There are many instances when Salman Rushdie addresses the audience directly in his essay “The New Empire within Britain”. Several times he makes it clear that the text is addressed to white people. For example:
British racism, of course, is not our problem. It’s yours. We simply suffer from the effects of your problem. And until, you, the whites, see that the issue is not integration, or harmony, or multiculturalism, or immigration, but simply the business of facing up to and eradication the prejudices within almost all of you, the citizens of your new, and last, Empire will be obligated to struggle against you. (ll. 387-395)
The use of direct address is meant to make white people aware that they should take action against racism. Here is another example of Rushdie’s direct address that is intended to make people contemplate:
So now I’d like to ask you to think about this word ‘immigrant’, because it seems to me to demonstrate the extent to which racist concepts have been allowed to seize the central ground, and to shape the whole nature of the debate (ll.133-137)
Rushdie wants the reader to realize that the word immigrant is usually used negatively to refer specifically to people of color who immigrate to Britain, and not white immigrants.
Humor and irony
Rushdie also uses humor to highlight how racism is perceived by the British. He starts his essay as follows: “Britain isn’t South Africa. I am reliably informed of this. Nor is it Nazi Germany. I’ve got that on the best authority as well” (ll.1-3). This highlights how Rushdie finds it ridiculous that white people come up with such arguments, stating that Britain’s situation is not bad because other countries have it ...