Source: The New Straits Times
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, December 16, 2000: Birmingham and Leicester have found themselves in a demographic race to become the first British city with a majority non-white population. In Leicester, with a population of 270,500, the ethnic minority population is expected to surpass its white counterparts as early as 2011. Birmingham is not far behind. Both cities have large Asian communities from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as a substantial African and Afro-Caribbean residents. Currently, 45 percent of the school children in Leicester are from ethnic minorities. The 1991 census showed that Leicester had the largest non-white population in Britain with 28 percent. It was followed by Birmingham (21 percent), London (20 percent) and Bradford (19 percent). According to Operation Black Vote, a London-based organization that is trying to encourage ethnic minorities to participate in politics, the trend indicates the overall population mix will shift in a similar direction. It is estimated that this shift will take at least 50 years. Black and ethnic minority residents currently make up around seven percent of Britain's 57 million population. While such developments can be positive, bridging the racial, cultural and religious barriers can be a challenge. Intra-racial tension, unheard of in the past, is often a threat to the harmonious interaction between minorities. There is a marked difference between Africans who are obsessed with education and self-improvement and their Afro-Caribbean brothers who are considered less ambitious by the Africans. Divisions can be seen in the Indian community as people divide according to their faith -- Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. The Chinese also find disparity in those who come from mainland China and the overseas Chinese who come from Hong Kong, The United States, Singapore and other countries. Even if all traces of white racism were to disappear, minorities must still contend with inter-ethnic prejudices.