These are my introductory comments to a debate on ‘Can Social Cohesion be Imposed?’, part of the ‘Diverse or Divided?’ conference organised by the IPPR and Canada House, London. Other speakers in the debate were Julian Baginni, Marina Jimenez and Catherine Fieschi.
Let me begin with a newspaper account of life in East London:
The Bethnal Green poor are a caste apart, a race of whom we know nothing, whose lives are of quite different complexion from ours, persons with whom we have no point of contact… distinctions and separations, like those of English classes which always endure, which last from the cradle to the grave, which prevent anything like association or companionship… offer a very fair parallel to the separation of the slaves from the whites.
That was from an 1864 edition of the Saturday Review, a liberal London-based magazine. It is a perfect description of what today we might call ‘parallel lives’. But 150 years ago, it was seen not as a problem but as a necessary condition of society.
It’s a useful reminder that discussions about social cohesion or integration are neither as new nor as straightforward as they might seem. It’s a useful reminder, too, of the need for a historical perspective. One of the problems with much social analysis is a tendency to take a snapshot of an issue, and to assume that such a snapshot tells us something important across time. Phenomena such as ‘diversity’ or ‘social cohesion’, are not, however, static; their character and meaning, and our political response to them, changes over time. This is important, for instance, in interpreting Robert Putnam’s famous study of the relationship between diversity and trust, which undergirds much discussion on this topic.
At the same time, ‘diversity’, cohesion’, ‘trust’ are all complex terms with multiple meanings but which in both academic and popular discourse all too often become stripped of that complexity and subtlety. The very question ‘Can social cohesion be imposed?’ seems to me express the problem. Fines can be imposed. Laws can be imposed. Authority can be imposed. But social cohesion? To imagine that social cohesion is the kind of phenomenon that can be imposed seems to me fundamentally to misunderstand both the character of society and of what binds it together.
The contemporary narrative about social cohesion usually runs something like this. Britain (or Europe more generally) used to be more cohesive because it used to be more homogenous. The diversity created by mass immigration has created also social friction and problems of cohesiveness and trust.
The trouble is, virtually every step of that narrative is false. Consider the claim that Britain used to be more homogenous. It usually means that Britain used to be ethnically and culturally homogenous. But societies are diverse in many ways, cut through by differences, not only of ethnicity, but also of class, gender, faith, politics, and much else. But when we talk of ‘diversity’ we exclude most of these categories.
Social conflict was the norm in what we call homogenous Britain. Catholics were regarded until recently in the way many now regard Muslims, as ‘representing an entirely different culture and worldview’ excluded by law from most public offices and denied the right to vote. Jews were seen even more of a threat to British identity, values and ways of being. Britain’s first immigration law. the 1905 Aliens Act, was to prevent a further influx of Jews Politically, too, from the Civil War to Peterloo to the General Strike, homogenous Britain was deeply divided. Of course, we don’t think of such conflicts as expressions of a diverse society. Why? Because of a combination of historical amnesia and a restricted view of what diversity entails.
But even within that restricted notion of diversity, our historical picture is mistaken. Nineteenth century Britain may seem to us to have been ethnically homogenous. But, as that vignette from the Saturday Review suggests, that was not how it was seen at the time.
Yet, the narrative of a homogenous nation made diverse and conflictual by immigration has shaped much of contemporary discussion of social cohesion. Consider the 2001 riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. It was out of the riots that the phrase ‘parallel communities’ emerged, in Ted Cantle’s report on the disturbances.
What caused such parallel communities to be formed in the first place? David Ritchie, author of the independent report on the Oldham riots, criticised the ‘self-segregation’ of ethnic minorities. The then Home Secretary David Blunkett urged minorities to become ‘more British’. The problem, in other words, was seen as one of immigrants and their failure to integrate and be sufficiently British.
It was not, however, just Asians who rioted in the northern mill towns; white youth did too. And white youth were undoubtedly as disengaged from society and as alienated from any notion of Britishness as were the Asians. Yet, their disaffection was never seen in the same context as that of Asian youth.
