The concept of assimilation is based on whether a group of people from different ethnic minorities will begin to socially integrate. Britain today stands as a great example because it is a mixed society. However the most important factor of assimilation is how effective it is and whether or not it’s successful. When assimilation was first introduced people disagreed with it and refused to accept it. Immigrants who came from other countries to find a job in the mother land where harshly rejected by its people. Racism became a daily aspect of the lives of coloured people in Britain.
Landlords refused to rent houses to immigrants, jobs were refused, abuse was directed at them and finally politicians used it as a means to get in to power. When coloured people came to Britain they expected the streets to pave in gold and the nation to be hospitable because they had heard so much about the mother land. Today racism still roams informally in Britain but people seem to get along. Bob Geldof was one of the few people who integrated with those who were of different racial backgrounds and worked hard for charity.
One of his most famous fund raisers was the live 8 concert which attracted huge audiences and boasted some of the worlds top music artists. Many people say that the concept of assimilation was flawed and that Enoch Powell was a racist but was his speech based on facts and evidence or did he merely dislike immigrants. One of the main reason assimilation was flawed was because coloured people and white British people couldn’t co exist peacefully. White people clearly outlined their thoughts on coloured immigrants using petty excuses such as saying that they stink and one white woman felt it was wrong to raise her children with black neighbours.
White people felt threatened by immigrants because they were new to them and didn’t know what to expect. This was clearly apparent in the media where women and families stated that they felt threatened. Many white families refused to integrate with immigrants and made it difficult for them to assimilate. Political party’s used immigration for their own personal gain. Many politicians used immigrants as scape goats as a way to solve Britain’s existing problems. Enoch Powell wrote the rivers of blood speech in which he highlighted the future effects of immigration.
According to his views immigrants were of little to no benefit to the nation and assimilation between them and white British people could never exist. During the Smethwick elections Peter Griffins created the infamous 10 word slogan if you want a nigger for a neighbour vote labour. This dealt a serious blow to the success of assimilation. Britain’s poor white population was a target of false propaganda and politicians like Enoch Powell persuaded them that immigrants were the cause for their problems. Enoch Powell’s river of blood speech was recently used by the BNP a racist group who doesn’t believe in immigrants and assimilation.
In my opinion assimilation was flawed because of the way it was introduced. The process of assimilation was expected to happen quickly but the real problem was that people failed to recognise this situation as a delicate one. This proves that assimilation was flawed because people would use immigrants as a tool, see them as a threat and verbally attack them. The British public wasn’t correctly informed about immigrants and so decided to stand against them. When assimilation was introduced immigrants didn’t know what was expected of them.
They thought that they could live in England as Africans and ignore the British culture. For a long time British people were isolated and used to seeing ordinary people that resembled them because of this, they refused to integrate with people who are different than them. Britain is an island as opposed to Russia, France and its remaining allies which lead to there highly defensive nature. When immigrants came people felt invaded and started treating them as if they were a threat not realising that they were a part of Britain’s growth.
What the government failed to do was to reassure the people that assimilation was harmless and could only lead to wealth and prosperity. Due to this error assimilation was already under fire and hungry politicians soon used this to there advantage. The problem with immigration in Britain was that the people weren’t coming from the same country or origins. Instead they appeared from many different colonies that all differed from each other in terms of language and traditions. Immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century were educated and knew how to speak the English language.
This was because there country was under British rule, and most schools were provided with a British based syllabus (this meant that schools had to teach English). However later waves of immigrants migrated after they gained independence were no longer under British rule. This meant that these immigrants weren’t taught English in there country. Instead they used there native language and hence found it hard to talk with English people. This added to the frustration of the English population and was a major downside to the success of assimilation. Source H shows James Walvin a British historian talking about the concept of assimilation.
When he began to talk about assimilation he proved to be against it. In a speech he argued that experience has shown him that the concept of assimilation is not merely flawed but rejected by other people who see it as a threat to their culture, tradition and personality. Immigrants who came to Britain wanted to integrate but refused to give up their identities and wouldn’t sacrifice their traditions when they came to Britain. This shows that assimilation was flawed because in order to become British you must blend in with society and in other words dress, talk and walk British.
Not all people believed that assimilation was flawed and in fact some people think that it was a complete success. Immigrants who came to Britain were able to find jobs, bring their families and seek refuge. Though in my opinion I believed that the youth in Britain strengthened assimilation It can be said that assimilation partly succeeded because immigrants were helping strengthen Britain through there skills. It happened when the British economy was growing at a fast rate. This meant that English people will begin to appreciate immigrants and accept them into society.
Many immigrants took on standard jobs like joining the army or helping in shops. They took on low end jobs that white people wouldn’t accept and began filling the employment gap. Many businesses profited from this and employed immigrants for there cheap labour. To add to that they helped increase Britain’s economy and because of this whites were obliged to integrate with immigrants and got to know them better. This improved relations and was a great boost towards the success of assimilation. Secondly schools in Britain were mixed so white and black children were able to get on from an early age.
