PoliticsUK would like to welcome Debra V Wilson. Debra is a well know
blogger and tweeter.
All the questions were asked by our users. Here we go,
What are your thoughts on 'citizenship tests' and their requirement to
If a person is seeking citizenship (and I am not referring to those
seeking asylum) in a foreign land then I would think/hope that in part their
decision includes a desire to be a part of that foreign land. Therefore I can
see no problem with Britain or any nation asking prospective citizens to go
through ‘citizenship tests’ and speak the language of the land; which could
only help prospective citizens understand and more easily participate their new
Are we integrating correctly immigrants into society?
I would suggest that since the conversation over the integration of
immigrants into UK society is a continual (and pervasive) and often visceral
one – that there is something that has gone amiss. And at the very least there
needs to be a better understanding of why the question will not go away.
Does multiculturalism work or should we be looking for a singular
Yes multiculturalism can work provided there is an understanding by all
that whilst there will be a tolerance for one’s individual belief systems there
are laws of the land that all must adhere to. And the law in secular societies
has the final say. With all due respect I would say that in most cases where
multiculturalism has failed is where the State has not stood its ground in
establishing a common denominator – the law. In other words we can be
different. We can differ. But the law of the land must be resolute in having
the final say.
Explain why you think immigration is good for a country?
New citizens can bring new and specialized skills, new foods, new arts
and needed bridges to other countries.
Where is feminism at these days?
There is a growing presence (albeit small) of feminists in sectors
previously thought as not analogous to the ‘movement’ such as policing,
conflict management and security. Next within feminist communities there is a
greater desire to network with other differing feminist ideologies and men.
Feminism is taking a more global perspective on women’s issues. And lastly
there is greater understanding by Western feminists that there is more than one
way to be a feminist. And how feminism manifests itself in Somalia maybe
different than say in London or New York, but never-the-less it is still
feminism and should be both respected and understood by those identifying
themselves as feminists.
What is your opinion of aid to third world countries?
|Third World Aid: All nations must consider the|
political, security, and social ramifications.
Aid to the third world is not inherently good or bad. I would hope the
UK (and indeed all nations) would carefully consider what aid to the third
world does not only in the immediate but in the future. In other words how the
injection of foreign money to a third world country impacts current and future
political, security and sociological dynamics must always be considered when
giving aid to any nation. Also in the UK (and indeed all nations) in these
stark economic times a nation must consider wisely what foreign aid money does
to its own nation and populace.
Do you think politics is an old boys club?
At present women make up 22% of MP’s in the House of Commons and 20% of
the peers in the House of Lords. With representation of women in each House at
less than 25% it suggest something endemic in the less than proportional
representation of women in higher office in the UK. Label that as you chose.
Is religion a threat to democracy in the USA?
No ‘religion of any kind’ is not inherently a threat to Democracy in
America. And the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution has safeguards in place
to prevent ‘religion of any kind’ becoming a threat to Democracy through the
separation of Church and State. However I must add that those safeguards in the
Constitution only work if the US adheres to the Constitution – and that has
been problematic of late. Still I maintain that ‘religion of any kind’ is not
inherently a threat to Democracy in America.
Do you believe the conspiracy theories around 9/11?
I am a person guided by empirical evidence and therefore I do not pay
heed to any of the plethora of conspiracies theories around 9/11 that sadly
have found home in most sectors (although in thankfully minute numbers) of
Should a Masjid be built near to ground zero?
As an individual I would say provided builders have secured all
necessary building permits and no laws are being violated I cannot legally
object to the construction of any building anywhere. However I am aware that
the reality is that even when all laws are met an 'event' can be so emotive
that it causes disruption through communities and if that is the case than
discussions must be had to come to a rationale, legally-based solution.
What is your opinion of positive discrimination?
Positive discrimination is a programme or initiative that aims to
right historical biases against “minorities’. It can be effective in righting
historical wrongs – and in my opinion it works best when it is coupled with
addressing the systemic causes of the ‘historical wrongs’. For example some
universities might seek to accept a female PhD candidate in science over a man
when all other factors are equal in an effort to not only hire a scientist, but
to also increase the number of women scientists at the university. And going
forward I would hope that the reasons that there are less female PhD candidates
should be thoroughly explored and addressed; with the goal of minimizing the
need for positive discrimination.
What do you believe are the causes of child poverty in the UK?
This is also not my area, but something I am trying to get a better
understanding of. And any answer will of course be multi-faceted one. Briefly
there is a correlation between young mothers with no qualification and poor
children. Next, there are some racial factors and there is a high rate of child
poverty in both the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities (for example), and of
course the Global downturn is plunging more children into poverty. Lastly there
is concern in many sectors that the changing benefits system in the UK will
increase child poverty and I would suggest you look at the Millennium Cohort
Study: http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/mcs/l33359.asp, and End Child
Poverty: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/ for a more in dept analysis of
child poverty in the UK.
What are your views on gay marriages?
|All consenting adults should have the same rights.|
I believe all consenting adults should have the same legal rights
to marry; therefore I am a supporter of same-sex marriage. In addition a
significant portion of my activism is towards making marriage an option for all
consenting adults who seek it.
What does she think of Diane Abbott's recent remarks: 'White people love
playing 'divide & rule'"?