The debate about social cohesion is framed in such a way that immigrants are viewed as the problem to solved, and integration as the solution to that problem. Yet, a series of surveys over the past decade have shown those of South Asian and Caribbean descent are more likely to identity with Britain, and define themselves as British, than the so-called ‘white British’. A 2011 study of British attitudes produced by the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at Manchester University, called ‘Who feels British?’ revealed, for instance, that while the majority of people of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and Caribbean origin defined themselves as British, 72 per cent of ‘white British’ rejected that label, viewing themselves only as English. They could have defined themselves as both English and British, but the majority chose not to. The figures suggest a fragmentation of identity, and a high level of disengagement among those classified as ‘white British’ from a sense of Britishness. There is a problem of trust and cohesion, but it is very different, and its relationship to immigration very different, to the way that the conventional narrative portrays it.
The starting point is not too much diversity, but widespread social disengagement. A whole series of economic and political changes in recent decades – from the decline of manufacturing industry to the erosion of the welfare state, from blurring of the distinction between ‘left’ and ‘right’ to the expansion of the market into seemingly every nook and cranny of social life, from the loss of belief in universal values to the rise of identity politics – have helped create a more fragmented society and a greater degree of civic disengagement.
One way in which many people have felt this accumulation of changes is as a growing sense of being denied a voice, of being alienated from mainstream institutions. That sense has been most acute within the traditional working class, whose feelings of isolation have increased as the Labour Party – in common with most social democratic parties – has cut its links with its old constituencies, and as trade unions have lost power. The mechanisms that half a century ago gave the working class a sense of political power and social status have corroded.
People have begun to view themselves and their social affiliations in a different way. Social solidarity has become defined increasingly not in political terms, but rather in terms of ethnicity, culture or faith. The question people ask themselves is not so much ‘In what kind of society do I want to live?’ as ‘Who are we?’. As the political sphere has narrowed, and as mechanisms for political change have eroded, so the answer to the question ‘In what kind of society do I want to live?’ has become shaped less by the kinds of values or institutions people want to struggle to establish, than by the kind of people that they imagine they are; and the answer to ‘Who are we?’ has become defined less by the kind of society they want to create than by the history and heritage to which supposedly they belong. The politics of ideology has, in other words, given way to the politics of identity.
Immigration has not been responsible for these changes. But it has become the medium through which many have come to perceive their sense of disaffection; a catch-all explanation for unacceptable social change and a symbol of the failure of the liberal elite to understand the views of voters.
Why? Partly because of the way that the immigration has been framed, from the beginning, as a problem, even as a threat, that needs to be sorted. Partly because the forces of globalization, or the internal wranglings of the Labour Party, are difficult to conceptualise, while one’s Bangladeshi or Polish neighbours are easy to see. Partly also because culture has become the key medium through which to understand social differences and through which to define identity. Even class identity has come to be seen as a cultural attribute. As a consequence those regarded as culturally different are often viewed as threats.
And partly because public policies aimed at managing diversity – by putting people into ethnic and cultural boxes, defining individual needs and rights by virtue of the boxes into which people are put, and using those boxes to shape public policy – have helped reinforce the sense of social fragmentation and entrenchment of the politics of identity.
What I am suggesting, therefore, are three things.
First, that rather than look upon social cohesion as a problem of too much diversity created by immigration, it is better seen as an expression of a much broader set of developments through which the relationships between individuals, communities and society are forged.
Second social conflict is a necessary part of social life. Values, ideas, identities are always contested. The problem today is not the existence of social conflict, but the means through which it is expressed. Political conflicts are potentially negotiable. Cultural conflicts are far more intractable. As social differences have come to be seen primarily in cultural terms, so conflicts have become less manageable.
And finally, I would question the assumption that immigration and integration must be managed through state policies and institutions. Integration or cohesion is rarely brought about by the actions of the state, but is shaped primarily by civil society, by the individual bonds that people form with one another, and by the organizations they establish to further their shared political and social interests. It is the erosion of such bonds and institutions that has proved so problematic and that explains why social disengagement is a feature not simply of immigrant communities but of the wider society, too.
The images are, from top down, Misha Gordin‘s ‘New Crowd #62’; Alexander de Moscoso’s ‘Fault’; and Kasimir Malevich’s ‘White on white’.
Immigration on a large-scale (1948-71, 1997 to the present) is a peaceful invasion.
