Having recently collaborated on a campaign video called ‘Are We Represented?’ we have decided to reveal what was discussed about being a British Asian right now…
The Collins English Dictionary defines a British Asian person as ‘someone of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi origin who has grown up in Britain’
Has the meaning of being British Asian changed over time? Our grandparents and parents grew up in Britain, but we are born and bred…does this change what it means to be British Asian. Are we more British than Asian because of this? Are we less cultured? Do we lack education about where we came from?
Whether you think we are or aren’t, what matters is that the meaning of being British Asian has changed, we are different, we think differently, we act differently and most importantly… we live our lives differently. The norms have changed, what we deem as acceptable and unacceptable have changed, we aren’t as afraid to break barriers anymore, say what we mean and mean what we say! This is change for the good, this is a positive movement towards the representation of British Asians. We now establish our identity, we grip it and show it to the world, loud and proud.
Our modification of British Asian identity over the years hasn’t come easy, we still face problems within our own houses…extended family…the community…and then society.
Does this leave us scared and afraid to accept and embrace who we truly are?
Of course it does, because well…
What will the family think?
What will the random aunitji who lives down the road say?
What will my followers who I don’t even know think?
This persistent circle of unnecessary opinions are thrown our way if we say or do something unpredictable. Culturally, people are used to us hiding and shying away but our identity is ever changing! Women work now you know! Women drink alcohol too! Men wash the dishes! Some of us are gay! Some of us marry out of caste! Some of us marry out of religion! Some of us don’t marry at all!
Question is, does this shock us? Does it matter at all? Are the opinions of others truly that important that we won’t live and enjoy our lives?
If we don’t embrace who we are right now, today in fact, our kids have got no chance in finding themselves and discovering their own identity.
We are in a current identity crisis, it’s not that we don’t know who we are. We are just too scared to embrace who we are because of external opinions that have grown status in our community for no reason whatsoever. We are the generation who can pull together and represent ourselves to the world!
The next question we face is that, can we as British Asians pull together?
Can British Asians support other British Asians?
I know it’s a crazy question right, of we should be able to do so, but should being the key word here. So one thing for you to ponder on…why would we ask such a silly question?
Of course we can support each other right?
British Asian girls are amazing supporters of each other right?
British Asians support each others small business start up’s right?
British Asians compliment each other loads right?
Once you’ve decided if we do or maybe don’t support each other enough. One thing we do know is that without the moral support we should give to each other, we are left underrepresented.
You really think Parliament and TV adverts can represent us? When we struggle to support each other, so why… why on earth are White Male Politicians or CEO’s going to support and represent us?
We are more than capable to push British Asian representation, there’s so many of us, we are smart, we are beautiful, we are strong and we can achieve so much.
Being represented comes in different shapes and sizes for different people, to some it might be political, to some it might be visual and to others it’s piece of mind. How can we be represented if people don’t truly, meaningfully understand us, relate to us and empathise with us?
‘Sikh’s carry that Sword…’
‘You can’t be Asian and gay…’
‘It’s not a disability, it’s possession…’
Now fellow Asian’s, read those comments again, with a ‘hunnah’ at the end (the Asian version of a question mark).
Point being, these are questions; NOT FACT. Comments should be listened to and sometimes even laughed at for being utterly outrageous, but we must not take this as ignorance. Our government, education system and social platforms are failing us in ensuring people are educated and understand our lives and identity. The Great British School Swap highlighted this loud and clear, we urge everyone to watch this program and simply relate to how both sides of the fence lack education and clarity to each others lives.
What we must do now is teach our families, friends, peers and colleagues the sheer importance of our identity and be able to say ‘this is me!’
No cover up’s…
Simply enough, be you, be proud. There is no shame in your identity; no matter what your race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability…
What we should now learn and understand is that; no, we are not represented. Let’s change that, we are the only people who can change it. Some us of feel like the tick box so to speak, let’s eradicate it, we are more than that, we can do just as much as those who aren’t BAME, so why categorise us?
We are so lucky, we are British Asians!!
We have British culture as well as Asian culture, our capabilities are limitless. We can learn from one another, enhance our own identity as British Asians and then with the moral support of each other we can fight the battle of under representation.
We can and we will be represented in whichever place we want to hold representation.
Joint guest blog by: Sandeep, Jatinder and Sangeeta
Sandeep finished her degree in Politics last year and modelled for a while until she noticed the sheer lack of representation in politics and the modelling industry; she has gone on to set up a business to act as a movement to encourage the equality and diversity of British Asians.
Jatinder, male make up artist, started out when he was just 15 as well as breaking boundaries by opening up about his sexuality and coming out as a proud gay Punjabi lad; he left school with no grades to chase his dreams and become one of today’s most popular MUA’s. @jatindergrewalmua
Sangeeta broke through barriers by completing a degree in fashion design and has become another prominent MUA in the asian industry; she also has a son aged 8, who has cerebral palsy, she plans to bring attention to disabilities in the asian community and educate people.