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Multiculturalism & Ethnic Policy Database

(Through mid-2007: 400,000 records; 200,000 fulltext records.) The Multiculturalism & Ethnic Policy Database is a bibliographic and fulltext database that provides subject coverage of ethnic policy (government and social policies to manage inter-ethnic and inter- racial relations) and multiculturalism issues worldwide.

Subjects covered:

Tolerance, xenophobia, minority policy, gender policy, language policy, new religions, tribal and indigenous peoples issues, federalism, sociobiology, nationalism, human rights, rights of dissidents, gay & lesbian issues, refugees, political asylum and immigration, AIDS, caste, Human Trafficking, slavery, poverty, and apartheid, social and political development, and provides detailed documentation of United Nations conferences on multiculturalism including the UN World Conference Against Racism. Multiculturalism is the a central concern of governments and universities worldwide and this would be the first database to address the question. All Reference databases are designed to provide easy bibliographic and fulltext access to journals, newspapers, conference proceedings, press releases, books, manuals, magazines, and ephemera.

All Reference databases are constantly expanded and enriched, both with additional records from journals that have been abstracted for many years, but also from new journals, new sources and new books, whether by abstracts or fulltext.

Multiculturalism/Ethnic Policy Database Sample Abstract 1

Evans, Robert

"UN Rights Chief Sees Bigotry In Europe On Islam", in Reuters Newswire, September 17, 2007.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Monday that bigotry and prejudice, especially in regard to Muslims, were common in Europe and called on governments to tackle the issue. The remarks from the former Canadian Supreme Court judge, which came in the wake of similar charges issued last week by a UN rights investigator, were quickly challenged by a leading global non-religious grouping. The report by investigator Doudou Diene of Senegal documented what he called an alarming rise in intolerance, and in particular Islamophobia, in European countries, and Arbour said, "I have no reason not to share his concerns." Europeans "are shocked at times when it is pointed out that bigotry, prejudice and stereotyping is still sometimes very present in their attitude to others," she said. Diene's work, she declared, highlighted "a challenge for Western countries that needs to be addressed."

Roy Brown, past president of the International Humanist & Ethical Union (IHEU) which groups non-religious organizations around the globe said Arbour was "just plain wrong." "The little regrettable hostility that does exist among indigenous Europeans has not arisen in a vacuum, but as a reaction to Islamic extremism -- demonization of Jews, infidels and homosexuals and contempt for Western culture," said Brown, the IHEU's representative at the UN's Human Rights Council.

Diene's report said Islamophobia and equating Islam with terrorism created a climate favoring racial and religious hate. But it also criticized Islamic states for their treatment of non-Muslim minorities and for refusing to recognize the right of people born into Islam to change their religion. Diene pointed to the recent appearance of a cartoon in a provincial Swedish newspaper that governments of Islamic countries say offended their religion as an example of abuse of the right of free speech to sow suspicion of Muslims. He also hit out at Switzerland over perceived anti-immigrant campaigning by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC). European countries in the Council responded in low-key to his "Islamophobia" charges.

Geographic Descriptors: Canada, Europe, Israel, Non-Muslims, Senegal, Sweden

Subject Descriptors: Censorship, Ethnic Policy, Gay & Lesbian Rights, Hate Crimes, Human Rights, Islam, Islamophobia, Jews, Multiculturalism, Muslims, NGO, Political Cartoons, Political Parties, Religious Conversion, Terrorism

Corporate Descriptors: IHEU, International Humanist & Ethical Union, UNHRC, UN Human Rights Council, SVP, Swiss Peoples Party

Named Persons: Brown, Roy [UK]; Arbour, Louise [Canada]; Diene, Doudou [Senegal]

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Multiculturalism/Ethnic Policy Database Sample Abstract 2

Myers, Kevin

"The Problem Isn't Racism, It's The Tidal Wave Of Immigrants", in Irish Independent (Dublin), September 5, 2007.

