Friday, 7 October 2011

Mixed Britainnia

Human Beings are incredibly wonderful. They can also be incredibly cruel too. Mob mentality and Democracy - there is a fine line between the two. One man's approval is another man's disaster.

With that thought in mind, last night, the programme Mixed Britannia was broadcast on the Beeb and is currently on the iPlayer for those in the UK to catch up on (as I did). It focuses on the story of mixed race relationships in the UK over the past 100 years, surprising, as I thought that history would have only been significant after WWII.

It is fascinating to see the reviews for that programme TV in the British Press, most of all as they use colourful language. Thornier? Eh!? I will come onto that later.

First of all, it is a fascinating biopic on life. Looking at raw statistics, it is life. And while the internet trolls, the bums and the usual suspects in the English Defence League will shout, beat, or whatever they do, it is not usually with women)...anyway, as I said a fascinating biopic. Of course I will also say that as here is a pic of Mum (Creole) and Dad (Tamil) to illustrate why:

I am a cheeky sod when people ask me the following: Do you find it confusing? Which side are you closer to? Do you love you mum or dad's family more? Which country do you like better? My reply is that yes, it is really confusing. I always s**t out of my backside, while the people around me s**t out of their mouths. With that as my rapid response answer, I will let you figure out the answer to those seminal questions that people ask me.

And this is the reality. While people in Ivory Towers still see people who are from different countries as exotic, different or something to be handled with kid gloves, the rest of us are getting on with life. I work with people from diverse backgrounds, both in McJob and as a film maker. There is not one person I can say is this or that based on race. Of course, by default, many members of my family are from different parts of the world (America to Fiji - try that for a free place stay).

Back to the newspapers. Things do not change much, and the dinosaurs in the media industry are amongst the best. Thank goodness they will soon be out of business, really, the guys who peddle such tripe are not fit to flip burgers (before you get sanctimonious, I have also done my stint at the burger bar - all 3 weeks and 6 days of it before I jetted off to Sri Lanka as a summer job). Despite the fact that this is the 21st Century, Multicaulturalism, Mixed Race, Evil Darkies or whatever the term you wish to use has been a part of the country for the best part of a century, we still get the word thornier to describe the cultural whole. Josephine seems to be Cameron's new BF. You need to get in the real world guys.

Now back to the documentary, a fascinating look at what is a very British phenomena. And interesting as the UK is a far more welcoming place to people of different backgrounds compared to the rest of continental Europe. And unlike Australia, South Africa or America, there were no segregation laws over here. Usually as our politicians are too obsessed with trying to squeeze the system dry to care about people's private life. Also, remember that in the UK, we have a healthy distaste and mistrust of officialdom, which helps when it comes to their governance over the private lives of individuals.

In fact, if I were to have children, I would not want to raise them anywhere else in Europe, as I know they would have a hard time out there. They would not be able to avail themselves of any opportunity that may arise, unlike here in the UK were the possibilities are endless. My story would be very different if my parents had chosen France or Germany instead of the UK as their destination...

My generation is exceptionally useless in this world (OMG let me jerk off on Facebook!), but we are good in one thing. We are exceptionally tolerant. Actually, let me rephrase that; everything for us is passe, nothing is shocking, and we pretty much go with the flow. We are not rebellious like the guys from the 1960's or different like the guys from the 1970's but rather more accepting of everything. Live and let live. Which is probably the reason why Mixed Race Peoples are the fastest growing section of the UK's population. We just think with our crotches and not much else ;)

Personally, I cannot wait for the rest of the series and I am looking forward to the rest of this biopic. I was raised in a Britain that was on the tail end of its insidious racism and the world I live in today is very different from the one I was a child in. I was one of the very few mixed race children in the class but there was nothing 'unusual' or 'conflicting' (sorry to disappoint you wanabe Eugenicists) about being me. I am who I am, and it was fun. Different foods, different languages, different holidays but also very samey. Just like any other household, we laughed, we cried, we had fun, we argued. It was normal. Really, nothing special.

In a way I almost feel honoured that there is a biopic about people like me - do I really deserve this splurge of taxpayers' money? But this first programme was an eye opener - I never realised the depth or history of mixed race families in the UK. And one of the interviewees made a great observation. The English Women who married men from different parts of the world (as the bulk of relationships before WWII were between foreign men and English Women) were Great Matriarchs. To quote, They followed their hearts instead of their heads. And it is fascinating to see the pictures of these trail blazing families. Nothing special, just ordinary people going about their daily business. But culturally, they were part of something far more fascinating. I wonder, if they were alive today, what they would think of the Mixed Britannia that is here today?

1 comment:

magiceye said...

trust BBC to do such a wonderful documentary!