Race in America is What Class is in Britain?

A. d smith once said

I. e it's the conversation that underlies all over conversations and so. . It's very unusual for someone from Britain to be in America and realise that actually the race discussion is so different.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I don't live in Britain, but I have several friends there, and I am a member of different online racism groups based in Britain. The discussion is definitely different. The type of racism, how the people are exposed, the frequency of it is very different.


Most Helpful Guy

  • Yes and no. It is true that the race discussion is nowhere as present as it is in America. Contrary to what some Americans perhaps believe, race is pretty much a non-topic in most other countries. In Europe, we talk very little about race. I'm from Switzerland where we have the second-highest rate of foreigners in all of Europe (only topped by the mini-nation Luxembourg) but I hardly ever hear people talk about race. Generally speaking, nationality is a much bigger thing in Europe and it is what race is in America. So instead of creating an in-group and out-groups (sociologically speaking) based on your own ethnicity and other people's ethnicities, we do the same thing with nationality. One example of this is that many Swiss people don't like German people very much. Obviously, this has nothing to do with race since we are of the same ethnicity. Instead, these things usually have to do with differences in terms of culture and mentality or in some cases also with historical reasons. Other such examples would be the rocky relationships between English people and Scottish people, between Greeks and Turks, Greeks and Bulgarians, Turks and Armenians, Germans and Dutch etc.. Sometimes these social "gaps" can even occur within one country. For example Basque people don't like being called Spanish although they politically belong to Spain. Or in my country Switzerland, we also have cultural gap between the German, the French and the Italian part of the country.
    So when Europeans meet foreigners, they usually judge them based on his/her nationality rather than his/her ethnicity.
    Also, while class is indeed still very important in Great Britain (and in other European countries), it would be a lie to call the US classless (even if Americans like to think of themselves in that way). In fact, when you look at the numbers, America is probably one of the most divided countries in the world when it comes to social class. It is one of the economically most unequal countries in the world. This has become such a big problem during the past 30-40 years that race is in fact slowly being exchanged with social class as the big troublemaker. When you look at contemporary American society, stereotypes or social problems frequently have much more to do with the social class of certain people than their ethnicity. For example African Americans are not discriminated so much due to their ethnicity but due to the fact that they are over-represented in the working class (and by being

    • discriminated, they sink even deeper into these socially low classes and it becomes even harder for them to move up the social ladder. This is why the Republican Party doesn't just discriminate black people but also elderly people, handicapped people, single moms etc.. One thing all of these different social groups have in common is that they are over-represented in the American working class. Asian Americans on the other hand, who have a different ethnicity than the majority, are not much discriminated against. Why? Because they are usually well-educated and financially well-off. So, while Americans often think that there's a black vs. white war going on, the real war that's actually going on is rich vs. poor. The fact that many black people are also poor and thus get picked on is a mere historical coincidence.

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What Girls Said 0

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What Guys Said 2

  • The typos and omissions in your quote make it impossible to understand what is being said.

  • From what I've seen race problems generally start when the minority is large enough to stop being exotic and unusual and start being a political force. That or if the minority is in power. The reason race isn't as much of a problem in Britain is the same reason it isn't as much of a problem in Minnesota.

    • That would apply if race in britain was significantly less diverse than america which it isn't. London is 40% white

    • Except it doesn't work like that. The UK is 87.1% white. The largest other group is West Indians and African at 3% Asian Indians are next at 2.3%. London, as many British people are quick to point out, is not Britain and more than New York is the USA.

      The US is only 63% white, the largest other group, which most definitely sees itself and votes as a political block is 14.4% African-American. More than enough to influence an election. That causes friction and conflict. When people (all people) stop voting their skin color there will be a lot less tension but it's too much in the interests of politicians to keep us divided. That way we don't start asking where all the money goes.

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