This was a key reason as to why the concept of assimilation could’ve been a success. Children in nursery are innocent because of there younger age so black and white children got on well. This increased hope and guaranteed the success of assimilation within this generation. As time past black and white children became accustomed to each other so integrating wasn’t a problem. Also black children within this new generation became more assimilated and adopted most of their ideals from the British culture. Finally because of this white people began to see immigrants as normal people and began to treat them as British citizens.
This significantly decreased tensions and false fears/stereotypes surrounding immigrants. In my opinion I believe that this is the reason as to why assimilation worked on the second generation in contrast to the first. The British appreciated the input of the immigrant talents in fields of music and footballs and other sports where the immigrants were gifted and add immensely to enrich the British culture it was noted that some talented immigrants became heroes and stars and winning awards and fame for Britain abroad. This make the white proud of their input and better accept them in the society.
The fourth reason is the fact that liberal movements and enlighten intelligence who campaigned for assimilation and stated positively the case of assimilation and the benefit of immigrants to the British society, which encourage inter marriages between whites and blacks and increase tolerance. Assimilation was happening and people were beginning to realise this all over Britain. The following sources show white attitudes to assimilation. Source D shows the economist magazines verdict on immigrants. This source is the most useful because it speaks of the flaws of assimilation.
The source explains that British people were reluctant to welcome immigrants because of problems with their homes and jobs. However later on they realised that the country needed them to develop and there skills were needed. The economist magazine apologises for Britain’s flaws especially the politicians playing the race card to there advantage. I believe that the source explains that assimilation was flawed in the beginning because it was seen as a threat but as time went on it became accepted because there were noticeable benefits.
The source says that as time passed people began to accept immigrants and recognise their purpose. Source G shows Baroness Amos the first black woman to join the house of parliament and was once the leader of the House of Lords. Her example showed that the concept of assimilation isn’t flawed and that British immigrants can be accepted into society through time. I believe that Ms Amos demonstrates that assimilation is not flawed to a certain extent. She proves that if you accept the British culture and behave British then assimilation is possible.
In my opinion source G tells us that assimilation can’t work if you’re not willing to adapt to the host society and refuse to give up your traditions. This means that you can still keep them but you must also adopt the traditions and ideals of the host society. When the concept of assimilation was introduced there were obvious flaws because people refused to integrate. Time managed to heal this eventually but was assimilation really a success. Today assimilation appears to be working fine in most places thanks to the laws that were introduced. However there were sacrifices that were made in order to achieve this peace.
I strongly believe that the concept was successful but people judged it to early. The main reason for this is because the British people don’t like change. This has been identified on countless occasions mostly in the world of advertisement. Assimilation didn’t work because white British people feared immigrants because they were very different in terms of ideals, food, and tradition. Though the obvious route for an argument is either for or against some people don’t decide and prefer to stay neutral. The reason for this is that assimilation is flawed but only to a certain extent.
Source E introduces Clarence Thompson a Caribbean immigrant who spoke his mind in Vivienne Francis book “with hope in their eyes”. Here Mr Thompson reflects his views on deaths in police custody saying all we’ve heard is excuses and that he no longer believes Britain is the motherland. He believes that Britain is corrupt due to the legit murders of coloured immigrants. Though he doesn’t completely hate Britain because he states that he achieved in spite of the difficulties. This further reminds the reader that black people are strong and capable.
The reason I said he was neutral was because he wasn’t completely against assimilation. Source F brings us the voice of Cecil Homes another person whose voice was quoted in Vivienne Francis’s book. In contrast to Mr Thompson he still regards Britain as the motherland because it has given him many chances and opportunities. He then places the blame on immigrants claiming there lack of effort is the reason why assimilation isn’t working. His view is neutral and more sided towards the English saying we’ve created our own little colour bar and refuse to mix.
The source ends with Mr Homes saying that we need to learn more about English people just as they need to learn more about us. In conclusion I would like to say that assimilation was flawed to begin with but succeeded eventually. The arguments presented show two sides to assimilation but all together form as one piece. Ultimately the concept of assimilation was not flawed but simply didn’t work at the beginning because of mistakes made on behalf of the government, public and politicians. Assimilation wasn’t successful in the fact that immigrants refused to give up there identities and traditions completely.
However it was successful because immigrants adopted the British culture while still holding on to there’s. As time past it was noticed that people began to integrate even though there still some tensions between the two such as the Colin Roach incident. The government acknowledged immigrants and set laws to safeguard against racial discrimination in the work place and also encourage positive integration. In my final judgement I would like to say that considering the evidence above I believe that assimilation was a success.