Pictured Above: the ocean front of Mumbai.
Diversity offers many benefits to communities, but it appears as if one of its costs is an erosion of free expression and intellectual honesty.
An English councillor (which is our equivalent of an alderman) was harshly criticized and forced to apologize after sending out an e-mail that stated that "Indians need to be taught that throwing litter out of their windows is unacceptable."
The reason this struck a chord with me is that I owned a condo in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, on multiple occasions I personally witnessed Indo-Pakistani tenants throw garbage off the balcony.
When I brought this up to a progressive associate of mine, they did everything possible to avoid honestly exploring the possibility that (in spite of some very good things about Indo-Pakistani culture) littering and a lack of respect for public space are problems with many Indo-Pakistanis. The 1st response was "well, maybe there weren't any garbage cans...," which was simply not true. The 2nd response was "well, you're racist...," a claim that was inaccurate and irrelevant to the discussion.
The occurrence in England and the discussed with my progressive associate shows that not only does diversity make honest dialogue between groups extremely difficult, but it encourages a self censorship and an avoidance of intellectually honest exploration of social phenomena. And the irony is that the aggressive campaigns in India that seek to address the attitudes of Indians in regards to littering could not occur in politically correct England. So, at the end of the day, celebrating diversity may spare some feelings, but it certainly doesn't lead to cleaner streets...
Tory councillor 'sorry' she blamed Indians for litter thrown out of the windows:
By Arthur Martin and Tamara Cohen
June 11, 2008
Tory councillor was forced to apologise today after blaming immigrants for littering.
Lucy Ivimy, who sits on Hammersmith & Fulham council, was accused of racism after sending an email calling for Indians to be taught that throwing rubbish from windows is "not acceptable behaviour".
But local residents at Woodford Court estate, a high-rise tower block in Shepherd's Bush, said there was no proof that Indian immigrants were responsible for tossing rubbish from windows into the communal gardens below.
The littering prompted Miss Ivimy, 53, to send an email to housing officials following a residents' association meeting in which she wrote: "I think we need to a) sort out some regular cleaning up of the garden and b) conduct an educational-exercise to tell people not to throw stuff out of the window - particularly foreign-born residents.
"I know that in India throwing rubbish out of a window and total disregard for the cleanliness of a public area is normal behaviour and I dare say a number would change behaviour if firmly told that in London this is not acceptable behaviour."
The email drew widespread criticism from opposition councillors and residents on the estate.
Stephen Cowan, leader of the Labour group on the council, said Miss Ivimy had no proof to back up her claims. He said: "Across the board it's a minority of residents who throw rubbish out of windows and leave it in corridors. They are from all backgrounds. It is completely wrong to say it is just people from India. All this shows is her inherent prejudice."
Dang Sakares, 51, who has lived in the block for eight years, said: "I've never seen people throwing rubbish out of the windows."
Resident Ramesh Chandra, 61, a retired tailor originally from India, said he would never throw rubbish out of a window. He added: "What a stupid thing to say. She's a racist and she's ignorant."
Former Royal Marine, Richard Pell, 38, added: "She should be kicked out of office. There's a problem with rubbish because the council is not collecting it, not because of one race of people."
Residents pointed out that families living in the tower block are mainly from Afro-Caribbean, Chinese and eastern European backgrounds and that there were only a handful of Indian families living there.
Deana Maddix, chairman of the residents' association, said: "We don't know who is throwing the rubbish, that's the whole point. We would never mention any race, this is all lies." The council has recently put up signs pleading with residents not to throw rubbish into Tenant's Hall Garden below.
The notice reads: "You are dirtying your own area and affecting the enjoyment of the hall for everybody, including your neighbours."
Last night Miss Ivimy, who lives in a £1.2 million house in the Brackenbury Village area of Hammersmith, was forced to apologise.
She said: "This was a hastily written, ill-thought out, stupid, personal email. On reflection of course I can see how the comments may be offensive.
"That was never my intention and therefore I apologise. My absolute priority is to improve our estates and thus improve the lives of tenants and leaseholders."
In the email, Miss Ivimy said the residents' association should not be responsible for picking up all the rubbish, which includes 'used condoms and other delights'.
She went on: 'I think we need to a) sort out some regular cleaning up of the garden and b) conduct an educational exercise to tell people not to throw stuff out of the window - particularly foreign born residents.
'I know that in India, throwing rubbish out of a window and total disregard for the cleanliness of a public area is normal behaviour and I dare say a number would change behaviour if firmly told that in London this is not acceptable behaviour.'
Stephen Cowan, leader of the Labour group on the council, said Miss Ivimy had no proof to back up her claims.
'Across the board it's a minority of residents who throw rubbish outside of windows and leave it in corridors,' he added.
'They are from all backgrounds and there is continuous education about what is acceptable behaviour, but it is completely wrong to say it is just people from India and all this shows is her inherent prejudice.
Residents on the estate were also critical of her remarks. Claudia Harriott, a 28-year-old midwifery student, said: 'I don't know why she is singling out Indians as there are dozens of different nationalities in this block but I've only ever seen one or two Indian families.
Dang Sakares, 51, who has lived in the block for eight years, added: 'I've never seen people throwing rubbish out of the windows. In fact, I don't think I've seen any Indian people in this block.
Deana Maddix, chairman of the residents association, said: 'We don't know who is throwing rubbish, that's the whole point. We would never mention any race, this is all lies.
Miss Ivimy lives with her partner in a £1.2million Georgian house in the affluent Brackenbury Village area of Hammersmith. She won her seat in a 2005 by-election. She said last night: 'This was a hastily written, ill thought out, stupid, personal email.
'On reflection of course I can see how the comments may be offensive. That was never my intention and therefore I apologise.
'My absolute priority is to improve our estates and thus improve the lives of tenants and leaseholders. I will continue to do everything I can to achieve that.