Zadie Smith on the success of multiculturalism in New York and London:
It took generations; it passed through periods of unspeakable horror; sometimes people forgot, sometimes they forgave, and they did both these things imperfectly. Practical matters helped. General economic parity, difficult acts of good will on both sides, and a democratic country in which the apparently impossible has the freedom to happen. It is not a perfect relationship—there’s no such thing—and it took two thousand years to get this far. We forget: these things take time. “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., who presided over another meeting of supposedly irreconcilable peoples. Not everyone is a monster.
Growing up in London, I find it impossible to hate anyone because of their ethnicity or religion. My childhood friends were Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Black, White, Asian, Mixed and everything in between. Except I never saw them that way – to me they were Nana, Tariq, Raj, Ryan, Sameer, Ari, Olufemi and David – my friends with their own distinct personalities, not ethnic or religious groups defined by somebody elses categorization.