Birmingham Riots: Color is Only Skin Deep
News; Posted on: 2005-10-24 21:59:03

The myth of black-Asian solidarity in the face of white majority has an ignoble burial in the streets of Birmingham.

From Shyam Bhatia
DH News Service London

One of the UK’s best kept urban myths has exploded following a second night of riots in the city of Birmingham. Police and community leaders have appealed for calm following the shooting of an 18-year-old teenager, a short distance away from the city suburb where blacks and Asians clashed repeatedly on Saturday.

The myth was that the oppressed groups of blacks and Asians inevitably bond together to fight for their rights against an exploiting white majority.

In fact, as Birmingham has demonstrated, differences between the minority communities, whether it is Asians against Asians or Asians against blacks, are at least as great as those that divide them from the whites.

Some of the underlying differences between blacks and Asians were evident more than 40 years ago in African countries like Kenya and Uganda where the local African population resented the wealthy Asians. African complaints that the Asians were insular and looked down on them because of their skin colour, culminated in a political and social crisis that triggered a massive exodus of Asians.

Economic resentments also seem to have played a role in Birmingham where Pakistani and Indian shop keepers have long been known to complain of how they are targeted by black criminals. Drug wars between gangs from both communities have further inflamed the situation.

Saturday’s rioting started after local pirate radio stations broadcast rumours that a 14-year-old Jamaican girl had been gang raped in a Pakistani managed shop. Police later said there was no evidence of the rape and added it was possible that the so-called rape victim did not even exist. That did not stop demonstrations outside the shop concerned.

The shop owner then went voluntarily to the police, later telling the media: “I have done nothing wrong. Yet me and my staff are the targets of this unbelievable campaign. It started with accusations that we had been making lewd suggestions to women, then it was claimed I had fondled a young black customer. Before I knew it, the allegation was that I assaulted two girls”.

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Source: Deccan Herald • Printed from National Vanguard
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