Cultural Integration in Oldham is Not Working


Oldham, 2001


I was raised as a Christian. I was brought up taught to treat others with fairness, and with the kind of respect you’d expect to receive. I was taught colour of skin does not dictate behaviour. I was taught this in school, and it was engrained through parenting.


I’m nearly 30. I’m intelligent, open-minded and able to make informed decisions. I’m also knowledgeable enough to see things around me for what they are.


Oldham is a broken town. It contains two separate communities, living side by side but engaging with each other as little as possible. These are: the white community, and the Asian community. It really breaks down as being that- um- “black and white”.


I’ve always been opposed to racism and any other form of prejudice, just because of my upbringing, and- having done a LOT of bar work in Oldham, I’ve been exposed to a vast amount of racist attitudes from the white people of the town. I avoid going to Oldham as much as possible now, but that’s difficult when you work and live there. I’ve managed to stay away from the main bar strip for a year and counting, which I’m very proud of. I still believe that you should treat people with politeness until they give you a reason not to, but- crucially- the Asian community is giving me those reasons. And the reasons have been there for a long time. I’ve just not noticed them, until late. Take a look at Pigsticker, an irate Oldham resident who loves to shout about all the shit he isn’t happy with in his neighbourhood. He’s noticed this as well.  


A few people I know read this blog, and they say he can’t decide whether he’s a political genius or some troglodyte with a web browser and open under a separate tab to flesh out his insane ramblings. I have the feeling he’s dumbing his writing down to mask a career in journalism at some point. He sure knows how to find information!


Anyway. I’ve always been opposed to racism, but…


Pigsticker has a point. Walk out of Oldham centre down Lees Road, and you get to Clarksfield. It’s a dump, and there’s litter all over the streets. The houses’ paintwork is flaking off, there’s old mattresses and sofas dumped in ungardened gardens, and large families congregate outside the houses- families way too large to be comfortably living in a small terraced establishment.


This is one of the areas populated almost totally by the Asian community. Walk past this into Salem, and the streets are instantly cleaner. The houses are nicer. There’s more greenery. You’re in a white area. Now, the houses probably cost more here, so if you can’t afford to live in Salem, your house isn’t going to be a semi-detached new-builds with brickwork driveways, is it? But…


I’m broke as shit, I live in a council flat somewhere in Oldham, and my (white) area is fine. It’s modest as fuck, and these buildings around my area won’t have gone up much longer after those in Clarksfield- they’re smaller, in fact- but we leave our rubbish and recycling out on the right days, we have a reasonable number of people living in each home, and if we have excess rubbish to dispose of we take it to the tip, you know?


A further point that needs mentioning: If you open the Oldham Chronicle or the Manchester Evening News, you’ll- once in a while- find that someone has been sent down for supplying or dealing heroin. More often than not, you’ll find that the perpetrators are Asian.


Don’t believe me?……………


These examples came on PAGE 1 of “about 5,910,000 results” according to Google. So the vast majority WILL be completely irrelevant, but how much evidence do you need to see that this issue needs addressing?


Now, heroin is a derirative of the opium poppy. Poppies grow… Yep. In Asia. Wikipedia states that the top two places for cultivation of poppies for heroin is Afghanistan and Pakistan. (yes, I know Wikipedia can be unreliable. Disprove it).


The town of Oldham will continue to exist with this gaping cultural fissure between it, with whites on one side and Asians on the other. The University of Manchester has very kindly compiled this demographic breakdown of the town’s population.…


Take a look at page 3. White people are having less children than Asian children. Okay: it is what it is. If this trend continues, there will eventually be a tipping point where Oldham is mostly Asian- but we’ll all be dead by then. Question: should this be a problem?


Perhaps. A close relative of mine has worked in early years education in Oldham. She works with children from both the white and Asian community, and claims that there are LOADS of Asian children starting school with a whole range of learning and behavioural difficulties. When someone from the schools asked the parents whether inbreeding could be a factor in the children’s difficulties, the answer was apparently, “No, it’s not because of that”. Now, to me, that isn’t actually a denial that inbreeding is happening. In fact, it’s somewhat of a clumsy admittance, if my relative is quoting accurately.


This has been happening for some time. Take a look at this article- again, it’s from the Daily Mail, but it’s backed up with credible sources.


So SEVEN YEARS ago, we were warned that “Research for BBC2’s Newsnight in November 2005 showed British Pakistanis accounted for 3.4 per cent of all births but have 30 per cent of all British children with recessive disorders.” Yet this still hasn’t been addressed! This is YOUR taxes coming into play. This is YOUR problem, regardless of your ethinicity. Why?


These inbred Asian children- let’s make no bones about what they are- will grow up with genetic deficiencies, a reduced immune system and a range of learning difficulties. This will put a greater strain on the teaching system as these children are held back. When they reach adulthood, they will already have been labelled- fairly enough- as disabled. (A disability is something that has a long-term detremental effect on the sufferer’s day-to-day activities.) So what will this result in?

  1. a
    greater burden on support departments in every school, meaning
    non-disabled pupils are held back

  2. more
    work for the NHS as these children are assessed and advised

  3. more
    practical and financial support for these children as they grow,
    both through childhood and into adulthood

  4. More
    challenges to the two communities as understandings are strained.

  5. And
    finally, guess where the money for all this comes from? Yes, YOU!
    The hard-working people whose taxes make up a third of your wage,
    the lucky ones out of you who actually manage to find and keep a job
    when the population has ballooned past 62 million and shows no
    chance of reducing, yet the job market is showing every chance of
    doing just that.


So- the question remains: Am I racist? Or is this a fair description of Oldham and the cultural challenges we face as inhabitants, on both sides? Or, have I been blinkered by right-wing propoganda, and actually we’re all identical proles doing what we need to to survive within our circumstances?


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