“Diversity is a beautiful thing”: the view from Leicester and Birmingham | Census

Leicester and Birmingham have become the UK’s first ‘super-diverse’ cities, where most people are of Black, Asian or Minority (BAME) origin, according to the 2021 census.

A total of 59% of Leicester’s residents are from ethnic minorities, while 51% of Birmingham’s population are people of color, as is 54% in Luton, the data shows. In England and Wales, 18% of people are BAME.

John Cotton, a Labor adviser, said Birmingham’s ethnic diversity was a “real strength”, although the step came as no surprise.

“At the end of the day, people make a city, people make a home, and that city and that home are one here in Birmingham – and that’s something we pride ourselves on being: a welcoming home. for everyone who comes here.”

Although the census confirmed what Birmingham council already knew about the composition of the population, it said the data was “crucial” in informing central government when allocating resources so the city could achieve ” our fair share of funding and support, so everyone has a chance to thrive and succeed.”

Black and minority populations in Leicester, Luton and Birmingham – map

Dr Chris Zembe, a lecturer in history at De Montfort University in Leicester, specializing in colonial and post-colonial history and the African diaspora, said Leicester was so diverse because of “evolving political will to accept immigrants from outside the borders of Europe”.

“Welcoming and promoting integration – not assimilation – has enabled the city to be a melting pot of cultures, where cultural diversity is celebrated, making Leicester a global city in mutual respect for our differences,” said he declared.

Next year the university is carrying out a project marking 30 years since the murder of Stephen Lawrence in London through its Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, which focuses on the experiences of marginalized people, institutionalized racism and racial violence . Professor Lisa Palmer, from the centre, said the census data showed ‘now, more than ever, all national institutions, in education, health and employment, must take seriously the issue of race and racism in order to tackle deep-rooted forms of inequality in society”.

An example of Leicester’s ‘melting pot of cultures’ is the Prana cafe in the city centre, run by couple Sukh and Andie Johal. The vegan cafe employs staff from South Korea, Turkey, South Africa and Thailand, as well as a mix of people born and raised in Leicester, including Sukh himself. “Since day one, we have always been very diverse. That’s naturally how it happened. When we start to come together, that’s where the problems and the divisions are,” Sukh said. “I think diversity is a beautiful thing.”

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