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Contributions of Minority Communities in East London

Contributionsof Minority Communities in East London

Europeannations comprise of both new and old minority groups making it amulticultural continent. Europe has come to a place of diversereligious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The population of memberstates is growing due to immigration. The migration movement is oftenassociated with foreign nationals, but this is not the case.Migration movement includes migrants and nationals (Hinge,Karakatsani, &amp Turnsek, 2010, p. 8). The region of East Londonhas a rich history and culture of which the contribution of minoritycommunities is major. This paper assesses the contributions of theseminority communities in shaping the East London region’s politics,culture, and economy.


Animmigrant for purposes of clarity is an individual who for numerousreasons including economic and family reasons, settles in a foreigncountry. The minority, on the other hand, refers to a dominated groupthat oft suffers stigmatization based on biological, ethnic or racialfeatures (Hinge et al., 2010, p. 6). The diversity of ethnic groupsin London is growing rapidly. The whites are a minority in Newham,Brent and Hamlet boroughs. Inner London has the largest ethnicpopulation at 37% in the country. According to the 2001 census,Hamlet has joined Newman and Brent in having an “ethnic majority”.Ethnic majority is the result rapid growth in Asian population and adecline in the number of White people (Lydall, 2004).

Duringthe early 19th century, East London experienced waves of immigrants.A great number of these migrants were Germans (Panayi, 1995). Othercommunities also frequented the region and their tastes are reflectedby the theatres. Most of the immigrants who frequented East Londondid so because they found its accommodation cheap, and the casualjobs served them well (Haill, 2014). Others, according to Hail, werefleeing from religious maltreatment, looking for novel opportunities,and to turn a new leaf. Some sources refer to the earliest immigrantsto East London as Huguenots (Cosmos, 2005 Kushner, 1992 Young &ampWilmott, 2013).

Thelargest ethnic group among the three boroughs is Bangladeshis. Theincrease of Bangladeshis in the city has propelled the adoption ofthe name Banglatown around the Brick Lane. A survey analyzing thedifferent ethnic groups in the labor marked revealed that thepercentage of non-whites increased by 2% since the c2001 census. Theleaders in Borough now have a challenge of successfully integratingthe different communities in the area and promoting a peacefulco-existence. Morton, a counselor, said that ethnic diversity is akey strength according to his own experience. The Hamlets council hascome up with a solution in response to the growing diversity. Thecouncil formulates cultural strategies that define the “meltingpoints” of the different groups (Lydall, 2004).

TheUnited Kingdom’s population is increasingly becoming ethnic. Thecurrent members of parliament in the house of Common constitute 27%of the ethnic minorities. The minority’s representation inparliament remains to be disproportional to the population as awhole. It is important to note that analyzing minority representationis an uphill task. The reason behind this is that ethnicity is asensitive issue and often difficult to define (Wood &amp Cracknell,2013, p. 2). However, some cite that the rise in their numbers ismajorly contributed by immigrants from Asia (Clarke, Peach, &ampVertovec, 1990). Others attach economic reasons to the rising numbersof ethnic minorities (Butler &amp Hamnett, 2011).


Accordingto 2001 census, minority ethnic population in the UK was 4.6million.Indians were the largest among the minority ethnic groups followed byPakistani. The population structure of the ethnic minorities isyounger when compared to the white population. Analysts foresee theageing of ethnic population in future periods.

Differentethnic groups converge to different geographical locations.Statistics shows that 47.6% of these minority groups live in EastLondon 6.8% in North West, 7.6% in Yorkshire, 13.6% in West midlandsand the rest are in the UK. Individuals from some ethnic groups arequalified academically than their white counterparts. In some cases,however, individuals from ethnic groups may have no qualification atall (LCCi, 2003, p. 3).


Minorityparticipation in politics is a parameter used to gauge the level ofminority rights in a democratic country. There are different forms ofminority representation: legislative representation or right toself-government. Europe affects the political representation ofminorities in two major ways minority protection is a membershipcondition, and the second is the provision of an arena where minorityparties can participate in elections and consequently influencepolicymaking (Spirova &amp Stefanova, 2009, p. 2).

