Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

7 March 2011

White and English, but not white-English: how to deal with the discriminatory Census for England and Wales

In two weeks’ time, all UK citizens will be required in law to fill in the national Census. Except, as in so many of these matters, there isn’t a Census for the whole UK but separate Censuses for England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Not that you’d know this from the coverage in the England-based British media, though, which hasn’t drawn our attention to the fact that the Census, like so much of domestic policy, has been devolved.

In England and Wales, we’ll be expected to answer the following two questions on our national identity and ‘ethnic group’:

The only difference between England and Wales will be the order in which the options ‘English’ and ‘Welsh’ appear on the form, and the fact that a Welsh-language version is available in Wales.

In Scotland, the ethnic-group question runs as follows:

Spot the difference? In England and Wales, non-white ethnic groups, as such, are not offered the standard option of including ‘English’ as part of their ethnic group: they’re officially classified only as ‘Black British’, ‘Asian British’, etc., and not ‘Black English’ or ‘Asian English’. By contrast, black and Asian persons living in Scotland are permitted to identify as ‘Black Scottish’ and ‘Asian Scottish’.

Not only is the ethnicity of black and minority ethnic (BAME) persons in England and Wales not officially to be classified as ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’, but those latter terms are reserved as ethnic categories exclusively for white persons. I.e., according to British officialdom, if you’re ethnically English, you’re white. If that sounds a bit like the BNP, that’s because this is a form of – indeed, a form for – racial apartheid.

Now, of course, people filling in the form can write in ‘English’ as their ethnic group. But how many black or Asian respondents are seriously going to write in ‘English’ in the space left blank for ‘any other Black / African / Caribbean background’ or ‘any other Asian background’? Even if people from those population groups think of their culture as English, they’re not going to write ‘English’ in here because ‘English’ isn’t exactly an Afro-Caribbean or Asian ‘background’ as such; plus most form fillers will think that their English identity is adequately implied by the term ‘British’ included in the ethnic-group headings, especially if they’ve specified ‘English’ as their national identity in the previous question.

So the Census is going to come up with millions of non-white people who supposedly identify ethnically as ‘British’ rather than ‘English’. But this is totally meaningless because they weren’t even given the option of viewing themselves as English.

Meanwhile, if you are, as I am, white and English, the Census form leaves you no choice other than to accept that your ‘ethnic group’ is ‘white-English’. This hyphenated, racialised cultural identity is implied by the very fact that ‘English’ is a sub-category of ‘White’ alone. But I consider myself to be part of an English ethnic group – where ‘ethnic group’ implies culture – not a white-English sub-section of English / British society. I.e. my English ethnicity – culture – has nothing to do with the colour of my skin, and I don’t see myself as part of a culture associated only with one racial group. So what should I put down on the form here, and what should I write in?

Apart from its highly suspect racial-political bias against seeing English, as opposed to British, culture and identity as something multi-racial and multi-cultural, the problem is that the Census completely muddles up a number of distinct categories or types of national / cultural / ethnic identity. I would say there are four main forms of ‘national’ identity:

  • Citizenship / nationality (i.e. statehood): in this sense, I personally am British
  • Social identity: I identify as English and am seen by everyone who meets me as English because I sound, look and behave in typically English ways, and because my relationships, economic activities and engagement in society as a public space are shaped by the structures and institutions of English society (e.g. the English class system, the English as opposed to British public sector, the opportunities and limitations of the economy of southern England, etc.). My national identity is, therefore, English because I’ve been thoroughly socialised as English, and my life is shaped by English social norms and institutions
  • Cultural / ethnic-group identity: here again, I’m English, if ‘ethnic group’ refers primarily to culture. Culture is about how we express ourselves in terms of collective, national rituals, traditions, customs and ways of life, as well as through creativity and the arts. My culture is distinctly English, although I recognise there is a great deal of continuity and overlap between that Englishness and the other national cultures of the UK
  • Race / kinship: so here, I’m white and arguably white-British in the sense that all the ancestors I know of came from different parts of the British Isles, including what is now the Republic of Ireland. So perhaps I should tick both the ‘English / Welsh / Scottish / N. Irish / British’ and the ‘Irish’ boxes? Except the form doesn’t allow you to do so, exercising its own special form of ethnic apartheid again, separating the ‘British’ from the ‘non-British’ white populations. Goodness, even if I could enumerate the full set of my ancestors’ countries of origin – which I can’t – I couldn’t possibly say with any degree of scientific certainty what precise mix of British racial-ethnic-genetic antecedents I embody. I’d just rather call myself ‘white’ and have an end of it; but the form wants me to see myself as white-something, and effectively as either white-British or white-Irish. And if you do write in ‘English’, they’ll have you down as some sort of racial extremist: insisting on specifying ‘English’ in particular, as opposed to lumping ‘English’ in with all the other British-racial categories.

