Stop blaming immigrants for racism and the BNP

By Press Office
April 19, 2010

Commenting on a new Institute for Public Policy Research report on the causes of support for the British National Party, Simon Barrow of the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia, said:

"The ippr has made an invaluable contribution to looking at how effectively to tackle exclusionary and xenophobic politics. Its research demonstrates that attempts to blame immigrants for racism, and for the rise of the BNP, are factually wrong and politically misleading, as well as morally repugnant.

"In effect blaming black people and minorities for racism, and pursuing harsh migration policies (instead of addressing the real issues of inequality, war, injustice and climate change that force people to move) has long been the default position of the main contenders in this election.

"The BNP has flourished in this toxic climate. It has cleverly targeted certain areas to try to gain support. And it has also benefitted hugely from the failure of the dominant, broken political system to tackle systemic inequality, joblessness, deprivation and poor education in many areas of Britain - in spite of the wealth that has been around, confined to the few.

"It's time to turn our preconceptions about race and immigration on their head and look at them in terms of ethics (how we live together) rather than ethnics (how we label each other). Civic groups and faith communities can and should take the lead in this, pressurising the leaders and parties to change."

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