Skip to comments.Hey, don't call me an Asian! [Old article, but interesting read on current UK PC policy]
Posted on 07/26/2011 6:10:30 AM PDT by James C. Bennett
LONDON: Goodness Gracious Me and kiss my chuddies, but just as the world was getting used to the omnibus term 'British Asian' and all its newly-cool, over-curried cultural connotations, Brown Britain is calling time on it and asking to be labelled Hindu, Sikh or Muslim instead.
Indians, who constitute more than half of the UK's 3.5 per cent 'British Asian' population, are leading the charge towards separate lives. Hindus are in the forefront, Sikhs just behind them and Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims are being forced into a default acceptance that they can no longer shelter under the convenient cover-all term 'Asian'.
These are the conclusions of a much-hyped new BBC programme 'Don't call me Asian' and its writer-presenter Sarfraz Manzoor told TOI , the three-year-old move towards separate labels may have huge implications for British government and society.
"No longer can we say the interests of Sikhs and Hindus are the same as those of all British Asians. The government, will, at some point have to formulate more specific and targeted legislation, not just for all Asians but for specific strands within," he said.
Commentators agree that the overwhelmingly well-educated, prosperous and well-integrated Indian community's needs are deeply divergent from the comparatively provincial, poor, insular and failing Pakistani and Bangladeshi. Add to that a growing assertiveness by British Hindus and Sikhs and the term 'Asian' seems clearly inadequate.
Says British-born-and-bred London college student Neeta: "Asian is not a term I use for myself at home or with my friends. I don't feel Asian, I feel British and Indian and Hindu."
Manzoor and many others believe, the move towards clear labelling may be positive. "Till now, Britain's Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were defined by others by what they were not "not white, not black," says Manzoor.
Now, they are choosing their own definitions.
Arguably, it all started after the British Pakistani rioting that set north-west Britain ablaze in the long, hot summer of 2001. British Indians were alternately intimidated and indignant about being linked with the unprovoked mob violence by uneducated, unemployed Pakistani Muslim youths.
Says Manzoor, who spent several months making the BBC programme: "Many of the young Hindu women I spoke to said they saw no reason to be lumped with the rioters."
Race relations experts say the quest for separate public identities escalated after 9/11, when British Hindus further sought to put a safe distance between themselves and Muslims.
Earlier last year, the Indian High Commission here significantly began to speak in much the same language. Sections of the several-hundred thousand Sikh community, meanwhile, began a parallel attempt to be labelled 'Sikh' and not 'Indian'.
The ironic result, points out Manzoor, is that just as it has become increasingly cool to be British Asian with all the hip, world-beating music, food, fashion, films and television sitcoms, Asians themselves have moved away from racial to religious affiliation.
Manzoor said his conversations with women activists of Britain's largest Hindu youth group and parallel chats with young Pakistani Muslim men underlined the extent of the divide. "The young Hindu women were incredibly well-spoken. The Muslims were really rough. They didn't really have anything in common at all."
Except, of course, the colour brown. Till the UK's 2001 census, the demographics of Brown Britain were officially labelled 'Asian', with the add-on explanation that it was a reference to "the most widely accepted current use of the term.
If they are British citizens, just call them Brits. End of problem.
We saw that in the Negro/Colored/Black/African American/People of Color business in the United States.
These demands usually have no relationship to reality of course, but the leadership elite within the group thinks they do.
Frankly, every time Democrats lost the Presidency or the Senate the black people needed a name change. Now that they've lost the House twice in a short period of time they may need a total new identity ~ which, if you've noticed, modern Republicans are giving them.
The situation in England is simply that the residents of Londonistan, who are mostly Indian, want to be thought of separately from the Paks and Bengalis.
The Brits should hold fast to the South Asian nomenclature.
Mass Hindu immigration was one of the best things to happen to Britain in the 20th century.
Pakistani immigration?... Not so much.
Wrong, wrong, and in case you don't get the point, wrong again! Australians don't like being called British, and Canadians hate being called American, so 'Mr' Muawiyah, why do you wish to be called Asian? Are you trying to hide something or hide from something?
