British Asian is a confusing term

I guess if you are in any country, you may start to become categorised. That is a different debate.
Does categorisation only occur if you are not descended from numerous generations?

Already in the UK we have 3rd and 4th generation descendants from migrants that came, for example from India back in the 1950s. Many in the UK from the old British colonies.

I’m a second generation and I found the following video interesting. The video charts the progress of the only Sikh journalist/presenter in the UK.

It raises some core points about today’s society, whatever country you may be in:

1. The factors associated with need for respect for each other.
2. The urgent need for role models and
3. The good thing that ITV has done by respecting diversity into their teams. NB Watch out for the fascinating comment in the final few seconds of the video where the gentleman is described as the fashion king of their office!
4. The misunderstanding about each other.

With regard to the latter the UK GCSE syllabus (15-16 year national qualification) in Religious studies suggests that students select a number of world religions and to study them in depth. Discussion questions range from views/approaches to environmentalism and also core beliefs.

This is great for up and coming generations as long as they practice what they preach. However, if society continues to use categories then the natural human reaction is to compartmentalise.
I personally am uncomfortable with the term British Asian. Jews do not call themselves British Israelites or Israelis..!

Disturbingly, Wikipedia defines British Asians as follows,

‘The term British Asian is used to denote a person of Southern Asian ancestry or origin, or sometimes Western Asian origin, who was born in or was an immigrant to the United Kingdom. Britain has a large Southern Asian population due to British India once being the most populous portion of the former British Empire.

The question is also not about acceptance or what is acceptable to call someone. People should be respected for their ability and we hope that each of us accepts each other as equal.

The segmentation definition shown above is confusing and misleading.

If the UK government are worried about integrating communities. Instead of celebrating a day for British ness, whatever that is, the first place to start would be to celebrate our collective heritage. Sure, in many situations this will reveal issues about the way the British Empire abused the people of its past colonies. NB The positive outcome of this activity would be assure ourselves about what part each of our ancestors played in developing the world today.

Our links to our heritage are what made us and this world today. Freedom came at a price. We do not need divisional tactics anymore.
Unfortunately, it is a control strategy and in many boardroom’s today it is still ‘in play’. Ever heard of the term, ‘glass ceiling’!?

By being more aware of this subtle strategy we can lobby for a reduction in these misleading definitions. Can someone please amend/moderate that wikipedia entry as a starter…

Categories: 2007, anti-racism, Corporate Responsibility, Sikhs

2 replies

  1. I found your post really interesting. Yep absolutely get the race thing and yep the glass ceiling too.

    I agree that the term Btitish Asian is misleading. Firstly the term “British” (disregarding its contemporary ambiguity for the purpose of my point) relates to a nationality. The term Asian too referes to a nationality and the two nations are unrelated to each other (except historically through the “empire” which was imposed anyway). Thus (I agree) why classify people geographically? Or through ethnicity? What purpose does it serve except to differentiate?

    However the term “British” now also weirdly relates to the “culture” in this country and okay from this point of view I can understand being called a British Sikh because my upbringing consisited of values exracted from Sikhi so I was influenced by this but also I’m inflienced by what goes on in my immediate geographical surroundings.

    Though I agree with your points about Government and corporate classifiction of people but I think the issue of identity is a tricky one because I certainly wouldn’t want to be known as just “British”.

    The Wikipedia description is just a token gesture. It’s naff.

    Really interesting topic. Thanks for bringing it up.

  2. The whole ethnic thing is also another type of classification.
    Did you hear about the Polish subtitles coming to your remote control red button soon?
    I found it amazing how quick the accomodation for this feature has come about.
    For years the large groups of migrants had to put up with very ‘bland’ type – If you get my drift!

    I agree that we are dealing with a different type of Britishness now. The Old school unfortunately still set the agenda & it is further embedded by the media moguls.

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