Posted By: June 10, 2015

Brian Feeney. Irish News ( Belfast). Tuesday, June 10, 2015

NORTHERN Ireland is 98.2 per cent white. Some people intend to keep it that way. It’s also overwhelmingly populated by those of local origin. Some people intend to keep it that way too.

The result is that the North is the most racist part of these islands and south Belfast enjoys the title of the most racist part of the most racist part of these islands. Police figures show there are more attacks in south Belfast than anywhere else in the north.

In many cases ‘racism’ is the wrong word because you’re just as likely to be attacked if you’re what Americans call ‘white Caucasian’ as if you’re black or Asian.

So Poles, Lithuanians, Hungarians – you name it, anyone different is a target. Patrick Yu, head of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) was therefore quite right to highlight the danger to children of ethnic minorities (especially Muslims) walking through loyalist districts to school and the resultant uproar from Unionist so-called politicians was as predictable as it was ignorant and ill-informed.

One of the ways for hyping up racism is to exaggerate the numbers of ‘foreigners’ and their impact on education and health provision. In this instance Yu’s legitimate concern about merging schools was transposed into rubbish about the standard of education declining if there was an influx of children whose first language isn’t English.

One mother told the BBC, “parents won’t send their kids to mix with new families, because they believe it will hold their education back”. Yeah,  right.

Leave aside the fact than most of the ethnic minority children were born here and speak better English than many of the natives in the districts in question. Let’s have a look at the figures. South Belfast has the highest percentage of non-Christians in the north. Lucky south Belfast. Then look at the figure: 2.8 per cent. Massive eh? South Belfast has the highest percentage of Chinese speakers in the north: 0.76 per cent. Colossal. A clear and present danger to Ar Kulchur [our culture]in the Donegal Road and Sandy Row. In the whole of the North the percentage of black people is, wait for it, 0.2 per cent and of Chinese, 0.35 per cent. That’s because again the North is 98.2 per cent white. It’s a great wee place you see.

An SDLP councillor also jumped on the bandwagon. He said it was important to work hard to change perceptions about racism in the Village. There have been racist attacks, he said, but the blanket condemnation of a whole area is “ugly and hard to remove”. That’ll increase his vote in the Village. Hah.

First, it wasn’t blanket condemnation. Many of those attacking ethnic minorities are organised by the UDA and UVF depending what district it is. Secondly it’s not ‘perception’. What a weasel word. Who tried to drive the Chinese out of Donegall Pass? Why was Anna Lo assaulted in the street? Check the police figures.

Third, it’s up to Unionist leaders, if they exist, to change the image of the place they represent so badly. Instead they’re in denial.

Can no one tell them what they sound like? They make Nigel Farage sound like an apostle of multi-culturalism.

In reality their position isn’t very smart. It’s obvious for anyone to see. As three primary schools are scheduled to merge into one, rather than trying to win the votes of the ethnic minority population they try to hold on to the votes of the Unionist population unionist politicians are scaring away. They do it in the crudest way by whipping up fear and apprehension.

Underlying the unionist hostility to Patrick Yu’s valid objections is the atavistic belief that Northern Ireland  belongs to unionists. The most extreme version of this is couched in daft religious terms to justify it namely the belief that Ulster Protestants are one of the lost tribes of Israel, the sect known as ‘British-Israelites’, a people set apart.

Patrick Yu can take some consolation from the fact that many Unionists don’t want to share the north with anyone. It’s not just hostility to ethnic minorities of any colour or shape. They resist sharing power with the nationalist minority of any shape too.