Diane Abbott’s comments no matter how politically incorrect and
distasteful to some were in my opinion little more than a ‘private conversation’
Ms. Abbott had with a Black freelance journalist about racial framing,
inappropriately had in a public space – Twitter. In my opinion it was poor
judgment on the part of Ms. Abbott, a career politician. It was right that some
were offended. Still most when amongst ‘our own’ – however you define that
engage in inappropriate conversation about ‘others’ again however you define
that. Still again – I would say more than anything this represents poor
judgment by a career politician. I would also say that Ms. Abbott’s bad
judgment illustrates yet again that there needs to be a place and space in
Britain for all to safely address issues of race. And the racial discourse in
Britain deserves to rise above reacting to an MP with bad judgment with a Twitter
What is your opinion of the Coalition's policy on immigration being
I agree with the Tory caps to the extent that they will allow for
much needed discussions to be had on who is coming into the UK and the net
economic impact of immigration to the UK and lastly but MOST importantly the
effect of immigration on the indigenous British population (of all ethnic
backgrounds). I say with all due respect that little attention has been paid to
the indigenous population when it comes to immigration and that has serious
sociological and security impacts. I say in this realm PM Cameron MUST slow
immigration down and listen to the people he is tasked to serve. British
nationals have a right to give voice to their feelings on immigration. And
politicians are duty bound to hear it – be it unpleasant or not.
What do you believe the Occupy movement will achieve?
The most immediate impact of the Occupy movement is to allow for the
airing and discussion of the economic hardship being experienced by so many as
a result of the multi-faceted global downturn. Going forward I would hope that
the Occupy movement will lead to concrete plans to address the destructive
impact of the banking industry (among other factors) gone amuck.
Last question from PoliticsUK:
The mother of Stephen Lawrence, victim of an overt racist killing in the
UK, accused the Government of running a racist country. What are your views on
That is an absolute question.
And I cannot respond in kind. What happened to Stephen Lawrence and the
response of the State – does exhibit endemic racism in the United Kingdom. And
there is still endemic racism in the United Kingdom. And I will venture to say
that for some time going forward there will be endemic racism in the United
But I would also say where the running of the country is racist it is
because the people administrating it are racist. And that is not static. Racism
has no place in any sector of the running of any civilised nation. And though
it may be problematic, difficult and challenging and late……very late in
coming……there does exist in the UK systems for addressing people who chose to
run the UK in a less than civilised (racist) manner.
Yes there is endemic racism in the UK………but there exist challenges to
that racism. And please know I am in no way minimizing the difficulty in
challenging racism from the State.
Lastly my response is mine only, and is in no way meant to demise or
minimize the experiences of the Lawrence family. And I am respectful to Mrs.
Lawrence’s assessment of what has happened to her family.
Why did you name your blog 'Dances of the World' - what is the
significance of this title?
We all see the world from a different perspective. And understanding
that perspective for me is the same as understanding the movement in a dance,
and we may all hear the same song, but we each interpret the music and respond
with our own dance.
Christopher Robinson Marland
Do you think women should be allowed to serve on the front line?
(Personally I understand that seeing any of your fellow colleagues dyin' would
provoke a horrible psychological reaction whether they be man or woman)
What is your view on the UK US Relationship
The UK – US relationship appears to be in flux. I am 54 years old and
for much of my lifetime I remember hearing that the UK was our closest ally and
friend. And I certainly think that the US still views the UK as a close ally,
but I also think that the USA views the UK as a security threat. And then there
is the fact that the USA is ever turning to Asia and Latin America. So I think
the relationship is in flux. I have less clarity on how the UK views the
Christopher Robinson Marland
Do you think Feminism and Masculism in non-radical forms are actually
fighting the same battle from different angles?
Feminism in my opinion is “simply” working towards full participation
and rights in society for women. And Masculism seeks to do the same in its
ethos. My answer would be there should be parity for all. But other than that I
cannot define or make a comparative analysis between the two movements.
Did you hear of the slut marches that happened all over last year? What
do you think of them? Were they beneficial to women?
|The "slut marches" in 2011
I understand the Slut Marches, but as a Black women (like some other
women of colour) I have not participated owing to the verbiage of the campaign.
Still I hope that the women (of all colours) who do participate find that this
is a successful tactic in addressing violence against women and sexism.
How well do you think discipline in Muslim schools integrates with our
society in general?
It is not acceptable for any academic environment to resort to physical
means in the disciplining of its students and it has no place in the 21st
* Please note my answer to the question about Muslim schools and
discipline referred to the documenting of physical disciplining of some
students in some Muslim schools. My answer in no way implies that I believe all
Muslim schools physically discipline (which I am opposed to) their students.
Indeed I oppose the use of physically disciplining children in any academic (or
any) environment. - Debra V. Wilson
Who is the most important British PM of all time and why?
I would say Churchill was a pivotal PM for your nation as he led you
through a most difficult war. On a personal note and as a feminist I say in all
due respect and with no sarcasm – John Major. Under John Major’s tenure
feminists in the UK gained resilience and forbearing that has served both the
movement and your nation well. Again with all due John Major taught many
British feminists (and those of us visiting Britain) how to stay strong, how to
stay the course, and how to navigate and work with those we were in complete
Who do you think is the most important female politician today?
Oh I have two – and it is impossible for me to shorten the list down to
one. Harriet Harman and Theresa May. Both women serve their nation well and
continue to in all manner of ways shatter the glass ceiling.
PoliticsUK would like to thank Debra V. Wilson for her contribution in
We would also like to thank our users for their question.
Debra's blog is at http://thedancesoftheworld.blogspot.com/
And she can be followed on twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/DebraYankUK