What a load of absurd and politically manipulated nonsense this all is! I’d have nothing to do with it if the law didn’t insist I went along with it. The Census’s national-identity question arguably implies all four types of identity I’ve enumerated here, so I could reply alternately British, English, Irish and even Welsh (given my Welsh maternal family), and all four would be correct on one level but wouldn’t reflect how I really feel, which is English. And the ethnic-group question egregiously conflates cultural and racial identity, and disallows ‘English’ as a term that applies to all racial groups, which is in fact how I view the term.

So how am I actually going to answer? ‘English’, obviously, as far as national identity is concerned. Many of my fellow countrymen will also tick ‘British’, partly because the question also implies the other main type of national identity: citizenship. So again, the Census will generate some marvellous stats about how the majority of English people also or exclusively identify as British; but the data will be completely useless because the Census is so inexplicit about how these terms for national identity are to be understood.

And as for ‘ethnic group’, I’m just going to tick White and then write in ‘White’. If they want to know about race, then fine: I’m happy to be seen as white. But I won’t be pigeonholed as ‘white-English’, still less as someone who insists on a white-English racial identity. My ethnicity is English, not my white skin colour. (Well, OK, that’s English too, on one level: not a pretty sight on a foreign beach!)

Clearly, other English people will have their own individual take on these things, and will have their own strategies for filling in, deflecting and subverting these injurious and biased questions about national and ethnic identity. And so the whole exercise will produce meaningless information, because it just doesn’t reflect the way English people – both white and non-white – now see themselves in terms of nationhood and culture. In truth, it’s more of a desperate last-ditched effort on the part of the Anglo-British establishment to mirror back to themselves a population that still views itself as British.

But like all statistical surveys, you get back pretty much what you put in. A load of rubbish in this instance.



  1. In 2001 the then Commission for Racial Equality had a survey of minority groups commissioned called;
    ‘Citizenship and Belonging: What is Britishness?’
    In which it found that………..
    In England, white English people perceived themselves as English first and as British second, and most people from ethnic minority backgrounds perceived themselves as British, but none identified as English, a label they associated exclusively with white people.

    In 2011 Searchlight commissioned another poll called ‘Fear and Hope’
    in which
    1% of Asians and 6% of blacks considered themselves English.

    Why is the figure so low……because they know we English (thats the true English) make them look like the Psuedo English they are.

    As for the English, they are becomming, thanks to mass immigration and multi culturism/Positive DISCRIMINATION(positive my *@!*@)etc more and more anti immigrant and anti immigration.
    This country (indeed the whole of Europe) is developing a them and us attitude which is on the increase.


    Because of the real or perceived threat of foreign cultures and foreign peoples swamping our countries.

    So what do you want to do?
    You want to further undermine the English by trying to get foreigners to be accepted as English: further undermining the confidence of the English people.

    Your civc English are only English until being a minority benefits them.
    Again in 2001 another survey found there to be OVER 5500 Black and Minority Organisations, OVER TEN YEARS AGO.
    From the Black Police Federation, Black Housing Federation, Black Students Federation to Miss Black Great Britain. You cannot have a nation who consider themselves equals when you then provide your minorities with preferential treatment.

    The ONS have revealed that population growth is over 75% from immigration and the high birth rate of immigrants

    England (not Britain) is the most densley populated country in Europe thanks to this immigrant population increase.

    Since the 1990s around 90% of new jobs have gone to foreign workers

    Constantly undermining the English through mass immigration and multi culturism will see a backlash. As we drop deeper into recession, thanks to not producing enough revenue to support the population we have to support, the government will have to reduce benefits. Those who are now financially better off on benefits will then want to work.

    Then you will see the so called tolerance of the English snap.

    Its not a case of making minorities consider themselves English you should be wasting your time on, it should be getting the English to feel confident with their identity so that they dont feel the threat imposed from mass immigration.

    Comment by Andy — 8 March 2011 @ 4.06 pm | Reply

    • “Its not a case of making minorities consider themselves English you should be wasting your time on, it should be getting the English to feel confident with their identity so that they dont feel the threat imposed from mass immigration.”

