In Britain, social and ethnic division is a plain fact. Ethnic minority populations concentrate in particular areas. Although mixed-race marriages are on the rise, they still comprise only 2% of all marriages. For the most part, people mix and marry with people mainly of their own cultural background, as determined by a combination of country, family origin or religion.
Britain is a patchwork of almost hermetically sealed sub-worlds, in which class as much as race is a crucial factor. We all like to feel that we are open-minded people who can be friends with anyone, and we can also probably find a few examples of friends who do not match our demographic profile to prove our lack of insularity. But if we are honest, the vast majority live, work and socialise overwhelmingly with people of a similar social type. And the opportunities to mix are limited because many areas remain deeply inhospitable to “outsiders”.
Besides, well-intentioned promotion of multiculturalism can actually exacerbate the paranoid feeling of Britishness being under threat. When people are informed by local and national governments that they ought to embrace minority cultures more than they do, they feel they are being told that their own way of life simply isn’t good enough.
This is all clearly bad news for optimistic multiculturalists, and some will think that it suggests a negative view of human nature. On this view, the best we can hope for is little tension between communities by means of mutual tolerance. But toleration implies putting up with something you don’t much like, not embracing difference.
Julian Baggini, The Guardian, 23-1-2007
READING COMPREHENSIONI. Answer the following questions using your own words but taking into account the information in the text.
a. Which facts indicate that Britain is socially and ethnically divided?
- There are two fact:one(mixed-race marriages comprise Orly 2%)and two(most people mix and marry…background).
II. Are the following statements true (T) or false (F)? Identify the part of the text that supports
your answer by copying the exact words on the answer sheet.
a. In Britain people prefer to mix with people of similar backgrounds.
III. Find a synonym for each of the four words below from these six options:
plain on the rise mainly vast similar deeply
IV. Choose a, b, or c, in each question below. Only one choice is correct.
1. Britain is…
- a) a collection of sub-worlds that never mix.
- b) a collection of sub-worlds that hardly ever mix.
- c) a collection of sub-worlds that often mix.
- a) some people socialise with socially similar people.
- b) most people socialise with socially similar people.
- c) few people socialise with socially similar people.
- a) makes British people feel that Britishness is not good.
- b) makes British people feel that minority cultures have to be suppressed.
- c) makes British people feel that Britain is multicultural.