No wonder it’s seen as a threat ! Because in the harsh world of reality – as opposed to the make-believe world of liberal intellectuals, where nature and natural constraints have (supposedly) been transcended – it IS a threat, a turf war. This isn’t about prejudice, it’s about the nature of planet Earth.
To cope with the tensions and confusions resulting from large-scale immigration, requires goodwill from both the native majority and the ethnic minorities; a goodwill which (in a horrifyingly selfish Britain and world) is superficial or non-existent. A Crisis is inevitable, which “will try men’s souls” (women’s too).
As for “British”, it is a label clung to by ethnic minority Brits from a mixture of desperation and self-interest. Britain was always an elite project (there has never been a British culture) built to advance English and Scottish Protestantism, industry and empire – originally to dish the French (the main reason Britain conquered India).
But with British Protestantism, industry and empire dead, white Brits see that Britain is dead. In any case, apart from an (often posh) minority, they always saw themselves as English, Welsh or Scottish, not as “Britons”, except when overseas.
I pity anyone who looks upon another human being, who happens to have been born in a different country, or has a different skin colour, or worships a different God, and immediately thinks ‘Invader!’.
Aah yes. Compassion is compulsory no matter the helplessness of those at the sharp end of the infantile assumption that millions of migrants can be absorbed without difficulty.
Whether or not ‘those at the sharp end’ are ‘helpless’, and whether or not ‘millions of migrants’ can be ‘absorbed without difficulty’, it remains the case that to view another human being as an ‘invader’ merely because he or she happens to have been born in a different country or has a different skin colour or worships a different God is intolerant. What’s ‘infantile’ is your pretence that to reject such intolerance is to enforce ‘compulsory compassion’.
I look at the diversity I see around the different parts of London.
I would advise choosing an area and looking closely.
A borough like Haringey for example. It’s changed greatly since the war, and changed again since the Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham thirty years ago – in that it has become even more diverse, but some of the problems have stayed the same or even gotten worse and spread out.
The police shooting of Mark Duggan a few years ago leading to the riots being a good example.
He was brought up on Broadwater Farm I believe.
Diversity I think is a very mixed bag, and can appear differently to different people. To some, Tottenham is a great and close community (if you are an insider maybe) and it can look cold and depressing to others who might just be passing through. The Daily Mail’s Richard Littlejohn once wrote about the change in the area after he had been to Tottenham Hotspur FC and driven down the high road after the match.
That he wasn’t an enthusiast for the demographic change shouldn’t be a surprise.
In a similarly diverse area in neighbouring Hackney, the black local MP Diane Abbott decided not to send her son to a local school but sent him to a private fee paying one instead.
I think she lied about the reasons and I suspect that she didn’t want her son to pick up on the local ”diversity culture” – where young people speak a new kind of street English and to which black boys are particularly drawn in to following the ”hip hop” kind of street culture.
The kind of culture and attitude that the police seem to have problems with and often ”read situations” wrongly and presume that such teenagers are up to no good.
Tens of thousands of people have moved out of such areas to protect their children I suspect.
Like still happens here in the States too. Segregation isn’t just historical, it continues to this day.
I’ve driven through segregated neighbourhoods today and yesterday.
It’s a diversity and culture issue.
Why is the riot following the shooting of Mark Duggan or Diane Abbot’s hypocrisy a product of ‘diversity’? Were there no riots before black people came to this country? Or hypocritical politicians before Diane Abbott opened her mouth? Or gangs or ‘street culture’ before mass immigration? Did everyone in Hackney or Tottenham speak the Queen’s English before ‘diversity’ introduced ‘street English’?
I was thinking about places where diversity is successful. Is it becoming workable in South Africa?
It didn’t look like it when I was there ten years ago, and the South African supporters in England for the rugby would cup were nearly all white from what I saw.
How about India? Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs can get along there OK most of the time. But there are great cultural schisms there too. How about the West Indies with some islands having both African and Asian origin people? I remember a Darcus Howe documentary where he showed that relationships weren’t always good there. And new immigration from Asia to Trinidad (for example) might make things worse. I can’t think of many places outside of Western Europe and the USA, Canada, Australia etc, where new immigration of culturally different people is really seen as possible or desirable.
Not in China or Japan, and Africa isn’t really that open to new immigrants arriving there.
So is it just something we expect of white people?
I don’t want to talk diversity down, but don’t want to ignore the issues it throws up either.