All right, you know about the Government's latest move to outlaw beggars? Do you really think it's really about beggars? It isn't. It's about immigrant-beggars, who now throng our streets. We could, of course, deal with the substantive matter, that of immigration itself, but instead we prefer to deal with its symptoms and in the usual cowardly way in which we address anything which is a little difficult or embarrassing.

Immigration is now not merely the dominant feature of Irish life, it is the greatest threat to the existence of the Irish nation as a coherent, and cohesive whole. No country has ever accepted, never mind assimilated, the volumes of foreigners now present in this state. We have some 400,000 legal immigrants; but everyone knows that the army of illegals, especially Africans and Chinese, is vast, and probably tops 200,000. In all, Ireland has received at least 600,000 immigrants, most of them within the past five years. It could be many more. No one has the least idea. In the US, such immigration would translate into an inward population movement of 45 million. In the UK, the figure would be nine million. Needless to say, neither state would be so idiotic or feckless as allow such vast numbers to enter. Only Ireland would be so idiotic and so morally lethargic as to allow such massive inward population movements. And of course, we haven't got the resources to cope with the consequences of such an influx. But worse than our lack of resources, is our lack of courage in confronting the issue.

We do not have policies, but inept evasiveness: and perhaps worst of all, we have a posturing gallery of home-grown jackanapes ready to shriek "racism" wherever and whenever they see that things are not going quite the way that immigrants want. Thus, on any discussion on RTE, especially from its newsroom, immigrants are never held responsible for choosing to come here. Instead, we hear endless complaints that Irish institutions had not prepared themselves properly for their arrival.

On the News at One on Monday, African after African in Balbriggan complained there were no places for their children in the existing local schools. Not once was the question posed: what was the real reason for the Africans not having places in schools? Answer: they'd only just come here. Instead, Africans who were just off the boat were allowed to accuse us of racism for not having school places awaiting their children.

There's also the Paddy-factor in all this. It's impossible for any outsider to understand that this state is almost pathologically incapable of planning anything. This is the land of the Red Cow Roundabout and motorways without service stations, rest stops or toilets. So how could we be expected seven years ago to have planned school-building projects in north county Dublin for Africans as yet unborn? If blaming ourselves for our failure to plan for Africa's educational needs were not fatuous enough, some poor spokeswoman from the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin had to defend the Catholic Church against an RTE journalist's accusations of bigotry. Naturally, in this unprincipled liberal Ireland, for the Catholic Church to insist that Catholic schools have a primary duty to educate Catholics is nowadays both racist and sectarian. But of course, no one on RTE would ever dream of proposing that Islamic madrasahs should take in Jewish, Catholic or Hindu pupils: in the new Ireland, the only people who are expected to bend their own rules are the Irish Catholic majority.

Accompanying this presumption is the pious and all-prevalent dogma that immigrants will on arrival abandon ancient loyalties, and will promptly don a Hibernian mantle: hence the brainless cliche, wittered endlessly by journalists and politicians alike, "the New Irish". Sorry. This is conceited gibberish. Why would a Pole surrender something which the Polish people have fought for a thousand years to retain? Why the presumption that an Asian Muslim who lives in Ireland is in any way Irish? My mother lived most of her life in England, but never for a second thought of herself as English. The media should be asking the big question, 'Why are we still admitting hundreds of thousands of immigrants?'

Instead, we are obsessing with the relatively trivial question of: Are the Irish people, who after all have admitted vast armies of strangers to their national home, racist? This is self-hatred at its most pathetic, and its most self-defeating. Whether Irish people are "racist" is irrelevant. We have created a society whose apparent cohesiveness is totally dependent on immigration-fueled economic growth. That growth must one day come to an end. Then what, in Darndale, Coolock, or even Balbriggan?

Geographic Descriptors: Africa, New Europe, New Irish, Ireland, Old Europe, Old Irish, PRC, Poland

Subject Descriptors: Catholics, Cultural Relations, Education, Ethnic Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Immigration-Ireland, Jews, Multiculturalism, Muslims, Population

Corporate Descriptors: Roman Catholic Church

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Multiculturalism/Ethnic Policy Sample Primary Document

World Prout Assembly; Ramagundam, Rahul

Caste Conflict Hurting Schooling For Dalits. Kolkata: World Prout Assembly (www.worldproutassembly.net), December 6, 2006.

