I think I have blogged about this subject before, earlier in the year. I feel very strongly about tolerance in society, particularly towards what is referred to ethnic minorities.
I should start to say that I abhor discrimination of any kind. Both negative and positive discrimination. Negative discrimination means that people are deprived of certain rights or things because of the colour of their skin, their culture, their ethnic provenance, sexuality, you name it. Positive discrimination means that people are given preferential treatment precisely because of a characteristic.
We all came into the world with nothing, and we're all going to leave it with nothing. Underneath the skin, we're all the same, more or less. It is therefore unacceptable to discriminate. If people are to be judged, it should be on merit. Not on the colour of their skin. Their sexuality. The fact that they are from any certain country - or not.
I feel so strongly about this, because of what happened in the 1930s and early 1940s in Europe. Six million people were killed because they professed to be Jews. Initially, their lives were made impossible, then they were segregated into ghettos and finally carted off to concentration camps to be murdered on an industrial scale.
In recent years, large numbers of people have migrated to Western Europe and other so-called western countries, in search of affluence. Others came because their life was not safe in their home country. Since 2004, thousands of people have come to the UK from (e.g.) Poland to work. 97% of those people hold down a full time job.
Complaints are often heard that those people are taken jobs from indigenous people. I have seen at first hand a situation that the jobs were not applied for by local people, and that Eastern European workers had to be drafted in to do the job. I do think there is a problem if people come to Europe just to syphon off benefits and not work.
Since the horrendous events of 9/11, which we will be commemorating in 15 days' time, a backlash against people of the Muslim faith has occurred. A few weeks ago, a major security scare in the UK led to a strong tightening of security at airports. People were picked out for extra checks, purely on account of the fact that they looked Middle Eastern. The word "profiling" was introduced, to indicate that only certain suspect segments of society would be targeted for extra checks. Methinks that any terrorist organisation who grows wise to the criteria, will look for its recruits outside any such groups, although that might be a little complicated. However, the events of 9/11 and 7/7 have shown that it only takes a handful of brainwashed idiots to commit mass murder.
Tolerance to all sections of society is particularly important at a time like this, when one group is being singled out. This could have precisely the opposite effect of driving those groups into the arms of terrorists. It should be about dialogue, mutual engagement and respect, listening to and addressing problems that exist. Only in such an environment can extremists be defeated.
Concerns are being voiced that expressions of national pride are being suppressed, for fear of offending those that come from other faiths and cultures. Those concerns are being used to alienate minorities, implicitly accusing them of diluting national symbols.
Anyone who has had a glance at biology knows that inbreeding leads to a weakening of a species and of a society. An infusion of other cultures leads to a broadening of minds - as long as those minds are open to embrace something else.