It’s never been resolved in the USA. As we’ve seen since Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement. Ta-Neshi Coates is a spokesman of sorts for the black ”left wing” political movemnet and I saw a clip of him recently saying he’s never really liked white people and he just wants them to stay out of ”our areas” like in DC and Harlem. There’s something wrong there.
I read this book by a black American academic a few years ago called ”Code of the street” where he analysed the difference in civility and public manners as you travelled from well off outer suburbs (in Philadelphia) though mixed working class neighbourhoods and finally through the worst ghetto in the city. And to be able traverse these different kinds of places you either needed the skills to handle them, or you had better just stay away. This is a shorter essay by him on the same subject.
New diversity has definitely brought these problems to wherever it has travelled. In the USA of course, but also in England and France. And they are very difficult problems to overcome, as once you have them, they tend to pass on from generation to generation. The police still don’t know how to police these diverse communities properly. They try hard but can’t get it right.
See the BBC’s recent programme on the Met police where they showed just how difficult it is.
Put a black officer in charge of a place like Tottenham and the man gets called a coconut to his face.
In London I see all kinds of ”coping strategies” to deal with this diversity – or the negative side of diversity anyway. That includes moving to areas that are more middle class (less diverse) to actually sending your children to private school in a very diverse borough like Southwark. You can see it in the school demographics. Some schools are majority black children, and then there’s a private school which is majority white just nearby. Another coping strategy, and one that American author I linked to writes about, is just avoiding your local high street or shopping parade if it’s too down market and ghetto.
I think this happens in Peckham as there are some very middle class streets near the main commercial area, but you wouldn’t think so by walking down the high street. This happens too in parts of Philadelphia I believe. Some areas look like black neighbourhoods, but are actually more mixed than you would think. Because many locals prefer to drive somewhere else to do their shopping elsewhere.
Your petulant, fatuous reply to the first comment is revealing – reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s “bigotgate”.
Well try this, from Ed West’s “The Diversity Illusion”: ‘Novelist Tim Lott recalled how his mother explained in her suicide note – “I hate Southall, I feel so alone”. Lott goes on, ‘In case anyone dare accuse her of racism, she may have hated Southall but my mother was incapable of hating anyone. She worked in the last years of her life as a dinner-lady in an all-Asian school and was much loved. But she was lost. Her world had disappeared’ ‘.
Any chance you or your colleagues at your Canada House junket could put yourself in her shoes?
45 years ago Socialist activist Jeremy Seabrook in “What Went Wrong” exposed the casual callousness of state paternalism, a version of which you and – randomly Merkel, Corbyn, Juncker, Cameron still prosletyse. You fail to see (says Seabrook) that home-place is not arbitrary, dispensable but crucially articulates identity through neighbourhood, kinship, community. Already degraded through mass re-housing of the working class and the ubiquity of individualism and consumerism, diversity is now required. Racism and the appeal of the far right (and UKIP) is a refraction of the bewilderment felt by “passive recipients of what is being done to us, not agents in determining our own lives in a more-or-less shared predicament.” People are robbed of any socially defining edge (except race), robbed of the old identity, isolated and functionless in a now alien place. People who wait in vain for words, passion from the liberal-left on their behalf
I don’t believe you’ve actually read Putnam by the way – or why – as a liberal -his results so shocked him he postponed publication of his major work.
Is it petulant or fatuous, then, to challenge the idea that someone is an ‘invader’ merely because he or she happens to have been born in a different country or has a different skin colour or worships a different? Is it your view that all immigrants are invaders?
Yes, issues of neighbourhood, kinship and communities are important, and I have written much about them. The transformation of working class life in Britain, the erosion of the sense of working class identity, the breaking of bonds of solidarity, the marginalization of labour as a political voice – all are real phenomena. And all have roots in economic and political changes. The shattering of the postwar consensus, the demise of Britain’s manufacturing base, the neutering trade unions, the Labour party’s cutting its roots with its working class base, the derision that is now poured upon class-based politics – all this has helped cut the bonds of solidarity and identity that once shaped working class communities, leaving many feeling voiceless and detached from the political process.