Abstract: In a number of dalit settlements in Gaya, Bihar, there are school structures but no teachers. In some places, where there are both, as in Parariya village, the dominant Yadavs make intrusive and insulting remarks that do not provide a facilitating environment. Rahul Ramagundam reports.

6 December 2006 - Samphul Devi (name changed) is an agitated woman. "The Yadavs", she gestures, "tell us that we are to plough fields and not send our children to schools. One who eats dirty pigs is not entitled to study in schools, they say." Samphul Devi is a dalit-Bhuiyan and lives in Bihar's Gaya district. Loitering with pigs, catching fish in muddied, stagnant pool of water is the main day time engagement of children of her rural community. It is a state of affairs that Yadavs, a middle caste, relatively prosperous land holding community, wants to be continued. Samphul Devi, herself an illiterate, wants it to be changed; hence the contestation and the agitation.

Those Yadavs hindering the cause of the Harijan school are concerned with the resource crunch they might face if the Musahars too get some semblance of education and therefore refuse to work in their fields on un-favourable terms.

The dalits of Gaya, including Musahars, constitute 30% of the total district population. They are the poorest and also the most reviled community. All over Gaya, left intellectuals and landlords, politicians and worn-out NGO activists, media-personnel and the common urban man assert that Musahars are poor because they lack a vision of the future. They say that the Musahars are content to live in the present and do not trouble themselves with the thought of tomorrow.

Take Eighty-four year old Dwarko Sundrani, the doyen of voluntary institutions in Bodh Gaya and one whose activist life span is spread over half a century, asks 'Ek musahar kitni door dekh sakta hai?' How far can a Musahar see? He himself answers the query. 'Jitni uski thali hai!' Only till the inner circumference of his dining plate! A Musahar, Sundrani is saying, is culturally encumbered to see no more than his immediate food, by implication his own immediate need. 'Musahars', the venerable Sundrani, says, 'are a people with no morality, no culture, no truth, and they are extremely meek'. The women are loose and can offer sexual favours at the price of one meal. The men are thieves and liars. Cheddi Prasad, a former activist of the defunct Chatra Yuva Sangarsh Vahini and now running an NGO, says, 'it has remained a mystery to me why a Musahar cannot develop an attachment to his own things.'

When prejudices are distilled into comprehensible terms, they are more a stereotype construction of a poor community who are not allowed to speak for itself or heard of. According to this stereotype, hardness of their hearts and laziness of their ways, their slothful bodies and sluggish mind, cunning practices and drunkard habits, wasteful revelries and shirking work ethics, explain the wretchedness of Musahars. They share no emotional relationships; they have no accumulative traits or thinking faculty and shamelessly line up for free-bees.

These are not just prejudices against a particular community; they are an engrained social construction of a marginalised community that declaims a possible participation of the dalits into resource-use rivalries or access to empowering opportunities that the state provides.

School is one such community resource provided by the benevolent state, however insufficient in number and inadequate in quality it might be. In a number of lower caste settlements in Gaya, inhabited by people earlier bonded under the Kamauti system and later the beneficiaries of the Bhudan movement, there are school structures but no teachers. Where there are both, as in the Parariya village of the Mohanpur block, which has a Harijan primary school located amidst the tola (hamlet) of the Musahars, the dominant caste, the Yadavs, of the village make intrusive and insulting remarks that do not provide a facilitating environment.

At the Parariya village, where Samphul Devi and her Harijan tola women is engaged in a duel with Yadav men of the same village, contestation is about the resource-use rights and exclusionary principles. Can exclusion be perpetual?, is the question that dalit women are asking. The Village Sikcha Committee, an education committee mostly comprising of parents of pupils, is an initiative that attempts to make schooling accountable to society. The committee does not have Yadavs in it, and yet they wield enough influence to derail the midday meal scheme. They have thwarted a new construction of the school building of a designated Harijan School which is located in Harijan tola. The Harijan school is a government affirmative action initiative primarily meant for scheduled caste population in an area predominantly populated by scheduled caste. (Harijan is name mostly in use in government parlance for scheduled castes, a Gandhian legacy.) The Yadavs filled up the trenches each time it was dug up for erecting the walls of the new school building. They contend that the Harijan School should be built in their tola.

