This morning, I just happened to be watching BBC Breakfast before going to work, where there was a short piece, backed up by this story at the BBC News Website. I’m not quite sure why but I got really irked with it.
The survey said that “38% of Asians didn’t feel British” and that around a third thought they had to “act white” to fit in or get on.
Well, let’s start with the first point then. How exactly does one feel British? Would these results be any different if the poll was taken in areas of Wales, Scotland or Northern England from a mainly white sample. I’m not at all convinced it would be. Feeling “British” is a fairly diffuse concept at best right now, with lots of discussion in a whole range of places trying to pin down what it actually might be.
OK, second question now. What the hell does “act white” actually mean? The Duke of Westminster is white. So is Kerry Katona. There’s a whole lot of common ground there isn’t there? Perhaps I’m being unfair and the question is just phrased badly, wondering if asians should act “a particular kind of white”. If so ythan I think there’s a grain of truth there, but it’s hardly a problem confined to asians, quite a lot of white people and those from other minorities suffer from that too.
The driver is primarily economic with a hint of class thrown in, but there are significant overlaps along ethnic lines too. To present this is a primarily racial problem is, I think, rather simplistic.
It is also a possibility that there is some partiality in this questioning. It’s almost as if someone had decided they want to get these results and are framing the questions in order to do so. Or maybe I’m just a natural sceptic.