The Development of New Ethnic Identities such as Black British or British/Asian
When referring to British Asians, the majority of us often fall into
the trap of understanding the Asians referred to are linked to the
Indian Subcontinent, i.e. India, Pakistan etc. What we tend to forget
is that Asians are associated with a number of different countries and
with Asia being the largest continent in the world, what exactly is
meant by the term 'British Asians?'
Generally, here in Britain, they are perceived to be the 'brown' kind
and are often associated with the Indian subcontinent. This may seem
like a genuine error, but colloquially speaking we have come to accept
this fact and refer to it commonly without thought. Such examples can
be seen in various places where we tend to overlook the deeper
article. A radical example can be seen in perhaps the way we describe
'Hoovers', we all know that the correct term is 'Vacuum Cleaner'
however we use Hoover and the rest of us know what is being referred
to is actually a 'Vacuum Cleaner'. In not so many words the British
Asian community has been innocently branded to mean those people that
are British and associated with the Indian Subcontinent i.e. India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and perhaps in extreme cases neighbouring
countries such as Burma and Iran.
The Asian community living in Britain not so long ago used the term
'coconut' commonly. To an outsider of the Asian culture this term may
have seemed a harmless comment passed from one Asian to the next, and
colloquially speaking, this to a certain extent may be true, but the
term is used in ways which may offend or demeanour many others.
The 'coconut' metaphor serves as a criticism and has been around for
some time to describe Asians that have deviated from their ethnic
Asian culture and have started to move towards western ideologies and
customs. Those that the criticising Asians believe have been prompted
by western society and essentially 'the white man'. And whichever
Asian that may follow in the footsteps of such traditions and
ideologies is known as a 'coconut', brown on the outside, white on the
inside. It appears that British Asians have adopted the culture of the
host country and have assimilated into this society quite clearly.
This can be argued to be a intentional by some members of the Asian
community and others may well suggest it is an unintended consequence
of living and growing up in Britain.
Such a term has gradually eroded and faded from the minds of the
people that used it commonly. It seems that nowadays a new type of
culture has emerged and that British Asians a have now integrated into
British Society and are now more or less 'at home' and come to terms
with who they are and what they believe. But to what extent is this
true? Are Asians still the reserved people...