Thepresence of ethnic minority communities has also impacted nationalidentity. Measures of national identity refer to discernments ofBritishness, which slowly waned because of other communities,regardless of their minority. Over time, the influence was that theperceptions of Britishness in East London changed to those ofethno-cultural features, to one founded more on responsibilities andcivic values. Although limited evidence exists proving this, theimmigrants were more likely to have pushed for ethno-culturalenvironments than the natives. The minority communities have alsospurred integration in East London as they have done in other partsof the UK. Over the years, the country and respective cities have hadto formulate and implement policies that integrate minoritycommunities. While the effects of making policies may not be easilyconceivable, they do set in over time and affect the all that areinvolved (Saggar, Somerville, Ford, &amp Sobolewska, 2012).


Cultureis as a set of closely held values, beliefs and norms by a particularsociety. These values and beliefs make one community be distinct formanother. Scholars have argued that culture is not genetic but iddependent upon the environment (LCCi, 2003, p. 7). Different cultureshave different influences on the entrepreneurial practices ofimmigrants. The core values of a culture may determine thecompetitiveness of such a group in business. For instance, Jews andChinese share same culture in that they enter into entrepreneurshipwherever they go and occupy middle-level positions. Macedonians, onthe other hand, due to poor entrepreneurial culture, often settle forlow-level occupations (Basu &amp Altinay, 2002, p. 8). Other keyfactors that may promote an entrepreneurial cultures is theavailability of cheap ethnic finance and labor (LCCi, 2003, p. 8).

Minorityethnic groups in foreign countries may experience culture gain orloss. An ethnic group may choose to abandon some of its practicesthus result in culture loss. Similarly, ethnic group may borrow somepractices from other communities and, therefore, a culture gain.Ethnic groups on the contrary may opt to be conservative and hold ontightly to their practices and way of life (Triandafyllidou, 2012, p.27). In the case of East London, the minority groups impacted theculture of the natives while some parts of their cultures also waned.

Ethnicminorities and their Economic Role

Businessesowned by ethnic minorities in Europe have grown rapidly in the pasttwo decades. Minorities in Europe start approximately 10% of all thebusinesses and have an income of £10 billion per annum. The annualincome derived by these communities is economically significant.Research shows that ethnic minorities have a tendency of seekingself-employment (LCCI, 2003, p. 5). It is this papers objective toanalyze various ethnic minorities in Europe, their culturalattributes and the influence of such on entrepreneurial attitude.

Severalmotivational factors drive the entrepreneurial spirit of the minoritycommunities. Profit, self-actualization, and desire for adventure aresome of these motivational factors. However, some delve intoentrepreneurship for lack of alternative opportunities. Immigrantentrepreneurship is mainly common because immigrants want to avoidracial discrimination. The labor markets in immigrant`s hostcountries oft are harsh offering low paying jobs to foreign workers.Further, the jobs impede upward mobility (LCCI, 2003, p. 6).

Businessesowned by minor ethnic groups are one of the most successful inEurope. The approximate number of enterprises owned by minorities inthe UK is 250,000.The annual income generated by these companies’amounts to £13 .The companies employ about 800,000 people in Londonthus reducing the unemployment rates. The widespread success ofminority business is huge value to the European economy. The youngage population structure of minority groups emphasizes the value oftheir organizations (Dana, 2007). There is a variation in the natureof businesses run by ethnic minorities. The younger and educatedgeneration is moving away from traditional businesses to large formalenterprises. The companies offer new products and services (LCCi,2003, p. 8).

Thesocial life and art of a city like London is vital to the city’sgrowth. Social life and creative industries have also spurredbusiness and investments in the region. Creative industries, forinstance, have become a major source of income for East London(Newland, 2008). Creative industries in London make approximately£21bn annually and create jobs for more than 500,000 people. Theculture present in London is unique in the sense that it consists of2000 years of history (Livingstone, 2008).


Themovement of immigrants into East London and the United Kingdomstarted a long time ago in the pre-modern era. The immigrants came tothe regions for different reasons some were fleeing from persecutionwhile others visited the region for casual labor. Over the ages,these minority communities have influenced the culture, economy, andpolitical system of East London. Their contribution in these threeareas is significant. In business, they own numerous entrepreneurialinitiatives and contribute to the overall economic stability andgrowth of the region as well as the country. The presence of minoritycommunities in East London has led to the need of developing andimplementing policies that improve integration. Minority networkshave also influenced the culture of the natives in various ways.Today, East London still gains revenue from creative industries.


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