      I’m not trying to make anyone consider themselves English, nor make anyone who does consider themselves English accept ‘foreigners’ as English. I’m saying that any British citizen of any ethnic background who feels English should be allowed to declare that allegiance without either being branded as a racist or being forcibly pigeonholed as British. So I’m all in favour of English people affirming themselves as such and being confident in their identity. It’s just that my version of Englishness is open to people of all races who love England and are proud to be English.

      Comment by David — 8 March 2011 @ 5.20 pm | Reply

      • The point is that the founders and people who first called themselves ethnically and culturally english as written in documents in the 7th century were white. It is also denying the descendents of the first people to call themselves english a right to an identity by saying all thr black and asian groups are equally ethnically english. Whose ancestors werent there in the 7th century.i think your confusing nationality and ethnicity. You see ethnicity is partly colour but its partly a lot of things things like humour, temperment, ways of looking at things customs cultural norms are all shared by an ethnic group. Many things pass down unnoticed. So despite an african-caribbean or an indian being born in england they are often surrounded by people of their own culture and ethnicity skin colour and mannerisms unique to them groups are passed down. Same with ethnic english people thsts why they differ from say italians poles etc. I mean the english scots welsh and irish often share common history humour traditions anyway and are less obvious. Depends on family circumstances. I have an irish dad and english mom and culturally there is little difference but i was brought up in the black country and my dad really didnt preserve anything. My mom brought us up and had most culturally influence but then we are dealing with mass cultural difference. But i consider myself ethnically english. But i do have ancestral connections to england. Unlike my cousin who is half irish ukrainian so should really be either irish or ukrainian not english ethnically. With ancestry comes feeling connection to a place etc. You cannot invent it. Our mom has passed on things mannerisms that you cannot learn its a natural thing. Its hard to explain but its how it is. As most of our ancestors come from small communities at some point, mannerisms develop as do customs traditions that become unique to that population as that population gets bigger moves etc, they take those mannerisms language customs with them and so its passed on regardless where your born. You have to remember its people that create nations not the othercway around. If this makes sense – its not racism its a fact of life.

        Comment by Mike Byrne — 27 April 2013 @ 11.46 pm

      • I agree with you up to a point – the point being that a) it’s very hard if not impossible to define what constitutes authentic ‘ethnic Englishness’ in the racial-genetic sense, and b) ‘ethnic’ used in the cultural sense can and should be applied to non-white English persons who identify as English, and the Census discriminates against those people by effectively denying them an ethnic (cultural) English identity, and allowing them only a British cultural and civic identity.

        Comment by David — 1 May 2013 @ 8.19 am

  2. I had a discussion a while ago with the son of a Turkish immigrant living in London. He considered himself British, not English and couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel British and why immigrants into Scotland didn’t feel British. I pointed out that when you immigrate into England your interaction with the state is exclusively British whereas in Scotland it’s very much Scottish – “the” NHS as opposed to the Scottish NHS, “the” government as opposed to the Scottish government, union flags flying on public buildings in England and the Scottish flag in Scotland. It was obvious to him once I’d explained it and he feels quite English now.

    Comment by wonkotsane — 8 March 2011 @ 7.03 pm | Reply

  3. I’m not trying to make anyone consider themselves English, nor make anyone who does consider themselves English accept ‘foreigners’ as English. I’m saying that any British citizen of any ethnic background who feels English should be allowed to declare that allegiance without either being branded as a racist or being forcibly pigeonholed as British. So I’m all in favour of English people affirming themselves as such and being confident in their identity. It’s just that my version of Englishness is open to people of all races who love England and are proud to be English…………………………

    The census has two identity questions.
    What is your nationality allows anyone of any ethnic identity to claim to be English, thus your everyone and anyone who says they are English can tick the English box


    The what is your ethnic identity allows us with a common English identity to also differentuate ourselves from ethnic Turks who are English nationals. Our English ethnic identity is in part being white, it is also about ancestry, it is the perception of the group that we are English.

    Your problem is purely one of nationality over ethnicity. You want non ethnic English to be able to claim to be ethnic English.

    So, if the government didnt allow the ethnic English to designate themselves as such then how are we to know what effect mass immigration of your English nationalists are having on the ethnic English group?
    75% of population growth is from immigrants and their families, how much of the remaining 25% are not ethnic English?

    Are we white ethnic English not allowed to know the detrimental effects on our ethnic group from your black and asian English?

    The ONS have declared that in Bradford and Birmingham the ethnic English are now a minority or very soon will be.
    But by allowing your Turks Pakistanis Chinese etc to claim to be ethnic English then you hide the effect of immigration because now you can claim Bradford is full of English, which anyone visiting Bradford will be aware of is absolute rubbish.

