“London’s accreted from immigrant generations – Jewish, Caribbean, Bengali, Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, Irish, Polish, Roma, and endlessly on. It is saturated with decades of effort, the grind of antiracist activists remembered in the city’s matter: the Claudia Jones Organisation, the CLR James Library. In the built world – the Brick Lane Mosque, previously a synagogue, before that a church – in clothes and music, in London’s rapid slang, in the withering of hate-filled chants on football terraces, in attitudes transformed from three, two decades ago, in all the mixed friendships and love affairs, down to its deeps and to Londoners’ joy and fortune, London is the most and most successfully multicultural city in Europe. ”

“Racism, of course, endures, adapts. According to the exigencies of ideology, casts around for one, then another first-choice hate. Jews in the 1930s, then black people, then Asians. For the past 10 years, Muslims in particular have worn the bulls-eye. If they’re women who cover their hair, those few who veil entirely or those who chat into scarf-tucked phones, the hijab hands-free, their choice of headgear is bizarrely troublesome to those whose business it is not. The government’s official counterterror strategy includes asking lecturers to report depressed Muslim students. Hate crimes against Muslims rise, fuelled, researchers at the University of Exeter suggest, by the mainstreaming of Islamophobia among politicians and in the media. You can say shocking, scandalous things about Muslims, and opinion-makers do, then push out their chins as if they’ve been brave.”

China Mieville: London’s Overthrow


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