29 March 2008

White English Minority in England?

I read Twining's blog (a black police officer in England) and noticed comments by a woman who complained about being a white person in England and feeling that she was being displaced in the country of her birth - where she felt she should have more rights than the 'minorities'. She used the Notting Hill Carnival to illustrate how black people were able to visibly celebrate their culture yet white people weren't able to do that. She felt in a minority.

I suddenly had an urge to discover more about the festivities in England which were part of the white culture and look at how and where they conducted these celebrations. Most of the festivities found took place in rural communities and had been established over some time. Some of them their origins were obscure but it didn't matter; this somehow mattered not a jot to the enjoyment of the activities.

Here are just some of the festivities which, to me, celebrate the English-ness of England:

The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival may see very odd to some. Over 40,000 spectators watch a 7lb block of cheese being thrown down a steep hill and people (men, in the main) scrambling down the hill as fast as they can - the first to the bottom wins the cheese!
Here is the You Tube video which illustrates this tradition the best...

The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival 2007

Other festivities are: The Sealed Knot, the Nettle Eating Contest, the Pearly King Harvest Festival, Tar Barrels in Northumberland (yes, another one!), the Great Yorkshire Show, Heddington & Stockley Steam Rally & Country Fair and not forgetting Morris Dancers appearing all over the country. These are just a few of the hundreds of 'English' celebrations occurring each year without being defined as 'celebrating English culture' - it just is.

The Notting Hill Carnival arose out of extreme oppression by the English people to the newly arrived, predominantly Caribbean people, and is enjoyed by people from all over the world. It is an example of people transcending race and just having fun for a couple of days. It is English as it has arisen from experiences in England. It is a positive part of the culture which should be applauded, not derided, considering its origins. All races take part. There are food stalls selling food from Brazil, China, France, Jamaica, Africa and many other cultural cuisines. A broad range of music, dancing, merriment, colourful floats and costumes. You go and enjoy yourself or don't attend at all. Just like the cheese-rolling competitions.

England is changing because all regions of the world experience change - it is part of the evolution of humans. There are more benefits than negatives to new fresh immigrants going into countries like the UK and the USA. If you listen to the tat-media they would have you believe otherwise.
England and Britain has a long way to go with regards to race. Ignorance, unfortunately, will be with us for a long time to come


TWINING said...

I agree about the Notting Hill Carnival...it was born out of oppression. It is just the norm for our oppressors to advise we are always wrong. I think we should perhaps celebrate everything.....Nice blog...

chandy said...

I've been to the Notting Hill Carnival on a number of occasions and enjoyed it tremendously. The mixture of different peoples and their enjoyment of the moment was awesome. I hope to participate this year again, but will do mostly the steel pan thingie in Hyde park. Heard the crowd's more mature.
Ironically, lots of English (white) expats return home on this wkend to celebrate these festivities. So this lady sounds like a "winger"........

CharmaineZoe said...

Don't tell me you've never come across worm charming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Xf95_6Wnw
or gurning, two more quaint English traditions :-)

Caledonian Jim said...

The source of racial tension in the UK today is no longer between black and white . After decades of difficulty, that particular problem, while not solved completely, is a lot better than it used to be .

The main issue today is the growing divide between Muslim and non-Muslim. You might almost say that it's becoming a struggle between the fundamentist browns versus the westernised blacks/whites . It's actually ironic that the thing likely to unite blacks and whites is increasing dislike of Islam .

Stan J said...

The lady complaining sounds like a twit to me. The Notting Hill Carnival is just a lot of fun for everyone, regardless of race.

Oli said...

Caledonian Jim- Totally agree.
And the lady does seem a 'winger' LOL
The Notting Hill carnival may be based on a Caribbean culture but it is also based on a British one and its coming together, which was very fruitful

ted stratford said...

just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog. Did you know Shakespeare wuz black? Not many people know that.

Anonymous said...

With current levels of immigration whites will soon be a minority in many English cities, this is by the goverments own statistics and predictions. Immigration has gone too far. People of immigrant descent commit more crime than Anglo-Saxons and are more likely to claim benefit. We don't need them! Japan has done well for itself and it is 99% Japanese. I feel very sorry for women like the one you mentioned who are made to feel like strangers in their own country and whether you like it or not it is most definately happening, just go down to most parts of inner city London and play spot the white man, I guarantee you will have a hard time of it. None of what I am saying is racist. It's just the truth that the goverment is too cowardly to say but everyone thinks. Send immigrants home! England for the English!

Anonymous said...

Now hang on just a second, Anonymous.

I wonder if that's how Indigenous Australians felt when the English invaded their country and dumped our ancestors here.

I wonder if that's how Native Americans felt.

Or what about South Africans (like the Zulu)

Or countless other countries that Mother England conquered?

You don't have to be amongst people of your own colour to be at home. Just amongst people of your own spirit.

Open your heart, you will probably find migrants will love England more than the English. Just like migrants love Australia and American more than the Australians and Americans.

Stepterix said...

I wonder whether Anonymous could cite which government statistics they are referring to. Such a change would be striking.

I have looked at the 2001 census figures for one city and one town that one would likely think of when it came to large immigrant population. Leicester had a 60.54% White/British, and if we include white people from Ireland or elsewhere, this figure increases to nigh on 64%. The figures for Bolton are 87.2% White/British, to which we could add another 2% white people of non-British ethnicity. For Anon's contention to be correct, either both places will have to grow significantly with the vast majority of the new residents being immigrants, or the current white population would have to move elsewhere, but not to any other town or city that is allegedly liable to have a minority white population. The bare facts demonstrate the lie of such crypto-fascist contentions based on fear and insecurity.

Bottom line is that England is an immigrant nation. This includes Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Norsemen, Normans, Flemish, Huguenots, Scots, Irish, Jews, Italians, Poles and this all before the wave of immigration following the Second World War. I wish that these self proclaimed English patriots would actually read the history of the nation of which they claim to be so proud, instead of the Daily Mail and the ravings of the BNP.