    I am sure many will call me a ‘Little Englander’ or whatever but has my ethnic group to have no protection or rights? Are we not allowed to know how many of us their are compared to Pakistanis, Somalians, Chinesse etc?

    Are we to shut our mouths while your so called English nationalists swamp our towns and cities?
    Oh thats right they have no detrimental effect because they are English too? NOT!

    By the removal of white as you wanted then the detrimental effect of mass immigration on the ethnic English is hidden.
    But perhaps certain people want it hidden?

    Comment by Andy — 8 March 2011 @ 11.01 pm | Reply

    • Andy, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a White category, nor that ‘English’ shouldn’t be a sub-category of ‘White’. But ‘English’ should also be allowed to be associated with ‘Black’ and ‘Asian’, for instance by changing the headings to ‘Asian / Asian British / Asian English’ and ‘Black / African / Caribbean / Black British / Black English’. As it is, ‘English’ isn’t even a standard ethnic sub-category of ‘White’ because the category used (‘English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British’) lumps all ‘indigenous’ Britons together as a single ethnic group.

      So white, English-identifying people are doubly discriminated against because, unlike in Scotland, they can only in effect select a ‘British’ ethnic-group category for themselves, while ‘English’ is acknowledged only as a racial category rather than as a cultural identity as well (‘ethnic’ / ‘ethnicity’ can have both meanings; but only the racial one is applied to ‘English’). And non-white, English-identifying people are discriminated against because they’re not given permission to call themselves ‘English’ if they want to.

      The Census can and should track the changes in the racial and cultural composition of English and British society. I’m just objecting to the restriction of ‘English’ identity to the white population.

      Comment by David — 9 March 2011 @ 11.14 am | Reply

  4. Have you sent this post to Baroness Warsi? It might help her to understand why the English cannot take a leaf out of Scotland’s book: The British won’t allow us to.

    Comment by William Gruff — 8 March 2011 @ 11.21 pm | Reply

    • There are no ‘English nationals’.

      Here’s to independence for England.

      Comment by William Gruff — 8 March 2011 @ 11.27 pm | Reply

      • There are no ‘English nationals’………………….

        Well question 15 (the very first example above) asks;

        How would you describe your national identity?
        Northern Irish?

        It has nothing to define who they consider ‘describe’ themselves as English nationals or any other type of national identity so the ONS certainly feel there are English nationals.

        For me, there are only ONE English people, we have an identity, a history and an ancestry but this topic isnt about who is and who is not English it is about the rights of non English to tick the Ethnic English tickbox.

        The Scottish ethnic question choices are an improvement on the English ethnic question choices.

        Comment by Andy — 9 March 2011 @ 3.40 am

    • As it happens, I’ve written a pared-down version of this post for the Our Kingdom website (should appear today, hopefully), which does refer to Baroness Warsi’s recent pronouncements, picking up on Gareth Young’s critique.

      Comment by David — 9 March 2011 @ 11.15 am | Reply

  5. Baroness Warsi needs to be sent this link and asked to comment publicly.

    This is the kind of Anglophobic discrimination that makes me declare that I am English not British.

    Comment by Stephen Gash — 9 March 2011 @ 11.48 am | Reply

  6. DONT post your form. I did’nt

    Comment by Dave — 17 March 2011 @ 11.29 am | Reply

  7. I also, like the writer of this article, have an issue with the Census’ apparent confusion of racial identity and ethnic/cultural identity. My race is ‘White’, although I prefer the term caucasian but since I grew up in Asia, ethnically I am ‘Indian’ or ‘Asian’. But the census has completely mixed up racial, ethnic and national identity so I don’t feel I’ll be able to answer accurately! And I also totally agree that ‘English’ is a way of life or ethnicity, and does not (or shouldn’t) pre-determine your race! What kind of stupid racist perception is that!! Perhaps the immigrant communities of ‘Britain’ do not ever feel part of our society because they are continuously lumped into an ethnic non-category such as ‘British Asian’, and they are never given the freedom to believe that they can belong to ‘English’ culture!!

    Comment by Rosie G — 23 March 2011 @ 9.59 pm | Reply

    • You do belong to British society, but you are not English just because you were born here (or in your case, moved here at a young age). I don’t know why you feel you have to pretend to be gravely offended about a statement of fact – it’s like crying because your hair’s blonde or not. It’s just an attribute, it’s not the end of the world.

