Idiot – How about English? Or British?

Who are we? What is the name that we call ourselves? Mixed people are the fastest-growing minority group in Britain. And yet we are stifled by a lack of language to describe ourselves. I first realised this in my early 20s, reckoning with the past. As a Welsh-French-Scottish-American-Indian-Mauritian, when I was growing up I had no word that defined me apart from “mixed”, which felt less than ideal: it conjured up the image of two scoops of ice-cream melting in a bowl.

How about English? Or British? Which are not “racial” definitions in the slightest.

For example, me. I look, sound, act, am therefore, about as English as it is possible to be. Between the pair of my father and myself we qualified – ignoring such things as aptitude or skill – to play rugby for any of the four home nations, soccer for any of the five. My accent seems to be the English of the 1980s, my attitudes those of the 1780s. Step back a little more and there is Hugenot, Peruvian (definitely, whether that includes mestizo is dependent upon how racy that particular lady was and she was, indeed, very racy) and on. Like vast numbers of others there’s also that mix of Celt, Saxon, Norman and Viking in there.

Yet I am English – and while I don’t particularly like the term, British. The defining influences which make me what I am are of that country – thus that’s what I am.

So, why’s that not good enough for you, Honey?

31 thoughts on “Idiot – How about English? Or British?”

  1. Norman Tebbit’s cricket test should be the arbiter.

    When I lived in Germany and Austria I used to explain ( usually to my Irish friends ) that I had no problem living in these places as a foreigner, because I wasn’t foreign, I was still British.

  2. One parent, grandparent or even remoter ancestor is more than enough for people to call, and more importantly consider, themselves black these days. A fictitious Native American ancestor worked out very nicely nicely for Liz Warren. A preference for squeezing your biologically male frame into a frock makes you a woman in the eye of the law. Anyone can be whatever they want these days.

    Where has she been hiding not to realise that?

  3. Allthegoodnamesaretaken

    “Laila Woozeer is a British author, performer, musician and activist.”

    There, that wasn’t hard, was it? Even the Grauniad got it right.

  4. I was born in Iran, but I consider myself British after having lived in the UK for nearly 50 years. Culturally I consider myself British, though I do like Iranian culture (except for the Mullahs).

  5. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Because being half-caste is by some distance the most interesting thing about some people.

    Next question.

  6. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Kaneda, such issues do exist, but are almost always external. And these days, fortunately, entirely relegated to (usually sub-continental) taxi drivers insisting for the third time on knowing where you really come from. Ms Woozeer would be well advised to spend as many seconds per decade thinking about her skin colour as the average autochthonous Englishperson does.

  7. I’ve always been happy enough, being English. While there’s some ambiguity regarding our family’s distant origins, we’ve been in or around London for more than 200 years. The British tag is a broad church, affording British Asians, Afro-Caribbeans and the like a sense of belonging. I probably feel the same about being British as most Remoaners do about being part of the so-called European community. You’d have to be tone deaf, however, not to have noticed a marked deterioration in the relationship between the English and our Scots/Welsh/Irish cousins. As time goes on I find myself identifying less and less with the wider community and have begun circling the wagons around me and my own, my immediate family.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    She’s an “activist”, she doesn’t want solutions she wants to be the centre of attention and this is her chosen field.

  9. “As a Welsh-French-Scottish-American-Indian-Mauritian,”

    The inadequates who say this sort of thing are nearly always women, and always ensure they include the Native American bit. That’s tacked on to the end (“…and part Cherokee!”) so you are in no doubt as to how interesting they are. But any references to war-bonnets and scalping, and they’ll revert to sanctimonious home counties clone.

  10. “Norman Tebbit’s cricket test should be the arbiter.”

    Not at all sure about this. At the time it was said, asking Caribbean-British to support amateurish English over the supernatural West Indies was a fool’s errand.

    Besides, many of the most significant “English” cricketers of recent times are forrin anyway, being Irish, Indian, Saffers, Kiwis or from Yorkshire.

  11. The government can make you British but only God can make you an Englishman. I think Noel Coward said that.

  12. Perhaps your dad is one thing, your mum another thing and you live somewhere else, giving you a third thing. Each new thing diminishes the relevance of the previous ones. She can’t possibly be six things at once, so clearly she’s one thing: a fucking stupid bint.

  13. How about English? Or British?

    She’s definitely not English, the English being a people with their own Homeland – England, surprisingly – which literally means ‘Land of the English’. Ditto the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
    ‘British’ seems to have been co-opted to cover everyone else, Africans, Asians and Middle-Easterners, who’ve been imported over the years.

  14. When asked officially, I’m “Black African” in origin, despite the appearances seeming to show that I’m pale-white (with tinges of blue), Celtic/Viking type.

    Why not? Doesn’t the “Out of Africa” hypothesis demonstrate exactly that?

    If Shaun King (aka Talcum X) can declare himself black without a twinge of irony AND make himself a pasty faced race grifter then why shouldn’t I identify as a black African.

    I’ve had a few doubtful looks, but never been challenged on it.

  15. Stupid boring whinging cow.

    If you don’t like it here, fuck off back to where you came from (if you can work that out hahahahahaha).

  16. Jack C

    And the odd Zimabwean…

    That boat sailed with Jack Charlton’s “Irish” footy team 35 years ago. 🙂

  17. My late missus was Austrian/Anglo-Scots born in Italy.

    When asked

    a) what language do you dream in
    Depends on what the dream is about.

    b) who do you support at football/rugby ?
    Whoever’s winning.

  18. “ So, why’s that not good enough for you, Honey?”

    Because her main desire is to be different from the likes of us.

  19. That was in The Goons : Serge Moriarty, the off-White Russian.

    “Why Serge ?”

    “He couldn’t afford flannel.”

  20. We have a variety of words to describe people – mulatto, quadroon, octoroon etc – but they are only needed when people feel a need to classify others into specific categories and use those categories a lot when dealing with others, which is pretty much only when being racist. There’s nothing wrong with having to say “Welsh-French-Scottish-American-Indian-Mauritian” when it’s only needed rarely in discussions which are for pleasant conversation. It’s not like, for example, there’s a significant difference between being Welsh-French-Scottish-American-Indian-Mauritian and Welsh-German-Scottish-American-Indian-Mauritian.

  21. Whatever is it with Brits? And this woman, whatever she thinks she should call herself, is undoubtedly mentally Brit. My bint is mulata. Bit of Wop. Bit of Africa. Bits of other things. Sums up to coffee with a dash. And mulata’s what she calls herself. Her pal’s roughly the same hue, but from a different cocktail. She calls herself the same. Generally they refer to each other as “La Negra”.
    What the hell is the fucking problem?

  22. Incidentally, they’re both Bahianas. Which are generally acknowledged to be as dangerous to be around as poorly stored dynamite. And which they loudly & continually will remind you of. To distinguish themselves from Brazil’s lesser races.

  23. My maternal grandmother fell in love and emigrated from Basel to Blackburn between the wars. My mother done well, visited many countries including USA Saf France Australia but never visited her mum’s birthplace of Switzerland.
    I asked why that was because everyone wants to visit their roots but never found the true reason she never went. My Dad said he was never sure either but said it could be because she was sick of being told by her mum that Great Britain was schit. And after a while the mental battering from someone who lived here voluntarily saying this place is schit gets to you.
    You just want to say feck off then, I’m a Brit. And feck offski again.
    A bit like the Brexit thing – the people that love saying Britain is schit for not wanting centralisation to Brussels, if they were your parents and didn’t stop banging on about it, then you’d disown them at the earliest.

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