is going to be skewed results in any study that makes that mistake. I mean why not throw in Somalian immigration into that grouping, they’re Muslim too right? Pakistani immigrants are linguistically and culturally closer to North Indian groups (as in ‘Punjabis’ which is a wide and deep national identity which encompasses all the major religious groups of India).

    OK, having made that point, there are similarities that get thrown up between the two groups that are more to do with the fact that both the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups are comprised in the large majority of immigrants from the South Asian agrarian populations who have performed most poorly after immigration to the UK These are the Sylheties of Bangladesh and the Mirpuris of Pakistan. And there is a parallel to be drawn in the academic performance of these groups which suggest a more detailed research ought to be made as to why their kids have done so badly in schools year in year out.

    What is astonishing is why and how the performance of Bangladeshi kids have deteriorated in the last 10 years. Has this got to do with the fact that Bangladeshi averages are bound to be tied in with the fact that Sylhety cultural tradition tends to hold girls back from gaining an education. See here. Given that girls are tending to do better at school in any national/racial/immigrant group, its easy to see why Bangladeshi averages are going from bad to worse.

    I hope Bangladeshi groups can get over themselves to reverse this worrying trend as other groups have so well.

  18. Roger — on 26th March, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    Don:
    I agree that Ellis’s racial and political views are repellent, but why should this particular set of obnoxious views be thought of as worse than the views of Stalinists or sharia-supporters?
    Pursuing your medical analogy, imran Waheed, one of the spokesmen for Hizb-ut Tahrir, is a psychiatrist. Is someone who holds opinions like that a suitable person to be in charge of vulnerable people?

  19. Sid D H Arthur — on 26th March, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    Would we be more sympathetic to Dr Ellis’ views if he were to use his Slavic Languages background and his Leeds University post to posit the notion that, say, White races produce more serial killers than non-White races and by inference, White people are more violent psychoses than other racial groups? And more pertinently, would there be me marches by White students outside the Parkinson Building to protest that notion?

  20. Jay Singh — on 26th March, 2006 at 12:14 pm  

    so draw your conclusions:
    a) Indian girls or smarter and work harder than Pakistani boys

    or b) Pakistani boys are discriminated in Britain.:-P

    I don’t think the ‘Pakistani boys are discriminated against’ thing works. For two reasons. Indians are also discriminated against but it does not prevent them doing comparatively well. Secondly, there are many Pakistani success stories and their numbers are increasing.

    When you get into this cycle of self pity and blame someone else for your ills it leads to a cycle of narccisstic brooding fatalism. The idea that Indians don’t work against discrimination but Pakistanis do is risible. There is no excuse ultimately for not doing well in the UK school system – ultimately people have to take personal responsibility and work hard and destroy the internal self imposed factors that are holding them back. Those who blame it all on discrimination are wrong, and destined to be failures.

  21. Jay Singh — on 26th March, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    How are Indian Bengalis classified?

    Ummm…they are classified as Indians, Roger.

  22. Roger — on 26th March, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    “Ummm…they are classified as Indians, Roger. ”
    I wonfder. You have more faith in teachers’ ability to distinguish between very similar identical backgrounds than I do. I wondered if there was any difference in the achievements at school between them- it would be pretty certainly culturally determined.

  23. raz — on 26th March, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    “The main point of commonality of the two nations is that the large majority are Muslim”

    Worth remembering that a significant amount of Indians in this country are Muslims and are doing well.

    Its too simplistic to simply break things down into ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Bangladeshi’. For instance, it would be interesting to compare the performance of Kashmiri/Mirpuri Pakistanis (who make up the bulk of the UK Pakistani population) with Pakistani immigrants from more developed parts of the country e.g. Punjab.

  24. Sunny — on 26th March, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    Religion cannot have that much to do with it. Indian Muslim kids do better than Pakistani Muslim kids too at school, though I can’t remember who told me that (and thus have no sources to back myself up).

    The big elephant in the room regarding this table is of course class, which plays a much bigger role than can be judged from this table alone.

    A lot of Pakistanis live in working class areas up north while most Indians live in the relatively prosperous London. I’d bet any money that London based Pakistanis (who are by and large middle-class) do much better than their counterparts in oldham/burnley etc.

    And to be honest racism cannot really be held accountable otherwise Indians and black girls would not be doing better than white boys in general.

  25. Don — on 26th March, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    ‘A lot of Pakistanis live in working class areas up north while most Indians live in the relatively prosperous London. ‘

    Good point. These figures seem a little raw. Are they reflected locally?

