The final part of the work consists of two parts. The first part summarizes the overall recommendations made in the reports and discussions following the riots of 2001. The aim is to suggest possible solutions to the problems concerning community cohesion and attitudes, housing, education, and economic development. Is it important to say that the research focused on Oldham, but its findings are also applicable to other areas affected by riots.
The second part discusses the theoretical and cultural approach. The concept of racialisation since the 1960s was also followed in the work, the concluding part discusses the concept of race and nation. It includes some of the ideas of Stuart Hall on the question of crime and ethnic minorities. It also considers the recent view on the question of discrimination given by the Chairman of the Equality and Human rights Commission, Trevor Phillips. He comments on the present situation of multicultural Britain and expresses his vision of living in a liberal country and what is necessary to do for that.
Although there are big differences among them, the relation between the communities is essential. To achieve community cohesion, it is necessary to remove the inequality among the communities which still remains an issue. Oldham is aware of population change to come during the next decades and one of its visions for the future of the town is to integrate the communities, “Oldham’s commitment to tackling the Borough’s problems of segregated communities through an approach based on ‘integration and choice’ is to be commended” (Cantle 53). An interesting question was raised in the essay “Managing for Diversity” concerning how the community cohesion can be measured. It can be done through many public surveys, although carried out in a sensible manner, as many inhabitants in deprived areas feel overloaded by these. It is necessary to make clear that what a member of a particular community says about community cohesion and relations cannot be generalised as the opinion of the society and presented as a reality. “One possible solution is to move away from reliance on a single survey towards using repeated surveys including where possible, the same respondents. This will make it possible to do useful comparisons over time” (“Managing for Diversity” 142). The most important part of the programme for the community cohesion is to have a set of clear objectives, initiatives and targets which should gradually become reality.
V. 1. 2. Housing
Housing in deprived areas can be described by the level of segregation. Current surveys show that nowadays it is not a desire of communities for self-segregation, but rather an attempt of local authorities to segregate them. As research suggests, “it is highly unlikely that the majority of South Asians wish to live in segregated enclaves away from the majority communities. Nor, contrary to a popular view, does it appear to be true of the majority of Muslims” (“Managing for Diversity” 153). The research on the contrary shows that there is a tendency of South Asian households to move to the suburbs. It is caused especially by their better financial means and the feeling that they are safer in these areas. Less educated, poor people who have not acquired English language have to stay in inner city areas. The possibility of social housing is a solution for poor ethnic minorities as these houses are usually in good conditions and do not lead to segregation as much, as they are not situated so far from white communities. Responsible for this is “an active BME social housing provider” (“Managing for Diversity” 154) and local authorities which should be able to meet the needs of the communities and bear in mind the housing renewal.
Oldham’s approach corresponds to what was suggested above. The Housing Market Renewal project tries to improve segregation and integrated communities concerning all areas which is also a vision for the future. This can be achieved by the cooperation of local authorities and private and registered social landlords as well as estate agents. As the problem concerns all the community, its members should be involved and acquainted with the Housing Market Renewal project, “Oldham’s approach will need to be pro-active – particularly in winning the confidence of local communities” (Cantle 56).
V. 1. 3. Education
The role of education is essential for building of a cohesive community. The main issues discussed were ethnic representations, choice of the schools, faith schools, pupils’ performance and absence rates. The most important aspect is to make it possible for children of different ethnic groups to mix in schools. The sooner the better it is for communication and social interaction. Children should be provided with opportunities, which would mean a change of school curricula, school policies and admission requirements. As for the performance level, it is necessary to avoid the phenomenon called “white flight” when the parents fear that the performance of their children will be influenced by the fact that they attend mixed ethnic schools. As a consequence they usually take the children out of school and send them to schools that are predominantly white. Another issue is the establishing of faith schools as many Muslims call for Islamic schools, but the government is opposed to this as it would lead to even deeper segregation.
“One solution to segregation is to press for a relaxation of faith requirements in admissions policies, meaning that schools would be open to some pupils from other faiths or non-faith backgrounds. Whilst this research showed some moves in this direction on the part of Church of England and Catholic Schools, where single sex schools in particular were proving very popular with parents of Muslim girls, Islamic schools pose more formidable problems“ (“Managing for Diversity” 151).
As was analyzed in this work Oldham aims for more diversity at schools. Especially secondary schools have become more diverse in recent years, which is also the result of changing settlement in Oldham boroughs. The Schools Linking Project is developing and it is including more schools and more parents from all communities are involved. To build the bridge between the schools, special attention should be given to representation of teachers from different ethnic backgrounds and also teachers’ swaps. One of the most important things to tackle division and conflict is to teach children to talk about their differences and culture so that they understand them and on the other hand to organize many school or outdoor activities, so that they find the things which bind them and they are able to get on with each other.
The riots in 2001 caused that the people had negative attitudes towards the police and there was a lack of trust. Based on the views of focus groups, the common issues are fear of crime, community safety, and social exclusion. Research conducted by the Department for Communities and Local Government came with an interesting outcome concerning the community relationship:
A common complaint in focus groups was a lack of meaningful two-way
communication with the local authority. This is not new and is a common
empowerment lies in becoming better listeners to the concerns of residents,
especially those in deprived areas. Too often the socially excluded feel that they are simply regarded as a problem. What people, irrespective of ethnic heritage or postcode/neighbourhood demand and deserve, is respect (“Managing for Diversity” 149).
Therefore, Oldham’s main task is to gain trust and confidence of the inhabitants and it is the responsibility of the police and local authorities to understand and to reflect the needs and interests of local communities.
V. 1. 5. Employment
The main focus of all the employers in multiracial areas is to recruit all communities in the labour market and provide them with sufficient monitoring and training. The same policy should be adopted also in the private sector as many respondents complained about it, “One extremely important point raised in focus groups concerned the actions of employers in the private sector. A few people suggested that councils could and should do more to influence businesses in the private sector to adopt best practice in equalities policies” (“Managing for Diversity” 147).
Oldham MBC and the Economic Partnership make an effort to tackle race inequality in employment in enlarging working opportunities for the Asian population and to find new ways to employ them. The Cantle Report came with the conclusion that Oldham MBC has made a big improvement in diversifying its workforce since 2001. They try to look at the diverse workforce as a benefit which can attract many investors from Greater Manchester (Cantle 55). Local authorities in multicultural areas should adopt this attitude and they should turn the cosmopolitanism and diversity of the community into the advantage.
V. 1. 6. Conclusion
To conclude with, it is important to stress that the 2001 disturbances pointed at the segregation that was practised in the areas of social life. They pointed at the problems which were not given attention in the past and thus encouraged the authorities to take them seriously and bring about the change. There have been many committees set up, many surveys and debates made on the issue of race riots which came up with many proposals suggestions and recommendations concerning the issue of race relations, social cohesion, housing, education, and economy. It is important to add that after the riots broke out and these problems were identified, they cannot be solved overnight. One of the aims of this work was to discuss the recommendations that have been outlined during the research of the deprived areas after the riots. The cities might be encouraged by the progress they have achieved so far, as was shown in the case of Oldham, and they should further implement many proposals to bring about the improvement. While building new communities, the role of a cultural identity is very important. People coming from different ethnic backgrounds are different and this should be respected in a liberal society. Multicultural societies should realize these differences and accept them, but they should not only emphasise the distinctive characteristics but they should also look for the values they share and have in common. Such a recognition would be crucial for peaceful living in a diverse society.