So why shouldn't Souf' Asians be identified as Souf' Asians.
Concerning the Aussies, from the land of Oz, I thought they preferred to be called for beer!
i absolutely agree with you. just as Coptic Christian Egyptians are vastly different from Muslim Egyptians.
British muslims reject assimilation (as do German Muslims, Australian muslims... hmm. a pattern?)
British Hindus keep their culture, but are loyal citizens.
and the 2% Muslims, have crime rates orders of magnitude greater than the 2% Hindus.
- - -
“Arguably, it all started after the British Pakistani rioting that set north-west Britain ablaze in the long, hot summer of 2001. British Indians were alternately intimidated and indignant about being linked with the unprovoked mob violence by uneducated, unemployed Pakistani Muslim youths.
Says Manzoor, who spent several months making the BBC programme: “Many of the young Hindu women I spoke to said they saw no reason to be lumped with the rioters.” “
“Whenever a minority group begins to feel its grasp on the levers of power slipping (to the degree that they had any grasp at all) they will begin demanding they be referred to by a different name.”
Actually, the American black community has followed the opposite course. Negros turned into blacks in the 60’s, when the civil rights movement was removing many of the remaining badges of slavery. Then they turned into African Americans in the 90’s when the minority grip on education, congressional representation, appearing in TV and movies etc was increasing greatly.
So it seems to me not so simple as you explain. The current situation in Britain seems a perfectly sensible move by non-Muslim Indians to let people know they are not Muslims—not by a loss of power. And, it would suck to have people think you were Muslim if you weren’t. Were loss of power the explanation for ethinic group name changes, the working class whites in Britain would be changing their name (native britains?). I know for certain there is a profound sense there that they have and are continuing to lose power. Talk to any London cab driver.
Your idea that they should all be called Brits instead of Asians is a good one.
I really do not blame those of Indian descent (or for that matter those who are Japanese, Chinese, Korean) for rejecting the all-encompassing term “Asian” which includes the Muslims from Pakistan and other Middle East countries. Why should these folks be lumped together with such an anti-social group of people who are plotting against their country?
As I said “as they begin to believe” ~ of course they were not losing the grasp of the levers of power ~ but their older leaders were.
I can see why the Hindus and Sikhs are ticked off about this.
They are studious, hard working, and tend to be middle class or better. They obey the law, and only trace numbers of them end up in prison.
Pakistani Muslims, however, are packing British prisons at record numbers. For the most part they are *not* hard working, they figure enormously in the welfare rolls, live in squalor in exclusively Muslim ghettos, having pushed non-Muslims out, make no effort to integrate, and are generally a pain in the butt.
To top everything off, they are obnoxious about Islam, as well, and openly despise their hosts and their way of life. They are even trying to create Sharia law enclaves in Britain, where British law does not apply.
Who in their right mind would want to be lumped together with that?
ping to t_s
however the hindus, christians and Sikhs don't like being clubbed with Moslems any more -- if there is a bomb blast in london it wasn't "Asians" who did it but Paki Moslems.
Most Brits of English,Welsh,Scottish, Irish heritage don't call themselves Brits :)
The Indian Hindus Christians Sikhs don’t want to be clubbed with the Moslems. Why should they? That way the Moslems can conveniently hide behind the “asian” label when a terrorist act occurs.
Besides, in Britain, people from the Indian sub-continent are called “Asians”, not “South Asians”.
no “older leaders” — the hindus, sikhs, christians from the sub-continent have integrated into British society and enriched it far, far more than the moslems have — they don’t want to be clubbed with Moslems anymore.
Whatever they’re called that’s where they’re from.
Why should non Hindu, non Sikh, non Christians have to bother with figuring out somebody else’s religion.
So, when a Moslem blows up a bomb in the UK, the terrorist was a "British Asian"
hindus, christians and sikhs do NOT want to be clubbed along with the Moslem scum and instead want the blame to be shown directly as "Moslem terrorist" or "Paki terrorist"
If you work in the newspapers then you ought to — rather than saying that “youths” or “minorities” blew up trains or otherwise...