    Sid,

    ‘Would we be more sympathetic to Dr Ellis’ views …’

    Well, we might be less likely to suspect that he was using stats to bolster a racist agenda. I’m not suggesting that these issues are out of bounds, obviosly; only that Ellis’s integrity as a scholar is very much open to doubt.

  26. Don — on 26th March, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    Roger,

    Point taken. Context is everything. I have no idea to what extent Waheed is able to seperate his professional duties from his political views. If it turned out that he was advising patients that, as homosexuals, they were deserving of death, I would be a bit concerned if the NHS were sending him referrals.

  27. Rohin — on 26th March, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    A point that I didn’t make earlier as we were talking about GCSE results is that in the case of Ellis’ assertions, it should be emphasised that no one in the medical/psychology profession pays much attention to IQ anymore. It is looked upon as a measure of IQ, not intelligence. It’s a test in itself. It has been established that IQ tests are culturally and linguistically biased and even within a homogenous group it provides poor information on intelligence or educational performance.

    IQ is an outdated and archaic measure and anyone basing any research or theory on it doesn’t understand it fully.

  28. El Cid — on 26th March, 2006 at 7:29 pm  

    I have several problems with these stats.
    Firstly, what about the economic circumstances of each group?
    Secondly, what about an overlay of private/public school analysis.
    Thirdly, why are blacks and whites lumped together whearas there’s greater differentiation among south Asians? Where are the Chinese, Eastern Europeans, Turks, and other sig ethnic groups?
    Fourthly, I have problems with the current emphasis on coursework rather than exams. On the one hand, studies show it works in favour of girls’ natural strengths and against boys’, while on the other it is open to abuse due to execssive teacher coaching/interference and rampant Internet-based plagiarism.
    IMHO, these stats are simplistic and no basis for a proper dissection of the underlying subject.

  29. gaz — on 26th March, 2006 at 8:04 pm  

    Regardless of socio economic conditions the performance of Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys is appalling. African and Caribbean boys exam results have improved recently due to various initiatives. These or similar initatives needs to be extended to Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys if we are not to create an underclass.

    What is really worring is that low exam performance is coupled with the increasing incarceration rate of Pakistani/Bangladeshi youths as well. The governement and community organisations should recognise the problem and bloody well do something about it qucikly.

  30. jamal — on 27th March, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    “cultural and sociological issues than racial ones. Race campaigners run from this debate at their own peril because the inequalities then don’t get ironed out.”

    This point is so true. However, I do not thinkthey run from these issue but moreso avoid it by focusing on the more political correct tone such as combatting raciism and promoting equality. Many feel they must “walk on egg shells” aroung certain issues and therefore avoid making bold statements that may be considered racist. It is well known that when many blacks move into an area or school, it goes downhill. This is not just influenced by any unequal position they may have, but also due to the social and cultural attributes that encompass many negative characteristics and practices. Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somalian and Sri Lankan boys are now becoming the new blacks. It is no coincidence that they have adopted much of the black attitude and culture. It is only when these issues are boldly addressed, that the efforts put into the enhancing their economic position will significantly take effect.

  31. Sid D H Arthur — on 27th March, 2006 at 1:17 am  

    Did anyone from PP attend the closet-Muslim-bashers rally on Saturday?

  32. Sid D H Arthur — on 27th March, 2006 at 1:21 am  

    From this pic looks like they outnumber the subscription of al-Ghuraabaa. hur hur.

  33. Jackie Brown — on 27th March, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    Jamal—I’ve noticed that many Black/African Muslims
    appear to want their religion to solely define them, vs. being only one , albeit important, aspect of their identity? (See “ARAB” militia in Sudan). Could it be a fear of being seen as being black? Its counterproductive in a diverse country like the UK to say ‘black culture’ and pretend that defines an entire group of people. Ethiopians, Nigerians, Jamaicans etc. are all ‘black’ but have different cultures- influenced by history/religion/education/class/ etc.

    It’s a sad thing to hate yourself…in fact its rebellion against God. The Koran and the Bible both teach that God chose the place/time and skin colour we would have.

  34. Jackie Brown — on 27th March, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    by the by— I don’t think the Professor should be gagged.
    Bikhair- you are spot on with your joke about importing better people. It’s naive to think that some social engineering is not taking place when immigration targets, ceilings are set.

  35. Trofim — on 27th March, 2006 at 8:27 pm  

    >> I have no idea to what extent Waheed is able to separate his professional duties from his political views.