Most Musahar women say that the Yadavs talk with their lathi and continuously threaten and abuse them. The Musahar women have tried to go to the district magistrate Jitendra Srivastava to make a representation, but they have failed repeatedly due to the official's absence. Other officials do not listen. The Harijan school teacher, Padmakar Pathak, a Brahmin man, is harassed by Yadavs for taking sides of Musahars. The Musahar women and the Brahmin teacher have bonded well to face the subversive intransigence of the Yadav neighbours. The Yadavs are pooling resources and mobilizing their social network to get the belligerent teacher transferred. They have even threatened the teacher with dire consequences, if he plays a more pro-active role on behalf of the Musahars.

Violence can be more pronounced if Musahar men get involved. The Musahar men therefore are silent spectators to unfolding war of attrition between their women and Yadav community. In any case, most Musahar men are non-resident villagers. They are mostly are migrant labourers who go from Gaya town to Delhi city and other cities in search of livelihood. In the absence of the men, the forward line in this contestation for hegemony is occupied by the Musahar women. The Musahar women also have more stake as they not only live in the village but also work in Yadav fields. Somehow, they also understand the meaning of education better than their man folk.

The Yadavs are the middle caste that has received the most of the political empowerment in recent times, and are engaged in a battle of supremacy with the dalits. Their new fangled status, however, does not collide much with the upper castes who wielded such power before. But a combination of factors such as the false consciousness of being the ruling elite and having the feeling that their acts will be condoned by an increasingly subverted administration makes their dominance almost overbearing.

The conflict is likely because of resource-use rivalry than about castes. Those Yadavs who are hindering the cause of the Harijan school are in fact concerned with the resource crunch they might face if the Musahars too get some semblance of education and therefore refuse to work in their fields on un-favourable terms. The high rate of migration from Gaya's villages has already made small landowners prone to hardships. Their small landholdings and resources do not permit the use of machinery on their farms.

The conflict is also about the control of the productive assets. A chunk of Bhudan land, roughly the size of a basketball court, is lying fallow in the village is under contestation. The Bindeswar Yadav family (name changed) wants to control that land for personal benefit. In every village some land that was gifted during the Bhudan movement for distribution among the poor, landless, in the 1950s, were retained as community land on which, later, school or other such public space could be built. Bindeswar Yadav has bought a piece of land adjoining the Bhudan land on which the school is to be constructed. They are eying the Bhudan land for personal aggrandisement.

If the school is constructed, the land will go to the community. It is this which is the main contention. The Yadav family is using all possible tactics including to boast of connections with dominant Yadav state politicians, and their ability to mobilize a subverted and acquiescing administration. In addition, dalits have been alleging for sometime that the Yadavs control the Maoist Coordination Centre, a militant organisation. Can an aggregate of dispossessed women, eking out an existence that draws sustenance from the resource base of the adversary, succeed in building a future for their children that is less malevolent?

(Rahul Ramagundam is an activist-scholar. His forthcoming book, Freedom's Fabric: A History Of Gandhi's Khadi, is being published by Orient Longman in 2007. This article is part of a series on education sponsored by Aide-et-Action India, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making education the lever for development.) (The World Prout Assembly is a non-profit organization affiliated with Proutist Universal Global Headquarters, Kolkata, India. One World, One Humanity, One Family!)

Geographic Descriptors: Bihar, Brahmins, Dalits, Harijans, India, Musahars, Yadavs

Subject Descriptors: Caste, Dissidents, Education, Human Rights, Poverty, Rural Development, Rural-Urban Migration, Villages

Corporate Descriptors: World Prout Assembly

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