Immigration has played little role in these changes. Even David Goodhart in his book The British Dream, which attacks the ‘liberal consensus’ on immigration, acknowledges this. ‘Social and economic change would have swept away the old working class ways even if there had been zero immigration’, he observes. Immigration has, however, come to be a means through which many perceive their loss, ‘a catch-all explanation for unacceptable social change and a symbol of the failure of the liberal elite to understand the views of voters’, as I suggested in my talk.
We can respond to this in one of two ways. One is to assuage the sense of loss felt within many working class communities by arguing for lower immigration, even though we recognize that such immigration was not responsible for the loss in the first place. Since immigration was not responsible for the problems, curtailing immigration will not solve them. It’s an approach that seems to me both dishonest and counter-productive. The other approach is to contest the idea that immigration was responsible for the marginalization of working class communities, and thereby turn attention to the real reasons, economic and political, for that marginalization. That’s my approach. What’s ‘fatuous’ about that?
There’s a lack of social cohesion at Missouri University right now. Are the students just picking on the middle aged white guy?
There was a similar diversity issue at Yale university the other day about Halloween costumes, and the white middle aged professor got the blame for that too.
Diversity does complicate society quite a bit. Everyone needs retraining.
Kenan, this is the kind of diversity issue that immigration has brought.
Teenage black girls on a bus punching an 87 year old white woman, where I’m from in Croydon.
That could be my mother. If you ask why I say it’s an immigration or diversity issue, maybe you are avoiding the everyday realities. Those girls are like that because they are visible minorities in a racist society. And there’s not a great deal that can be done to change that anytime soon.
Are you seriously suggesting that such incidents did not happen before mass immigration? Or that they would not happen had not one immigrant stepped on Britain’s shores? Perhaps you should read Clockwork Orange or Brighton Rock. What evidence have you got that ‘those girls are like that because they are visible minorities in a racist society’ rather than they acted alike that because some teens (and indeed non teens), both white and black, do act like that? You look at that scene and can only see ‘black vs white’ when that probably has no relevance. The problem, in other words, is not ‘diversity’ but your perception. You are so obsessed with the question of diversity as a problem that you filter every issue through that lens. It’s the mirror image of those within minority communities who see every problem purely though the lens of racism.
I’m glad to see you replied to me in a reasonable way Kenan. I’ve found from experience that when engaging like this on other sites that people can get crappy with each other pretty quickly.
What I think you are choosing to ignore is the cultural aspect that I have already outlined in previous posts. The ”sub-culture” aspect, which now includes a whole new way of speaking and accent even.
I don’t think it’s right to just liken it to things in the past, like middle aged people reacting badly to new youth cultures of the day. Like rock and roll, Teddy Boys and punk rock.
Or if there are similarities, there are also some things that are unique.
Racism is one unique issue. Why is it the police apparently fail so badly in their roll of policing inner city communities and have had accusations of racism against them to this day? It’s because they are reading the things that are pointed out in that link I did to in that book called ”Code of the street” by the black American professor from Rutgers university.
The police are reading that ”code” but are having people who don’t even acknowledge its existence, castigating them for racism. When I’m in London I pick up on that code or street culture every day.
Every time I get on a bus. You see it when the schools turn out in the afternoon.
Did you see that video of the young Croydon rapper called Stormzy I did a link to?
He was highlighted in a segment on Channel 4 news. He and his friends describe a cultural phenomenon that a lot of people who live in the same streets don’t even understand. First of all, they seem to regard Croydon as a place that is considered a worthy ”hood”. In the Croydon Advertiser newspaper a couple of months ago there was even the bizarre story of some Croydon guy who had been out in Compton making rap records, bringing some rapper guys from over there over to Croydon and he was pictured showing them around the Thornton Heath ”hood”.
Like he was telling them that Thornton Heath was like London’s Compton or South Central.
You have to listen to what Stormzy says about where he comes from. After two minutes.
He’s describing Croydon today. Or the diverse multicultural part of it anyway.
I’m driving around Florida at the moment and look around all the cities I go through.
I can’t help looking up to see what is written about diversity in any particular place, and at the moment I’m in Tallahassee and have seen that a place called Frenchtown is the place that people give warnings about. So I’ll drive over there in a bit and see what it looks like. Students at the university here are warned to stay out of Frenchtown as its a bit of a ghetto apparently.
I was also looking at some diversity index of American cities. Why is is still so pronounced today?
