The Daily Express: overtly racist for some time

Today's Express front page is shocking in it's overt racism. The use of the term 'ethnic', the open scaremongering about the ethnicity of people that hasn't been hidden behind nail-chewing about strain on public services that a total increase in poulation will spark, the absence of focusing on what immigrants allegedly do and the lack of the 'culture' figleaf to hide real concerns about brown people behind are all surprising on a front page. But overt racism is nothing new in the Express, and started to appear at least as far back as 2007.

Then, the paper published an article headlined 'Ethnic baby boom 'crisis'', which took a report by Sheffield Council that examined how the city could maintain its good record of community cohesion when faced with a growing ethnic minority population and turned it into evidence that 'simmering tensions could erupt in riots similar to those that have blighted Bradford and Oldham' unless 'drastic action' was taken. The 'crisis' in the headline was wrappen in mendacity quotes, since the word wasn't mentioned once in the report. It was the first time I'd seen 'tensions' and the prospect of riots blamed squarely on the presence of ethnic minorities.

Since then, the Express has received open praise from the BNP for its reporting about immigration related issues ('Thank you, Daily Express - it’s good to see that you have finally caught up with us.' here via the magic of the Wayback Machine) in coverage that continues to be more extreme than the Mail's, even reproducing BNP slogans as front page headlines. The BNP are less than impressed with today's headline because they claim the UK population already has close to 20% ethnic minority population*, but the two are agreed on one thing: 20% of the population being made up of people from ethnic minorities is a bad thing, and something we should be worried about.

This article (illustrated like the 2007 article with pictures of people in full veil), like the one in 2007 and a great number of examples of racist scaremongering stretching back to Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech, displaces its racism by putting it into the mouths of other sources. In the story from 2007, it misrepresented a report by Sheffield Council. Today's front page comes from a study by Leeds University. Leeds University does at least does say that the ethnic minority population will increase to 20% by 2051 - and although there is a difference in that the year is included in the headline and it never uses the pejorative 'ethnic' descriptor for ethnic minorities, we're doing more than just quibbling over the word 'ethnic' here.

The Express includes an editorial based on the front page story, 'Our multi-racial society now needs time to adjust' continues the theme of not disguising racism with concerns about population size, and specifically calls for a halt to immigration because of the number of ethnic minorities in the country. It's no longer a worry about a strain on public services and resources made by the sheer number of people, or a worry about immigrants simultaneously scrounging benefits and stealing jobs, but a worry specifically about their ethnicity.

There's no mention of culture until the last sentence.  Notice the headline says 'multi-ethnic' and not 'multicultural'.  Its the ethnicities of the people involved, not their cultures.

Not convinced? Then there's this:
Nor is there much point in complaining that some of those who were pilloried as racists for claiming that immigrants were “taking over” their neighbourhoods in the Sixties and Seventies were telling the truth – though they were.
And this:
Many immigrant communities and families are making a big contribution to society and are now over-represented in the professions.
Which ones? This is supposed to be the one example of how 'it's not all bad'. Hey, it's not all bad. They're taking all the jobs!

The editorial's argument is a remarkably dishonest one, too. It uses the research from Leeds University to argue that we need to stop immigration to give the country time to adjust to the presence of ethnic minorities already here 'to allow a core common culture that all ethnic groups observe to become established. Britons old and new need time to get to know each other', because apparently:
But at its worst [Britain] is a country of resentful strangers living in close proximity to each other but with little in common.
This is carefully ignoring one of the six main points of the University of Leeds's press release that publicises the study.

Athough the paper manages to mention all five of the other points in its main article, it completely ignores this one:
Ethnic groups to be significantly less segregated from the rest of the population
This is where the paper shows that using the Leeds research is just a front. It's whole editorial is based on a  premise that is not supported by the research it's supposed to be.

So, we need to be worried about the number of 'ethnics'. People who argued that immigrants were taking over their neighbourhoods were right. Many immigrant communities and families are over represented in 'the professions', but others 'have high rates of welfare dependency and criminality'. Britain is a country of resentful strangers with little in common so we need to stop immigration, despite the original research showing that they would be significantly less segragated in future anyway.

Absolutely racist. The paper might be carefully trying to soften it it, but it fails. It's difficult to soften racism when your trying to scaremonger about the number of people from other races, since, you know, that's part of what racism is. The Express retains its title as the most explicitly racist of all the national newspapers.

*One of the BNP's main arguments is that the University of Leeds' research is wrong because the ethnic minority population ws 8% in 2001 and not now, which it considers to be some major revelation. "According to the study, by 2051, 79 percent of British people will be classed as white, compared with 92 percent now," it says.

The title of the research is 'Ethnic population projections for the UK and local areas, 2001-2051', so well done the BNP. You've really exposed some major flaws there.

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