lørdag den 11. februar 2012

In memoriam - Ray Honeyford

Ray Honeyford døde forleden 77 år gammel. Han er blevet symbolet på,den problemematik, som Leo Mckinstry beskriver glimrende i Daily Mail:

In the name of promoting tolerance, race-fixated zealots exercise the most extreme intolerance, suppressing free debate and indulging in witch-hunts against anyone who dissents from their creed of multi-cultural diversity. 

Artiklen fra Daily Mail er glimrende, men bedre er den artikel, som Theodore Dalrymple skrev for år tilbage. Der er allerede fuld gang i mytedannelsen omkring Ray Honeyford, for eksempel her på BBC. hvor opfattelsen er - eller mikronfonen holdes for en, der mener - at Honeyford kun var ude i et ærinde for at kritisere religion og kultur og ikke talte for praktiske løsninger, såsom at sprede indvandrerbørnene på flere skoler, så de ikke dannede deres helt egen ghettoskole. Det passer bare ikke, såvel som det heller ikke passer, at Ray Honeyford ønskede at fjerne den oprindelige kultur hos indvandrerne- Han var ovre i at se den melting-pot integration med succes, som de jødiske indvandrere stod for, som det forbillede, de muslimske indvandrere burde følge.

The informal ghetto that separates the races almost as effectively as South Africa’s formal ones nevertheless makes interracial rioting much easier. And in July last year, only a few weeks before September 11, serious riots (the worst in Britain for 20 years) did in fact break out in Bradford and other similar northern English cities, such as Blackburn and Oldham. White gangs clashed with Pakistani ones, indulging for several days in the pleasures of looting and arson, under the comforting illusion that they were fighting for a cause. The young whites believed themselves to have been dispossessed of something by the young Muslims, without the young Muslims believing that they had inherited anything from the young whites. Both groups were united in—though not, of course, by—their resentment.

One man was not at all surprised at this outbreak of inchoate racial fury. He was Ray Honeyford, the headmaster of a middle school in an immigrant area of Bradford in the early 1980s. He knew that the official multiculturalist educational policies that he was expected to implement would sooner or later lead to social disaster such as these riots: and when he repeatedly exposed the folly of these policies in print, the advocates of “diversity”—who maintain that all cultures are equal but that opinions other than their own are forbidden—mounted a vicious and vituperative campaign against him. For at least two years, the Honeyford Affair, as it was known, was a national preoccupation, calling forth endless newspaper and broadcast commentary, the man himself often branded a near-murderous racist and ultimately drummed out of his job. Hell, it seems, hath no fury like a multiculturalist contradicted.

Honeyford’s fundamental ideas were as logical, sensible, and coherent as they were unfashionable. He argued that the 20 percent of Bradford’s population who were Islamic immigrants were in Britain to stay, with no intention of returning home; and that both for their own sake and for Britain’s, they needed to be integrated fully into British society. The children of immigrants needed to feel that they were truly British, if they were to participate fully in the nation’s life; and they could acquire a British identity only if their education stressed the primacy of the English language, along with British culture, history, and traditions.

Honeyford did not believe that the cultural identity necessary to prevent the balkanization of our cities into warring ethnic and religious factions implied a deadening cultural or religious uniformity. On the contrary, he used the example of the Jews (who emigrated to Britain, including to Bradford and nearby Manchester, in substantial numbers at the end of the nineteenth century) as an example of what he meant. Within a generation of arrival, Jews succeeded, despite the initial prejudice against them, in making a hugely disproportionate contribution to the upper reaches of national life as academics, cabinet ministers, entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers, writers and artists. The upkeep of their own traditions was entirely their own affair, and they relied not at all on official patronage or the doctrines of multiculturalism. This was Honeyford’s ideal, and he saw no reason why the formula should not work again, given a chance. (...)

  After his departure as headmaster, Drummond Middle School quickly received a new Urdu name and then was burned down beyond repair by an arsonist, as also happened to a similar, neighboring school, now completely boarded up. All children in the area now go to school in the preternaturally hideous buildings of modern British architecture, whose combination of Le Corbusian functionalism, financial stringency, and bad taste are a complete visual education in brutality. (...)

That the article appeared in The Salisbury Review gave almost as much offense as its content: for in the new, officially diverse Britain, the Review’s brand of cultural conservatism is beyond the pale. The Review’s name hardly ever appears without the qualification that it is rabidly right-wing, thereby implying that no intellectual engagement with the ideas expressed in it is ever necessary—only the kind of opposition appropriate to dealing with brown- and blackshirts. All opinion is free, of course, but some opinions are freer than others. (...)

Honeyford’s article also called into question the unwarranted but widespread assumption that differences in educational achievement between groups reflect unfair discrimination and nothing else. In the Times Educational Supplement, Honeyford had already mentioned the great and growing educational success of some subgroups of Indian immigrants, which he linked to their system of values—with the obvious corollary that the educational failure of other groups was not attributable to British racial prejudice. As a result, a black pressure group in London branded him a “blatant racist” and demanded his dismissal if he did not accept “massive in-service training courses to purge [him] of [his] racist ideology and outlook.”

Finally, and even less forgivably, Honeyford made mention of the plight of another ethnic minority in his school: the white children, who, when the article appeared, made up a mere 5 percent of the pupils. Their education suffered in a school dominated by pupils from non-English-speaking homes, he said, and he suggested that officials disregarded their plight because their parents, ill-educated and inarticulate, had formed no pressure group, and no political capital could be made of them. (Once, in the 1960s, the city council had tried to disperse the children of non-English-speaking immigrants to schools throughout the city, precisely to prevent the development of ghetto schools such as Drummond, but race-relations experts and bureaucrats declared this practice to be discriminatory and therefore stopped it—to Honeyford’s regret.)

He received several death threats, which the police took seriously enough to connect his home by alarm directly to the local police station. (I repeat: he had proposed only that Muslim children should be fully integrated into British society—the very opposite of suggesting that they should be discriminated against or in any way maltreated.) For months, he had to enter his own school under police protection from the small but militant group of pickets that formed outside and grew in size and volume whenever a television camera appeared. A few small children, too young to understand what was at issue, learned from their parents to chant “Ray-cist! Ray-cist!” at him and to hold up denunciatory placards, some with a skull and crossbones above his name. The Bradford Education Authority considered the possibility of a court order against the demonstrators, since children who continued to attend the school were likewise insulted as stooges and sell-outs, but it decided that such an order would only inflame passions further. Thus political extremists learned a valuable lesson: intimidation pays.

 No insult was deemed too scurrilous to hurl at Honeyford. A press release issued by an extremist group calling itself the Bradford Drummond Parents’ Support Group is a case in point: “One wonders,” it read, “whether Mr. Honeyford will be the next person to be advocating bird shots [sic] fired at the black children at the school.” Several months into the affair, Honeyford’s employer, the Bradford Education Authority, ordered him to attend a kind of public trial in a local college on the charge of disloyalty. Fortunately, the eminent lawyer representing him argued so vigorously that those intending to convict him had to acquit him.

The campaign against Honeyford disregarded entirely the fact that no complaint had ever been received about his competence as a teacher, or the fact that there were always far more applications to his school (mainly by Muslim parents) than there were places.

 But it is impossible to meet Honeyford for long without realizing that he is a passionate believer in the redemptive power of education and in the duty of schools to give the children of immigrants the same educational opportunities as everyone else. His only regret about the affair was that it drastically shortened his teaching career. It is a tribute to the power of Orwellian language that a man who believes these things should successfully have been labeled a racist.

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