Shabina Akhtar: Football Is Flying the Flag for Race Relations; A Wry Look at Life through the Eyes of BBC Radio WM's Late Show presenter.(Comment)

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), June 24, 2002 | Go to article overview

Shabina Akhtar: Football Is Flying the Flag for Race Relations; A Wry Look at Life through the Eyes of BBC Radio WM's Late Show presenter.(Comment)


Byline: Shabina Akhtar

WHETHER you love it or hate it, football has done more for race relations in Birmingham than the Government, religious leaders and race organisations put together. Never before have I seen the city so united, regardless of people's colour, race or culture.

I drove down Ladypool Road last week, an area where the majority of business owners and residents are Asian.

Yet quite a number of shops were proudly displaying the St George's flag, and on many occasions I noticed Asian drivers flying the same flag from their cars. To me this simple yet very important gesture suggests that not only has the England flag been taken back from the troublemakers, those who are often accused of not supporting the country really do when it matters. Home secretary David Blun-kett ought to take note - the country's ethnic minority communities do have national pride. They are proud to be British and have supported the England football team throughout its ups and downs. However, they won't be bullied into pledging allegiance and made to sit ridiculous citizenship tests. …

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