Bloom

BST. British Standard Time.

There is something about the word British that makes me feel proud, and at the same time irritated. If you were to look at me, you would not think I was British. Namely because I am not white of skin and fair of hair – or just fair, for that matter.

You would probably change your mind once I opened my mouth.

I used to tell my colleagues that I grew up in Dubai. They took that to mean that I was FROM there, and would say things like, ‘oh you learned English pretty quickly‘, and ‘your accent is quite good‘ and ‘you sound distinctly Southern – who was your teacher?‘.

Well my teacher was my mother. She was born in Tooting, London. I was born there too. We are British, albeit very multicultural, so not English, just British. My accent is British because my parents are British, so even though we lived in another country, they maintained their British culture and passed it on to us. They didn’t design to do this intentionally – it just came about.

Do I get offended when people say these things to me? I used to. I was a bit green. I used to get indignant. Hey, I’m British, this is my country too.

I don’t always feel like it’s my country, especially when people tell me to ‘go back home’. How can I? This is home. This is my mother’s home too. My mother’s parents came from two different countries and so did my father’s parents.

So if I were to go ‘home’ you’d have to dissect my body into a million pieces and divide my cells according to which country they originated.. that would be messy.

I bloomed though, with the knowledge that I came from everywhere and nowhere. It made me stronger. It made me prouder of my heritage.

Some days I feel fiercely British, and proud of my country and its people and it’s polite manners. Other days I feel ashamed of its history and the way it colonised the world. Some days I love its people for their exceptional Britishness, and other days I despise them for their entitlement.

But as I grow I realise something – and that is not everyone is perfect. Every nation, culture, race has its flaws and it’s positive attributes. There is good in everyone and everything, and there is also bad.

It’s important to value who you are and where you came from – to BLOOM into what makes you, YOU. Most of the time you are who you are because of your family, heritage and culture. This is why I choose to embrace the good parts of being British, and how they define me, so I can feel proud to be so. I can also feel proud to be all the other cultures that I am, and how these have impacted my ‘Britishness’, enhancing it and helping me to bloom in the process.

Which aspects of your culture do you like? What do you dislike?

Is Your National Identity Becoming a Global Identity?

Hello internet.

What do you think about national identity?

National Identity is defined as “a sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language.”

17021950-Abstract-word-cloud-for-National-identity-with-related-tags-and-terms-Stock-Photo

Which is interesting to me because if a sense of unity within a ‘nation’ is established by a distinctive language, tradition or culture, what then does that make the two dominant western nations, i.e. America and the UK?

The English language is a global language. This was a process begun, of course, by imperialism and invasion, not always seen a moral process. Nevertheless, it has resulted in a new dawn for culture and language. English is the predominant language of the Internet, because while webpages can be viewed in other languages, their addresses are in English. Computer codes are in English. A large number of countries around the world use English alongside their indigenous languages for administrative and governmental uses. English is often associated with economic affluence, education and prestige in many societies around the world. This could be because high end jobs require a knowledge of the English language, in this modern, advanced technological, interconnected world.

The result of globalisation, of course, is the globalisation of English, and with it the Western culture. ‘McDonaldisation’, ‘coca-colonisation’, and ‘Disneyisation’ are just a few terms thrown out there by sociolinguists who claim this creation of a monoculture has resulted in the killing (linguicide) of other languages, and cultures.

I personally think that it is a grave misconception to assume the western culture is the globalised culture, because while that may be predominantly true, indigenous cultures will always exist, alone or alongside the global monoculture. There are also thousands, even millions of cultures and civilisations around the world which remain untouched by the modern online community. That is a beautiful thought, to know that in some places, beauty and nature coincide to create wondrous populations of life and tradition that we know nothing about and have never heard of but can be related to through sheer humanity.

So what do you think? Is this true? Does this also mean that traditional cultures in the UK and US are also being killed, replaced by the globalised idea that western culture is multicultural cuisine (e.g. falafel, curries), universal fashion and a nomenclature of ideals which co-exist?

What do you think about national identity? Do you think your country has a distinct national identity, or is it so intermixed with the global monoculture that you feel as though your nationality is not much different from much of the world today? Or, alternatively (or , do you think the world is a diverse place and there is so much more out there?