What on Earth is a ‘global majority’ person?

The National Trust needs to stop importing America’s racial politics.

Rakib Ehsan

Rakib Ehsan

Topics Identity Politics UK

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The National Trust is once again under fire for its absurd virtue-signalling. Instead of sticking to its role as preserver of historical houses and custodian of the British countryside, it has launched another foray into the culture war. Now it is promoting an ‘inclusive’ walking project for those it calls ‘global majority’ Brits.

Leaving aside the ridiculousness of an ‘inclusive walk’ as a concept (the great outdoors is, famously, already open to everyone), you can be forgiven for wondering what on Earth the National Trust means by ‘global majority’ people.

As explained on the National Trust website, the Walk Together Pathway project aims to train hiking leaders from ethnic-minority groups – the use of ‘global majority’ here is a reference to the fact that the world’s population is 85 per cent non-white. It is a phrase that is fast being adopted by socially conscious types as the new, even more politically correct version of ‘ethnic minority’ or ‘BAME’ (black, Asian and minority ethnic).

Let’s be clear, ‘global majority’ is a fundamentally useless term. It was first used in the US in the 2000s to describe people who live in the developing countries of the Global South. However, it has since evolved into an established feature of America’s domestic conversation on race. It is employed as a collective term for people of Native American, African, Asian or Hispanic descent. Its usage accelerated following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked large-scale Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the US and beyond. As the BLM cause spread across the Atlantic to the UK, so did the language of the American race debate.

The fact that ‘global majority’ is now being used in Britain is yet another example of how Americanised racial identity politics has wormed its way into our institutions. It is especially telling that the National Trust, an organisation that is supposed to primarily be responsible for conserving British heritage, has unthinkingly adopted a term that makes so little sense in the context of the UK.

Britain’s non-white population is truly diverse, not only in terms of race, but also in terms of myriad factors like religion, country of origin and migratory background. This is precisely why ‘BAME’ needed to be consigned to the dustbin of history, as the UK government rightly recommended back in 2022. It was simply not accurate or practical to try to lump together groups that are all hugely different in terms of social integration, socio-economic status and cultural norms.

Just look at the UK’s nearly two-million-strong Indian community. This will include Gujarati Hindus, Uttar Pradeshi Muslims, Punjabi Sikhs and Goan Roman Catholics. The same goes for black Africans, of which there are now 1.5million in the UK. These groups range from West African Christians to Muslims from the Horn of Africa. The notion that Britain’s non-white communities should be collectively brought under one single umbrella is ludicrous.

That’s not to mention the vast array of white religious and cultural minorities in the UK – from Catholic Irish Travellers to Orthodox Romanians. Then there is the issue of how British Jews fit into all this. Many appear outwardly white, but at the same time face racism in the form of anti-Semitism. Identity politics would categorise all these people as simply ‘white’ and therefore privileged oppressors, but this clearly does not bear out in reality.

We need to deepen our understanding of Britain’s diverse society and the challenges that this brings. Simply dividing people into white and non-white categories makes it virtually impossible to talk about and address intra-community tensions. Technically, all those who participated in the 2022 Leicester riots were members of the so-called global majority. So were the individuals involved in the physical altercation at Peckham Hair and Cosmetics in September last year, and the Eritrean political sectarianism that reared its ugly head in Camberwell in December.

From a social-cohesion perspective, ‘global majority’ is an utterly redundant concept. I take pride in being a British man of Bangladeshi-Muslim heritage. I have no emotional connection to a label that plonks me in the same category as some Pakistanis who deny the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, or Hindutva ideologues who hold aggressively anti-Muslim views. I have far less in common with many fellow ‘global majority’ groups than I do with like-minded white British compatriots.

Terms like ‘global majority’ and ‘BAME’ overlook the complex demographic realities of modern Britain, creating both divisions and generalisations that don’t make sense. British institutions like the National Trust need to end their slavish fascination with American-style racial politics and its simplistic, binary treatment of whites and non-whites. British society is far more complex than the racial identitarians imagine.

Rakib Ehsan is the author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong about Ethnic Minorities, which is available to order on Amazon.

Picture by: Sebastian Barros.

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Topics Identity Politics UK


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