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  I find it easiest to look forwards by looking back, to the "Great Labour Migration"1 of 1948-55, seenat the time as a matter of2 black guests coming to a white host. It's a quasi-imperial3 perception that4 has shifted since the 1970s, but the social problems and deficiencies it engendered dog5 us still.

  It's highly questionable whether Britain is an open society even now. Against6 the upward trend in the 1980s of ethnic minorities breaking into the professions and the media must be set objective evidence of a very racist society7. Since the Stephen Lawrence affair8 the government has at least been talking about the existence of racism, but it's always the case that racism diminishes in times of prosperity. When the economic going gets tough9, people want someone to take their feelings out on10.

  The social landscape11 seems to me at a surreal crossroads. Britain fosters images of itself as homogeneous12 ?to be white is no longer the central defining feature?but there remain various kinds of "Britishness". So I can envisage the future in two very different ways.

  The first is broadly the way Britain is at the moment: a mosaic of communities13 ?Bangladeshi, Afro-Caribbean, Chinese or Jewish holding fast to a strong social identity, but lumbered also with14 a whole raft of15 benefits and disadvantages, most of them defined in economic terms16. It's possible that will still be the pattern in 50 years time, but not very likely.

  Instead17, I expect the old duality of a "host community" and "immigrants" whose bad luck it is to be excluded and disadvantaged to have vanished18. Some ethnic communities may make a point of19 survival, but only those who are most proud of their cultural roots.

  The alternative20 is a pick-and-mix social landscape. At the moment ethnic minorities are moving in different directions at different rates, with personal and social engagement across ethnic boundaries increasing all the time. One crude indicator is the level of mixed-race marriage: one in five Bangladeshi and Pakistani men born in Britain now has a white wife, and one in five babies born in Britain has one Afro-Caribbean and one white parent.

  This implies a Britain in which people will21 construct multiple identities defined by all sorts of factors: class, ethnicity, gender, religion, profession, culture and economic position. It22 won't be clear-cut. Not all ethnic minorities, or members of an ethnic minority, will be moving in the same direction or identifying the same issues at the heart of their identities. It's about deciding who you are, but also about how other people define you.

  That's what will be at the heart of the next 50 years: enduring communities linked by blood through time versus23 flexible, constantly shifting identities. Identity won't be about where you have come from; it will be a set of values you can take anywhere that is compatible with24 full participation in whichever society you live in.










  1. Great Labour Migration:英国在二战之后由于缺乏劳动力,从海外,特别是加勒比地区、孟加拉和巴基斯坦,招募了大量劳工,史称"劳工大迁移"。

  2. a matter of:这里'一件……事'的意思不必译出。

  3. quasi-imperial perception: '准帝国观念'也就是"带有帝国意识的看法"。

  4. It's ... that...:这里如按定语从句来译,中文读起来不自然。

  5. dog:动词,意思是'尾随,缠'。

  6. against:这里的意思是'在……的背景下',可以译成"鉴于"。

  7. Against ... society:这是一个倒装句,正常语序是Objective evidence ... must be set against the upward trend ...。作者显然不认为英国存在严重的种族主义,因此这句话得译成"鉴于...,必须拿出客观证据才能说社会上有严重的种族歧视。"

  8. Stephen Lawrence affair: 1993年4月22日英国黑人青年斯蒂文·劳伦斯在伦敦街头被一伙白人种族主义青年杀死。由于执法机关破案不力,提不出充分证据起诉犯罪嫌疑人。这件事在英国引起强烈反响。1997年7月31日,英国内务部宣布对"劳伦斯事件"进行公开调查。1999年2月公布的调查报告认为执法机关内部存在"机构性种族主义"。犯罪嫌疑人至今仍逍遥法外。

  9. When ... tough:英语有句俗话When the going gets tough, the tough get going.,这里套用了其前半句,意思是'经济形势变困难时',可以译成"每逢经济不景气"。

  10. people ... on:相当于people want to take out their feelings on someone。take sth. out on sb.的意思是'拿某人撒气'。

  11. landscape:与political、social等词搭配时,意思是'形势、局面、格局'。

  12. fosters ... homogeneous: foster images的意思是'促使树立形象/给人印象',homogeneous的意思是'同质的,单一的',合在一起,意思是"让人觉得它是个单一民族国家"。

  13. a mosaic of communities:马赛克是用小色块拼成的图案,'社区拼成的马赛克'就是"马赛克式的多元社区"。

  14. be lumbered with:受……的拖累。

  15. a whole raft of:一大堆,大量。

  16. defined in ... terms:是从...角度考虑的。这里译成"是经济方面的"更简单一些。

  17. instead:这是一个话语标记,承接前面的否定句,引出下面表示肯定的句子。汉语在某种程度上与之对应的是"倒是"、"相反"。

  18. I expect ... vanished:这个句子中间加了一个定语从句使得结构有些复杂,去掉定语从句后,句子的主干是I expect the old duality of a "host community" and "immigrants" to have vanished,定语从句whose bad luck it is to be excluded and disadvantaged限定的是immigrants。

  19. make a point of:后面接动名词或表示动作的名词时,意思是'刻意,力求,力争'。

  20. the alternative:前面说了"可能性不大",另一个选择就是"可能性较大"。

  21. This ... will:按定语从句译,译文会很别扭。这里可以按This implies that in Britain people will译。

  22. it:从上下文来看,其所指应当是构建的结果。

  23. versus:这里按通例译成"对"不容易把意思表达清楚,不妨用"一方面……一方面"表示对立的双方。

  24. be compatible with: '与……相容'就是"不妨碍"。