It is easily argued that the term ‘Britishness’ has different meanings to different people, particularly as Great Britain is home to a plethora of different cultures. One ethnic group which is particularly prominent in many cities is those of South Asian descent, who quite…
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ish; one held by conservatives that refers to an ‘ahistorical essence’ (p32) and one used more commonly by those of liberal minds, which refers to certain ‘qualities’ that ‘most British people are supposed to share in common’ (p32). Parekh (2009) also argues that many of the historical markers of either of those two viewpoints have disappeared within the last few decades, and have been updated to reflect changing types of community and differences in heritage. This changing ethnic landscape is perhaps all too often forgotten, despite Britain’s multicultural heritage, leading to certain acts of xenophobia.
It can also be argued, perhaps, that this xenophobia and heightening in British identity that occurred after the Second World War can be seen as false, or situated on lousy foundations. Many biologists, for example, completely reject the notion of ethnicity and separate races (Baumann, 1996). This suggests that the notion of being British has little to do with heritage, and more to do with the traits, humours and cultural essences of the community. Additionally, it might also be noted that Britishness could be used to refer to a current state (Parekh,2009) rather than any shared historical past, and thus would include those of South Asian descent who have made the U.K. their home. Of course, it is arguable that race and ethnicity can be understood as a social construct (Baumann, 1996), in which case the questions of being a British Asian
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