Because of the unresolved race and diversity issues. Ferguson only highlighted it.
Formally white suburb changes over a decade into a majority black one. The police force stays the same. White and middle class flight continues to happen.
I think it’s a far more complex issue than the way you outline it Kenan. It gets into psychology.
Are you suggesting that ‘sub cultures’ are something new? That everyone in Britain or America ‘spoke the same’ before black people came along? That there were no street gangs or no street language before mass immigration? Or that we need to be worried about black subcultures, or the subcultures of immigrants, but not about any other subcultures?
Are suggesting that racism was not an issue before mass immigration?
Racism is certainly an issue that needs tackling. But it’s not an issue of diversity. It’s an issue of how state institutions or certain people deal with those who they regard as different or inferior. That’s a different problem.
”Are you suggesting that ‘sub cultures’ are something new?”
I find it quite baffling why you don’t see race based subcultures as rather important.
I’m not suggesting it is all problematic, but the police don’t seem to be able to figure it out, thirty years after the Scarman inquiry. They keep confusing black youths like Stormzy and his friends, for people who need to be watched and policed closely.
You do know who he is now I take it?
People fret about sending their kids to schools where that is the dominant subculture of the playground.
Does that mean they’re racist? Or just snobbish?
You seem to be avoiding an important issue IMO. Because at ground level, this kind of thing changes the faces of community and culture. People vote with their feet and leave such places where this street culture is strong.
Or they can’t move and feel trapped in it. It’s typical reactions to ghetto life. Ferguson Missouri developed that way because of it I’ve read. Black people were moving in to the mostly white suburb of Ferguson to escape the blighted ghettos elsewhere, but many of the people’s problems followed them and Ferguson declined and became poorer. It’s happened all over the US. You seem to be ignoring this.
I read your book ”The meaning of race” many years ago btw , but you seem to have missed out on this aspect of cultural change in Britain.
And here in the US, the Missouri university story is still huge. The radio talk shows are going at it in a big way.
The university just instated a new guy to take over from the one who was forced to resign. An African American who seems to be agreeing with the demands of the black students there. Some of the talk show guys are talking about ”a new front” in the race competition being opened up. They know universities are weak and that if they play the victim hard enough they can get their way.
The student who went on hunger strike for a couple of days is being mocked as his father is an executive for a railroad company earning $6-8 million a year. They are mocking the notion of white privilege.
The other night, the students separated out between the black ones and their white supporters so the black students could all huddle together and sing ”we shall overcome”.
Spiked-online have been covering some of this stuff.
But in England, it’s subcultures like Stormzy that are most important.
Have you never looked up the ”London gangs” youtubes Kenan? I haven’t seen any where white people are a majority, but plenty where they are race based and black. Choose an area and type the words into Youtube.
Might I suggest ”Woolwich Boys” for example?
Are they just the new Millwall and Charlton FC supporters kind of working class subculture?
”Are you seriously suggesting that such incidents did not happen before mass immigration? Or that they would not happen had not one immigrant stepped on Britain’s shores? Perhaps you should read Clockwork Orange or Brighton Rock.”
I’m listening to the radio a lot here in Florida and right now the Missouri University story is huge.
Liberal NPR radio just did an hour on it – which you may be able to hear again from their website.
”Campus turmoil in the heart of Missouri in the last week and more. And yesterday, the president of the University of Missouri system, resigning in a hail of protest over race issues and racism. A hunger strike in the heart of the flagship campus. Black students saying “no more” to racist taunts and a sense of second-class status. Players on the campus football team threatening to boycott this week’s Division I game. And boom, there is change at the top. It’s not the only campus in turmoil over race issues. This hour On Point, we’ll look at the tensions behind the uproar, and ask what now with race on campus.”
Reactionary Rush Limbaugh is also all over it, as was Sean Hannity. They were actually making some sense I have to say.
Which is why I find your idea that nothing really changed in England with the huge demographic changes that have occured.
That because London always was a bit rough in parts, that nothing really changes when a whole new set of people become part of the society, even in the face of huge historical racism and its continuation today (ie the racist police etc).
It seems to me that you have ignored the cultural aspect Kenan.
Which is like watching ”Boys in the hood” or Spike Lee’s ”Do the right thing” and not really noticing they were about racial and cultural issues.