Black History Month: Am I Missing Something?
Once again, this October, its Black History Month, highlighting contributions made to British society by black people. However, something is bugging me? Bugging me because is it right to highlight one race of people over another?
In some senses, black people have never had it so good, you cannot turn on the TV, listen to music, look at social media, without there being some representation of black people. Blacks today feature heavily in the world of sports, music, politics, etc. You may be thinking rightly so, and I don't have a problem with that.
However, we have come from a time when blacks were hardly represented, to let's be honest - overkill. Every advert you see features a black person and mixed relationships, mainly between blacks and whites, it's like we have reached saturation point. Again don't get me wrong, I am all for races living harmoniously, but given that blacks only make up 2.9 % of the British population, why are they being over-represented in adverts? Same as black-white relationships complete with mixed-race kids, it's like this politically correct Utopian dream, is being force-fed to us. What's the point of all this, are they trying to brainwash both black and white people, into choosing someone from another race as a partner? Life is about choices and it would appear most whites, for example, choose someone from their own race, to marry and procreate with. It is probably the same for blacks and other races too, please correct me if I am wrong?
Is it because, the advert powers that be, are afraid of being labelled racist and unrepresentative of the black diaspora in the UK? These days, of course, you have to have a certain quota of ethnic minorities in adverts, movies, media outlets, etc. While there is nothing wrong with this, because, let's face it, you have to represent society as it is, however, black representation should be reflecting the 2.9 % black population in the UK (given that the UK, according to the last census is still a majority white nation). This is not racist, it is fact and black representation should reflect that - period.
People like Lenny Henry, is right to point out there is still racism, look at how English black players were booed by Bulgarian fans, doing Nazi salutes and imitating apes. Prejudice based on the colour of one's skin or racial features is wrong in the 21st Century. However, that said, over-representing a race, as described above, out of all proportion to their numbers, just because you are trying to fairly represent them, is not right either, for reasons explained, in this article.
Though Oriental British people are represented in many areas of British life, they still do not seem to get a fair crack of the whip. In movies, social media, news programmes, dramas, etc, how many leading oriental faces do you see? Same as Eastern European representation in the UK, how many Poles and other related people are fairly represented? You could argue forever, how certain people are represented and others are not or do not enough have showing.
At the end of the day, representation of any people, group, fashion, race, gender, faith, should be balanced. Balance, for the reasons explained, in this article, seems sadly lacking, in how British society of today, is portrayed.
Asian Representation in The UK.
The word Asian, as it is meant in the UK, largely and usually refers to people of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, etc, heritage. It would appear at first glance, Asian people, are well represented in the UK, in various walks of life. Just look at your news presenters, many of them, are Asian descent.
However, according to Meera Syal, famous for the groundbreaking Britsh - Asian comedy, 'Goodness gracious Me', Asian representation in UK television, at least, has gone backwards. Has it though, we have had 'Citizen Khan', a comedy about an elderly Pakistani community leader in Birmingham.
We now regularly have each year, 'Ackley Bridge', a drama shown on Channel 4, about a mixed Asian-White secondary school. This programme is popular with all UK people, regardless of heritage.
The BBC has an Asian radio station featuring all aspects of the British Asian community, from fashion, music, faith, etc. So is Meera Syal, wrong to say there is little or no Asian representation on British TV? What is she basing this statement on?
Asian people make up a great number of people in the legal and medical profession in the UK. In the world of sports, however, there seems to be little or no Asian representation in this field. The England cricket team, however, seems to be the exception to the rule, where Asian-English players alongside their White and Black fellow countrymen, did us proud this year, at this years cricket world cup, where England won.
Marriage between Asian and say, Native British people, does happen, but not as much as between Native Brits and Blacks. Asians tend in the main, to be Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, at least in the UK, though of course, Christianity is represented too.
Many Asian communities in the UK, especially the Pakistani community, tend to live in ghettos, living insular lives, with little or no, it would appear, interaction with the host community. Unemployment amongst the Pakistani community is quite high as compared to say the Indian community.
Cricket remains the preferred sport of choice, so whenever India play Pakistan, old rivalries emerge. Asian food has taken off in the UK and is popular among Native Brits, although for some, it remains an acquired taste.
Of course, Asian people came to the UK, like the Blacks, and Eastern Europeans of today, to find work. To do the work, that many Native Brits, were not prepared to do. As time has gone on, of course, many Asians have settled down here, had children here and are, of course, British citizens.
The UK once ruled India, it was regarded as the 'Jewel in the British Crown' when it came to our empire and commonwealth. The UK rightly or wrongly, despite India for example, becoming an emerging power, still sends money to its former Asian territory. Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc also receive substantial amounts of money from the British government too.
Asian people, today, seem to be regarded as a different race, to the Native Brits. However, linguistically, Asian languages like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi etc, are in the same group as European languages, including English. Asian people have been and are still are regarded in some quarters, as Caucasian, the same race as the majority Native Brits. In today's meaning of the word, Caucasian means white, however, this is confusing. To be caucasian, does not necessarily mean white, and should never be made out to be so. Some regard, the very word caucasian to be out of date or indeed classification of people into races, but there you go.
Finally, then, the UK will always have a relationship with people from the Indian subcontinent, like it or not. Indeed, my daughter is half British Pakistani, I have two grandchildren, whose father, like my daughter, was half English and British Pakistani.