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My Beautiful Launderette Identity

Decent Essays
Kurdish writes about his Pakistani identity, saying “It was a word I did not want to use about myself. I could not tolerate being myself” (Kureishi,1986, p.7). Struggles with identity are notable within My Beautiful Launderette, affected by the issues of racism and traditional homogenous virtues projected under Thatcher’s Britain. Peoples’ attempts to preserve British culture and separate itself from others who do not fit the mold, like immigrants, cause people to push away from their racial identities and roots, or do the opposite in isolating themselves and refusing to mix with British culture. It is extremely black and white where one us torn between assimilation, or the strict maintenance of one’s own culture. Omar is one character torn…show more content…
In explaining how he wanted to write about race and sexuality, he says “A love story between a gay Pakistani and a skinhead? In those days, you didn’t see men kissing on screen”. On top of being interracial and interethnic, the relationship was also interclass. These elements push against boundaries of social norms, and challenge the foundations of stereotypes within British identity. On top of representing something commonly underrepresented in the media, what makes the relationship more revolutionary is that it didn't exist for shock value. Nothing was portrayed as overt or extreme. Omar’s sexuality and interracial romance were never even discussed, it just was. It simply existed, just as a heterosexual romance exists without question. This challenges the belief that was held that there is something bad will happen if homosexuality is acknowledged in society. It also raises questions as to why these things are so taboo and can’t be represented. There is also irony highlighting the unfairness of homosexuality having to be hidden, while Nasser and his mistress are allowed to dance in broad daylight, while Omar and Johnny are forced to hide in the same setting. Another critique of society in this context is when Omar gives Johnny money in front of others watching, and during the interaction, Johnny secretly licks Omar on the neck. This again highlights the significance money has in society while something as simple as love for another human has to be
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