Repeating Themes in the 21st Century

Ironically, Britain is again seeing a new wave of immigrants that will again influence the country’s combined culture. Now immigrants from the former Eastern Block as well as the Middle East are flooding into England as well, looking for the same things Asian and black immigrants were looking for decades before. Again the U.K. is looking for ways to slow the influx with legislation and tougher immigration criteria. The cycle repeats itself.

Economics will continue to be the stress pressure on British culture and how much Asian and black culture continues to contribute. In 2009 almost one out of four people cited employment as a major concern. Granted, this level is far below that of the 1980s when it was on the mind of 8 out of 10 people surveyed. However, when times get hard, the question of who was the last in the room tends to come up as a quick solution to unemployment. It makes no rational sense because the high majority of immigrants coming in often start at low level positions that most British don’t want to do as a career. New immigrants hardly cause a huge impact on higher paying positions as those often go to candidates who are well-established and have high technical credentials. Nonetheless, it never takes much to stir up an already upset mob.

Further, Asian and black influence on British culture may actually wane and dissolve a bit over the next two decades. Many older generations who were the first to land in Britain and brought their relatives afterward complain often about how the younger generations are completely disconnected from their families and background. No surprise, these children have literally grown up British, with only their physical appearance and home life telling them they originally came from somewhere else. As a result, Asian and black British children are far more prone to adapt to generic British culture than they are to keep the customs, language and nuances of their parents. That in turn causes a dilution of influence and a rewriting of what it means to be Asian or black in Britain.

Additionally, cross cultural relationships and unions are creating a powerful meshing of white and colored Britain. As generation after generation of children are born and grow up with more and more mixed relationships, their outlook on their world and country is far more mixed than the grandparents from either side. They are, literally, the product of modern Britain mixed culture. Being born with a part of multiple cultures often forces such children to carve their own path growing up, owing their cultural allegiance to no one and everyone at the same time.

The shape of Europe itself in the next ten years will also have a say on how Asian and black cultures continue to identify themselves in Britain. The UK is increasingly finding itself wrapped into the larger going-ons with the Continent. The 2008 Recession proved that, despite England’s insistence at being unique from the European Union, it was still vulnerable to the health of Europe. No island country has ever been able to survive for long cut off from trade with partners. Again, how Europe deals with its problems of sovereign debt and instability will have ramifications for daily life in Britain. That too contributes to how people see immigrants in general, and particularly newer immigrants versus those already established and part of communities. It’s now not uncommon, just like Hispanics in the U.S., for black and Asian British citizens to feel that newcomers should be limited and restricted much the same way their relatives were in the 1970s. This is because once a person is part of the “haves,” he realizes there’s not enough to go around for everyone. Resources are limited. So a person’s perspective changes to hold onto being in the haves versus the have-nots.