Birmingham markets itself as a vibrant, multi-cultural city where people from a wide variety of traditions interact.
Caribbean carnivals and Hindi festivals are among the highlights of the year, while nightlife attractions include entertainment and food from across the world.
The city has avoided the violence of Oldham or Bradford and the BNP has failed to win any seats on the council.
This rosy picture of life in Birmingham has been challenged by a worrying report by one of Britain's best-known think tanks.
The IPPR shines a light on attitudes and fears that exist in the city but are often ignored.
It suggests that some residents resent the presence of asylum seekers in the city or people they assume to be asylum seekers.
Some white residents also use the term asylum seekers to describe anyone who is not white.
This misuse of the phrase is worrying, because white residents must be aware that many of the black or Asian people they meet were born in Britain, and that many of those who emigrated here did so for reasons that have nothing to do with asylum.
It suggests that they are unwilling to accept non-white people as fully belonging to British society.
However, at the same time there also appears to be hostility towards white refugees from Eastern Europe.
The IPPR is calling for measures to dispel misconceptions about asylum seekers, including a more positive message from the Government and changes to the way the media reports the issue.
It also calls for an end to the practice of dumping asylum seekers in areas where demand for housing is low, which in practice means areas of extreme deprivation.
And it urges councils to encourage asylum seekers to take part in voluntary work, so the community can see in a very visible way that they are contributing to society.
The picture the IPPR paints is a partial one. There may be people in the white community, British black and Asian communities and among asylum seekers themselves, who would say they have not witnessed the level of racism the IPPR describes.
It should also be noted that the IPPR tends to approach issues from the liberal left, which does not undermine anything it says, but suggests an inquiry from another perspective could have reached different conclusions.
The dramatic conclusions of today's report should not be allowed to blind us to the remarkable success Birmingham does enjoy as a mixed-race city. But they are a warning against complacency. it.
Many a lawyer has risked a wry smile after being told that a principle is at stake.
For where principles are to be debated the argument is normally long and complex.
That is certainly so with the Battle of Nelson's Railings, which has involved Birmingham City Council and the Bullring in a three-year dispute about the restored statue of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Bullring owners Hammerson insist that the railings would make public access to the statue difficult and that the sharp spikes are potentially dangerous to shoppers. Furthermore, Hammerson contend that they were never told that the railings would have to be reinstated following refurbishment.
The council says that this is a smokescreen and that it is clear in law that Hammerson have an obligation to put the statue back to the condition it was in before the Bullring shopping centre existed, that is with the railings intact.
Both sides have taken positions and there appears to be little chance of either backing down. Quite possibly the matter will not be resolved by the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar in October.
The council may have the weight of legal opinion on its side but Hammerson make a good point about public access to art in the Bullring. The statue of Nelson looks magnificent as it is, against the splendid backdrop of St Martin's church, and it is difficult to see what could be gained aesthetically by replacing the railings.
Birmingham Civic Society, a leading critic of Hammerson, admits that it has better things to do than argue about railings. But a principle is at stake, so the row goes on.
It is time to call a halt. Most people who use the Bullring are happy to see Nelson unshackled.
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell didn't mince his words when he asked for assurances ahead of Live 8 that British aid would not be siphoned off into the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt African leaders.
A blunt way of putting it, yes, but someone had to say it.
There is an enormous well of sympathy in this country for the starving millions in Africa - and British governments have always been generous with rescue packages.
But only the most naive fool should imagine that the likes of Robert Mugabe wouldn't get his fingers in the till given half a chance. Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof hardly inspires confidence by refusing point-blank even to discuss the possibility.