Ethnic identites Essay

1533 Words Jan 25th, 2014 7 Pages
In what ways are Ethnic identities important in contemporary Britain, and to whom, and why?
The concept of ethnic identity calls for definition. The adjective “ethnic” relates to the fact of belonging to a certain human group, as defined by anthropological and cultural features. With such a wide meaning, the word and its derivative “ethnicity” raise issues as to their definition: there is no universally agreed definition on the term ethnicity. “Ethnicity refers to a group or community that is assumed to share common cultural practices and history. Religion, language and territory are all included in the term ethnicity” (Kath Woodward, 2004, p 124). As such, the concept is rather recent, as it appeared in sociological studies late in the
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This therefore is labelling the minorities in terms of being different compared to the majority. As a result of this labelling the ethnic minorities, grasp on to their ethnic identities. “When we came here we swore we were English because Guyana was British Guiana... when you come here, you discovered it’s a different thing. If you’re English, you have to be white” this point of view that you have to be white to be seen as British is one that is largely shared within the ethnic minority groups especially within the first generation of immigrates to Britain and this is why many first generation families stress the view that the second generation should hold on to their ethnic identity. Tariq Modood claims that “New cultural practises, especially to do with family.... have become a feature of British landscape; skin colour, identities, place of origin...counties’ to shape the personal lives and relationships of even British Born individual” ( Modood 1997).
To measure the importance of the concept of ethnic identities in Britain today, it is interesting to see how the concept is used in everyday language. For most British people, ethnic identity has a rather restricted scope: (“In Britain ethnic is qualified more with minority not majority” (Christopher Karner, 2007.) Indeed, the white
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