If you’ve read anything about me in my previous blogs you’ll know I’d be classed under the term ‘British Asian’.
British – because I was born here.
Asian –because I’m from a Punjabi Indian family.
Like most generations of Asians whose parents came to England the purpose was for their kids to have a better education and way of life, whilst maintaining their Indian routes and culture at home.
Believe me growing up as a British Asian kid in the 90s was hard!
Struggling to identify with…well…anyone.
I was to integrate into society, speak English, wear English clothes but then come home and speak a completely different language, have to adhere to a Punjabi way of life, including but not limited to eating food with our hands, speaking a different language, train at a young age to be a good wife (fail). So other than being confused it made me bi-lingual!
As a teenager I was ‘slightly’ more tanned than those around me and it didn’t exactly make me feel like I was British. At home, I had thoughts and opinions that my parents didn’t share because they weren’t Indian ways of thinking. To say I was confused is an understatement!
Hell I’m 34 and still confused!
I suppose now I’m proud to class myself as both.
I feel pride when I go abroad that people identify me as being English because of my accent, I cheer for Team GB at the Olympics and get excited seeing British people in foreign counties doing well.
I feel the same about India and Indians doing well abroad. What I would love to see is more British Asians doing the same. Those are the people I could identify with.
Even blogging, I’ve found it really difficult to find other British-Asian bloggers. Where are you!? With 2.3 million of us in the UK you’d think I could find you!!
To me being British and Asian has made me (I hope) more open minded and curious about other faiths, religions, nationalities (careful not to put ‘other races’, as I believe in the whole ‘we belong to one race’ rule).
My British-ness allowed me to be more tolerant and independent and broaden my views on society. My Indian-ness taught me family values, modesty, a different language and last but not least introduction to Bollywood!
I’ve been very lucky in that, even though I live in a small Northern, mostly white town, I have suffered very little racism. The bits I have suffered were down to ignorance and more often than not the support was in favour of me, personally it never bothered me but it made me feel humble knowing it bothered others to stick up for me.
I’ve been surrounded by people who really don’t care that I’m from an Indian family. They confess their envy that I’m naturally tanned and get even more so when abroad and in sunnier climates.
It probably helps that I’m so open and honest about what I do and don’t like about both cultures and my brown-ness that anything ‘racist’ thrown my way is water off a ducks back because I make the most racist remarks about myself!
The best thing about having as much access as I do to a completely different culture is sharing it with others, from what I’ve experienced they love hearing about my Indian side, most of the time it isn’t that different from their way of living. The mix and match of both cultures is always a bonus to me….I just want to share it! Ask my friend Ellie who I dragged to watch a Bollywood film with me recently!
NB…Must say confusion really kicks in when there’s an ‘England v India’ cricket match on … wait who am I kidding, when it comes to cricket you have to support India 😉
Have a good day xo