British National Identity Among Ethnic Minorities

Topics: United Kingdom, Britishness, Wales Pages: 4 (1553 words) Published: April 22, 2013
British National Identity among Ethnic Minorities

Identity is something many of us don’t think about, but it is the main force behind our daily decisions. Britishness is defined as the state or quality of being British. This means that Britishness involves habits, behaviors, language, culture, and symbols that are common, recognizable, and iconic to the United Kingdom. Sometimes however, it is hard to define Britishness because it cannot be defined as one thing, like many identities, it evolves and transforms ever so often. British identity has been a subject of many debates since the 1960s, prompted initially by “the loss of empire, then by the rise of the welfare state, postwar black and Asian migration and entry into the European Community, and more recently by the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales” (Parekh, 1). “Some claim that the most challenging minority integration in contemporary society is immigrant-origin non-white communities” (Maxwell, 2), but this is becoming a false claim. The British national identity has been on a decline with more Britons claiming their identity as English, Scottish, Irish, or Welsh. This however, is not true for ethnic minorities in the UK. Headlines around many newspapers read “Ethnic minorities are now more likely to feel British than white people” There was a study done by the Institute for Public Policy Research that resulted in 51 percent of blacks and Asians describing themselves as British compared with just 29 per cent of whites. Data shows that in 1996, “52 percent of respondents to a poll said they saw themselves primarily as British. By 2005, this had fallen to just 44 per cent. The IPPR study said that Scottish and Welsh devolution had damaged British feeling” (Daily Mail). Professor Platt stated that “Given the current anxiety around immigration and concerns that it is challenging a unified national identity, it is interesting to find that minorities in fact hold stronger British identities on...
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