In Britain, there has recently arisen a patriotic, Feel-Good movement calling itself: “One Britain, One Nation.” It was founded in 2013 by one Kash Singh, a Punjabi who immigrated to Britain with his parents at the age of six and who grew up to become an Inspector with the West Yorkshire Police.
One Britain, One Nation (OBON, for short) has called for “schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about [British] shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect”, and in particular for children to sing a patriotic song written by school children at St John’s CE Primary School, Bradford titled “We are Britain and we have one dream / To unite all people in one great team.” (Gag me with a spoon!)
All this goody-goody, goo-goo-ism has attracted the support of Boris Johnson, Joanna Lumley, Brandon Lewis, Lord Tebbit, Lord Steel of Aikwood, and various religious leaders, including bishops and imams.
What can one say? It’s not my kind of thing, but it is obviously true that human beings differ in all sorts of tribal ways in every society and need to tolerate one another’s differences and get along, and recent immigrants ought to be grateful to be where they are and should be endeavoring to assimmilate, not complaining.
I came across an editorial this morning in the hoity-toity London Review of Books by one Dr. Arianne Shavisi, who is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics & Humanities (Clinical and Experimental Medicine) at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, a specialist in feminist bioethics, gender studies, global health ethics, social determinants of health, and the philosophy of mind, and a Free Speech opponent.
Dr. Shavisi has degrees like a thermometer from Oxford and Cambridge, and in addition to her university position sits on editorial boards, publishes in prestigious venues, and even advises the British Government on Abortion and Women’s Health. Pretty darn good for a first generation British subject fresh off the banana boat.
You would think this young woman would be grateful to Britain and the British people for letting her parents in, doubtless as refugees from the crazed mullahs’ fanatical regime. Dr. Arianne gets to swan around Decolonize STEM Symposia in overalls and a t-shirt, instead of burying herself in a voluminous black Chador. She can walk down the street or even drink wine without worrying about getting arrested by the Morality Police. She can abuse and attack the country lives in and she is not thrown into a dungeon.
But, no, she is not grateful. In fact, she confusedly considers her Aryan/Arianne self to be a person of color and some sort of victim of Racism, simply because she is a person of foreign, and therefore minority, origin and not a member of the native majority. How terribly, terribly racist and unfair!
She is also a fountain of Marxist CRT nonsense.
From the London Review of Books editorial opposing OBON:
White children experience white privilege regardless of their household income. That doesn’t mean their lives are a piece of cake, it just means that race isn’t part of their burden. Whiteness inoculates them against certain forms of social marginalisation, but it provides little protection against poverty and its variegated effects. (By contrast, wealth fortified with whiteness is practically a superpower.) The problem is therefore not that poor white children are being taught that they’re privileged along the axis of race, it’s that they and others are not being told they’re oppressed along the axis of class. Rather than subtracting conversations about white privilege from our classrooms, we need to ensure that children also learn that the system is designed to keep them poor.
That nefarious system obviously failed to stop her Persian immigrant self.
You can’t demand that children be proud any more than you can ask them not to be ashamed. Poverty and racism pose material barriers, but they also fill people with a shame that is antithetical to their thriving. As Hannah Gadsby put it in her 2018 show Nanette: ‘When you soak a child in shame, they cannot develop the neurological pathways that carry thought.’ Learning is much harder when you’re hungry or humiliated. The government has no place asking children of colour to be proud of a country that fails to recognise racism, and it has no place asking poor children to sing for a country that sells their hunger to private companies which send them half a carrot.
Describing her 2018 talk “Refining the Case Against Free Speech“:
In this talk I counter the claim that free speech is under threat in universities, and instead submit that new opportunities have arisen to make knowledge exchange more inclusive. I argue that there is good reason to demand “political correctness” in the discussion of certain issues, and that far from standing in the way of free exchange, political correctness aims to make that exchange more widely accessible. Political correctness, if judiciously implemented, is a form of censorship whose purpose is to embolden and amplify the voices of the most marginalised and silenced communities within our society, and to bring their experiences and standpoints into collective discourses. I suggest that academics should endorse restrictions on permissible academic speech, with the aim of producing educational spaces within which epistemic outcomes are optimised for all social groups. One concrete strategy is to seriously engage the potent, but currently much-maligned, regulatory functions of “safe spaces” and “no platforming,” which I define and defend against common objections.