Author: ERIC KAUFMANN
Is it racist for a white Briton to object to a few non-white immigrants entering Britain because she is attached to its ethnic composition? What about 5,000 a year? A million (including descendants) in five years? Ten million over 50 years?
The answer changes as the scale increases. Wanting to keep a country ethnically and racially “pure” is racist. Seeking to slow down an ethnically different inflow so as not to disrupt radically the sense of ethnicity and nationhood of large numbers of people is not, on a dictionary definition, racist – though it becomes so if the reason for restriction is hating or fearing the newcomers.
Decades of social psychology research have shown that being attached to one’s “in-group” doesn’t make a person more hostile to “out-groups”, except in situations of violent conflict. The Chinese person who moves to Chinatown is not doing so out of malice towards non-Chinese; the black resident of Brixton who wishes white hipsters would stop moving in is doing so out of attachment to a neighbourhood, not because she dislikes young whites. The American National Election Study shows that white Americans’ warmth towards other whites does not predict coolness towards blacks or Hispanics. But it is linked to support for immigration restriction and Donald Trump.
We are in an age of unprecedented long-distance migration and ethnic transformation known as the “third demographic transition”. With current levels of immigration, Canada will shift from being approximately 80 per cent white in 2006 to around 20 per cent white in 2106. The white population in western European countries such as Britain will hover around the 50 per cent mark at the end of the century.
The mixed-race population will be trailing this transformation by a half-century. Even if immigration ground to a halt tomorrow, today’s white majorities will undergo what I term “whiteshift”, absorbing non-European ancestry through intermarriage. Three-quarters of people in Britain in 2150 will, like myself, be mixed-race.
In the British empire, people moved relatively freely between Britain and its overseas colonies. But high death rates resulted in limited population increase and few had the means to move to Britain. This began to change after 1945. Between 1955 and 1962, half a million people arrived from the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent. When the Conservatives tabled the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1961 to control the flow, it was attacked by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell as a “plain anti-colour measure”. Yet Labour’s base, like the British population, favoured immigration control. In 1962, Labour quietly dropped its opposition to the measure without retracting the comments.