What do people mean when they say they are concerned that some British cities are now ‘Minority White’?

Photo by Ibex73, Wikimedia Commons

The Office for National Statistics recently published their results from the 2021 Census on ethnic group, national identity, language and religion. Fairly soon after, Nigel Farage and others tweeted that London, Birmingham and Manchester were now ‘minority White’ cities. Now call me sceptical, but I thought I would check the data for myself, so I looked at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for London:

Imagine my shock when I realised Farage was lying about London being ‘minority White’!

London is in fact over 50 per cent White – still a majority. Both the BBC and the ONS have since published fact checks calling Farage out on his lie. At the time of writing he is continuing to double down on his position.

Using data from 2021, again from the ONS, I was able to look at what proportion of people living in London were UK-born and also have British nationality. The data showed that London is still majority UK Born and majority British.

So now we’ve established that London is majority White, majority British and majority UK-born, what did Farage mean by calling it ‘minority White’?

Basically, he only looked at the number for ‘White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British’ and ignored all other categories of White people, including Irish, Roma, and ‘Other’ – the second biggest group after White British, which includes Europeans, Australians, Americans, Canadians etc.

That got me thinking about what people like Farage consider to be ‘proper’ British people, who he is comfortable with living in the UK. They appear to need to fulfil the following criteria: White AND British AND not an immigrant.

So, we’ll start with the White, British nationals who weren’t born in the UK – some ‘immigrants’ if you will:

  • Prince Philip
  • Bradley Wiggins
  • Richard E Grant
  • Emma Watson
  • Chris Barrie
  • Cliff Richard
  • Joanna Lumley
  • Zoë Wanamaker
  • Boris Johnson

Not proper Brits? Really?

OK, how about the non-white Brits born abroad?

  • Nadhim Zahawi
  • Mo Farah
  • Sade
  • Emma Raducanu
  • Freddie Mercury
  • John Barnes
  • Fatima Whitbread
  • Nitin Ganatra
  • Linford Christie

Again, are these people not properly British? Of course they are…unless you are properly racist!

So, let’s move on to the white people who live in Britain but who aren’t British:

  • Mark Webber
  • Craig Revel Horwood
  • Arsène Wenger
  • Peter Andre
  • Clive James
  • Adam Hills
  • Raymond Blanc
  • Sandi Toksvig
  • Sven-Göran Eriksson
  • Bruno Tonioli

Remember, this is the specific group of people Nigel Farage excluded from the statistics to be able to claim London was ‘minority White’. Do they cause a problem by living in the UK?

How about the non-white, British born, British nationals?

  • Priti Patel
  • Rishi Sunak
  • Lenny Henry
  • Marcus Rashford
  • Adrian Lester
  • Marsha Thomason
  • Scary Spice, Mel B
  • Gemma Chan
  • Idris Elba

Surely only a hard-core racist would consider Lenny Henry, Marcus Rashford and an actual Spice Girl to be somehow un-British, let alone our current Prime Minister!?

I could go on, but you get the point. All these people are famous, but for every famous example, there are thousands of non-famous people living in Britain, contributing to society, who were either born abroad, are non-British nationals, or are not white. None should be demonised.

My own immediate family includes White British nationals who were born abroad, White British nationals who were born in the UK, a White EU national living in the UK, and a non-White Kenyan who has been living, working, paying taxes, and voting in Strictly Come Dancing like the rest of us, for nearly 40 years.

All of us are as British AND as international as each other. With the one obvious exception, I can guarantee Farage couldn’t tell which of us would warrant his pure ‘White British’ label and which would need to be excluded.

And a final mention should go to another sub-sector of Brits – The British-born, British citizens who have chosen to migrate elsewhere. These ‘ex-pats’ are showing up in censuses all around the world as immigrants. Let’s hope they aren’t treated the way immigrants in Britain are treated by those in positions of power.

Brits abroad

Please think about what it means to be British. It is not limited to those who fit in the overlap between White, British, and UK-born.