    I can’t divulge my identity, and therefore am unable to prove what I am going to say, but I have worked with Dr Imran Waheed in Birmingham (NHS). Personally I saw no evidence that his private views intruded into his professional life. He wouldn’t have a job if that were the case. The first I knew of his political/religious views were when I read about them in the press, and was amazed.

  36. Don — on 27th March, 2006 at 8:39 pm  
  37. jamal — on 28th March, 2006 at 1:32 am  

    Jackie Brown, your view is an example of a pathetic “PC” arguement that fails to address or answer any prevelant issues.

    Lets not forget the stats, “BLACK BOYS” are at the bottom end of the table. Therefore use of “BLACK” came long before my comment so maybe you should address your “PC” comment to those that consider “BLACK” “PC”.

    The countries I visit, there are people of variations of brown (mostly), white and black and most refer to themselves by their religion, nationality or culture, rather then colour.

    Ethiopians, Nigerians, Jamaicans etc. are all ‘black’ but have different cultures- influenced by history/religion/education/class/ etc.

    The sillyness in the rest of your comment would be evidence if we were to change a few words. Imagine a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. saying they are all ‘yellow’ but have different cultures- influenced by history/religion/education/class/ etc. They would not, and would instead refer to their nationality, religion, culture, etc, from the outset. Would you say it is “a fear of being seen as being” ‘yellow’.

    Contrary to your opinion, the Qur’an does not focus on colour.

  38. Roger — on 28th March, 2006 at 7:56 am  

    ” I have worked with Dr Imran Waheed in Birmingham (NHS). Personally I saw no evidence that his private views intruded into his professional life. He wouldn’t have a job if that were the case. The first I knew of his political/religious views were when I read about them in the press, and was amazed. ”
    Thank you, Trofim. I wondered, given some of the very odd muslim doctrines about mental illness. I raised his name because i thought- and you confirm- that he and Dr Ellis might be in exactly the same position. They hold horrible and absurd opinions but those opinions do not seem to affect them in their work.

  39. Jackie Brown — on 28th March, 2006 at 11:23 pm  

    Jamal:

    I’m sorry if I offended you. The stats above read
    BLACK BOYS 31 Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys 22, these were listed in descending order. 31 is a ‘better’ score than 22. *BOTH* scores are pathetic. If you read my second comment- I stated I did NOT support the gagging of Mr. Ellis. Black boys (and I suppose that does NOT include young men from sub Saharan Africa?) and Pakistani/Bangladeshi boys have some serious problems that have to be addressed- and that’s not going to happen by hiding from the problem.

    As you rightly proclaim if people have a nationality they prefer to identify themselves with I think that’s lovely. Race does not equal personality. My point was if someone is predisposed to dislike you because of your* BROWN* skin (feel better?) your pious chants of ‘Allah akbar’ probably isn’t going to warm them up to you.

  40. Trofim — on 29th March, 2006 at 9:02 am  

    >> Re Imran Waheed.
    By the way, working in psychiatry doesn’t just mean working with people who are mentally ill. It means coming into daily contact with the the bottom end of British society. Junkies, alkies, single mothers, criminals, benefit cheats, malingerers, trying to use the mental illness label, dysfunctional families etc – in other words, irresponsibility personified, plus all the anxious and depressed people passed on to you from GP’s, A&E depts etc. because they can’t cope with them, are afraid of them, or don’t know what to do with them: (I feel like topping meself because the DSS is trying to make me get a job; I’m stressed out with my £30,000 debts (can you write a letter to say I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought that – I was under a lot of stress), I’m due in court in a month’s time on charges of ABH – – (it would be handy if my brief could say I need counselling), etc. It makes even the most idealistic clinicians a bit cynical, so it’s easy to see why Dr W thinks Sharia might be a good idea.

  41. Roger — on 29th March, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    Presumably Dr Waheed will accept that they are possessed by the devil as an excuse though.

  42. sanj — on 14th April, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    Have also worked for some time with Dr Waheed in Birmingham and have had many an interesting conversation with him about his political views – in his psychiatric work he has always been highly professional and seems to be well regarded by patients and colleagues, many of whom know his political views. I have seen him work very closely with Hindu, Sikh and Jewish colleagues.

    Interestingly Roger, from what I know he rejects the idea of possession and has been an ardent critic of the “spiritual healers” who have sabotaged the treatment of many of his patients.

    He is trying to tackle the stigma of drugs and mental illness that is so common in the Asian, and particularly Muslim, community.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.