Migration and racism are not new issues in Britain. For many years they have been politically salient. However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s they have started to feature in political debates in new ways. Issues surrounding the Rushdie affair, the role of religious differences, immigration from Hong Kong, and refugee and asylum policy have highlighted the changing dynamics of the politics of race and ethnicity (which may revolve around religious, language, and national identities, as much as around race). Moreover, there have been persistent concerns that tension in many inner city areas between the police and young blacks may lead to further urban unrest such as that which occurred in 1981 and 1985. Above all, it has become abundantly clear in all liberal democracies that political conflicts about race and ethnicity are not just the residual hangovers from pre-modern societies which liberals and Marxists used to believe.
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