Birmingham has long been held up as a beacon of multi-culturalism.
The “city of a thousand trades” has apparently evolved into a city of (almost) a thousand cultures over the years and many have spoken of the need for the rest of the UK to learn lessons from the harmonious nature of this diversity.
However, a new report suggests Birmingham’s multi-cultural image is a sham.
Whereas some are still preaching about integration and tolerance, groups based in the city paint a completely different picture – one of a racially divided city where people live in different ethnic pockets and do not integrate.
Although some claim Birmingham’s strength lies in its willingness to embrace diversity, these groups claim that misunderstanding, mistrust and even racism are still rampant.
All this in a city where the black and Asian communities now make up almost 30 per cent of the population. Hardly the stuff of a multi-cultural blueprint.
Rather it adds weight to claims that multi-culturalism has been a myth and the UK will always struggle to become a truly diverse and integrated society.
Integration in Birmingham can and does happen. But it rarely makes the headlines and when it does it is regarded as a something of a one-off, rather than an on-going process.
The time is long overdue for the whole of the UK, not just Birmingham, to take a long, honest look at itself and look for a way forward.