F the Heritage
By the way, I'm British and the more of I think of that fact the MORE I cringe!
I blame colonialism.
Maybe it's because I'm black. Or maybe it's my dual-heritage - part British, Kenyan and Irish.
Being mix-d and black in Britain is complex. Historically it means being part colonialist and part-colony. Part powerful and part powerless. Part conqueror and part conquered. Part victor and part victim. I could go on...
Yet which side do I take? Which point of view? Which nation's ideal do I hold in my head? It's like having a double consciousness or a two-ness (shout out to WEB Du Bois for naming this experience). An older British white friend in his 1940s said the empire was good (for who?) To all involved or some?
Obama's former disavowed pastor Jeremiah Wright in a preach (A Colonised People) described colonialism as sick, devious and dangerous. So who's right? Is anyone right? Isn't colonialism over?
Countries have fought for their independence, though not all are free from colonial rule and many are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly known as the British Commonwealth of Nations); which is mostly made up of former territories of the British Empire (smells like neocolonialism).
Empire thinking might be an old warrior like notion yet do perceptions change from one century to the next? Well unlikely, given that a recent YouGov poll found that 59% of Brits when asked, thought the British Empire is 'something to be proud of' and 34% also said they would like it if Britain still had an empire. Do they still want a form of colonialism?
Hopefully not in the form of British detention camps and shoot to kill policies in Kenya during the 50s and 60s¹ when tens of thousands of Kenyans were murdered, tortured and mutilated whilst fighting for their land and freedom.
Why feel constrained by the historical accomplishments or flaws (depending on your view) of the nation you're a member of (that I by chance was born in)?
Here's a fascinating thought, a polish acquaintance said the concept of nations has only been around for 100 or so years. He said patriotism used to be at a local level, in towns and villages.
So I say, F the racial-cultural-citizen heritage (that's ascribed to you mainly by default of being born into a country that isn't the full representation of your ancestry), if you feel constrained by it (or in it).
Why not draw on (your) other cultural heritage? I'm actively interested in my Black African and Irish heritage.
¹Back then Kenya was part of the British empire.
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