      Comment by Andrew F. Moncrieff — 2 August 2011 @ 7.40 pm | Reply

      • I don’t know what you think I am, from an ethnic point of view. I’m actually white, and was born and brought up in England. I don’t see there’s a problem in being black or Asian AND English, just as you can be black or Asian and British. But the Census does appear to regard it as a problem, which is what I object to and regard as racist. To say that ‘English’ can be only an ethnic / racial term whereas ‘British’ refers to nationality / citizenship in a non-ethnic sense is arbitrary and discriminatory. For example, if England were an independent state, then its black and Asian populations would and should be encouraged to view themselves as English. It’s just because England is denied any political status that ethnic minorities are actively discouraged by the British state from identifying as English: because the British state relies on weakening and subverting the English-national identity to maintain its unaccountable, undemocratic rule over England.

        By restricting Englishness to a mere ethnic identity, you are actually co-operating with the government’s marginalisation of Englishness and England.

        By the way, not that I think this matters, but your name makes you seem Scottish. But I take it you genuinely regard yourself as English, which for me is all that counts.

        Comment by David — 3 August 2011 @ 7.35 am

  8. dont be stupid how has this got any thing to do with being racist or bnp. its people like you that have to make every thing seem racist when its not. there is not that many racist people in england we dont care about colour .its people like you that make it out that the english are racist when were not stop writing stupied things get a life

    Comment by ed — 28 April 2011 @ 11.48 pm | Reply

    • Ed, you’ve completely misunderstood what I was saying. I wasn’t for one second saying the English are racist. I was saying it’s racist to restrict the ethnic category ‘English’ in the Census to whites only – which is more in keeping with what you are saying: “in England we don’t care about colour”. Agreed, but it seems the British government does.

      Comment by David — 29 April 2011 @ 8.45 am | Reply

  9. “this is a form of – indeed, a form for – racial apartheid.”

    alarmist bollocks. The English are a race, and they are white. You act as if this affects the treatment of different ethnic groups, but it doesn’t. Being born in the UK might make you British, but an English person, a Welsh person or a Scottish person are white. That’s not intended as a slur and it’s sad some people are so stupid they will interpret it as such, but that’s the way it is.

    Comment by Andrew F. Moncrieff — 2 August 2011 @ 7.35 pm | Reply

  10. How would, for example, the people of India like it if millions of English people moved into their country and forcibly had their children regarded as Indians, a definition which is not merely a line on a passport or a National Identity card, but something that defines the country and the people that comprise it?

    I’m sure it would not be tolerated at all, but then again, the English do have trouble sticking up for themselves in the face of pushy baby-minded whiners.

    Comment by Andrew F. Moncrieff — 2 August 2011 @ 7.38 pm | Reply

  11. it does not matter where we are born or where we live in the world, we can not change our genes, and that is what matters. if I, as a white person, born of white parents, happened to be born in China. Would I be Chinese? Would anyone believe if I claimed to be Chinese? I do not think so.
    We are who we are folks, learn to live with it, and be proud of who you are.

    Comment by josephine donnellan — 28 September 2011 @ 10.11 am | Reply

  12. I read somewhere that if you are English you are by definition white, can anyone confirm this statement please

    Comment by terry lloyd — 25 April 2012 @ 12.00 pm | Reply

    • It’s what I say in the article. In the Census form, the term ‘English’ is associated as an ‘ethnic’ category only with ‘white’ and no other ethnic groups. Or, as I put it: “according to British officialdom, if you’re ethnically English, you’re white”.

      Comment by David — 29 April 2012 @ 12.26 pm | Reply

  13. Bative europeans are white end if discussion! Asians dont have heritage fron europe. Ethnic english is not just culture its about genes history shared culture and ancestry, surnames etc, so no asians and afrocaribbeans dont have that shared history and culture so cannot be part of ethnic english and anyway all of these groups pick and choose their ethnicity when it suits them.

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.01 pm | Reply

  14. Lets take irish. Do you mean gaelic irish, angloirish, norman irish? Well proving all your ancestors were pure native gaels is fairly pointless large numbers of people settled in ireland from britain and gaul and they anglo saxons normans vikings, but how much of these people were ethnic groups? How many of these groups can be considered ethnic as they did all share common culture? Whose to say people in britain had a separate culture to these groups and whose to say these groups didnt adopt native culture which they mainly did and whose to say britain totally spoke celtic ? Before gaelic was spoken in ireland various non gaelic was spoken and often the culture was nearly identical to britain in ireland there at least 4 genetic r1b sub types. So people even in ireland arent identical as i well know my dad looks totally different to say other irish ive seen. The genetics prove this as the same across english matches ireland. However skin colour tells a lot about someones origins and someone who is black isnt the same as someone who is white both in terms og genes and heritage. On that logic a white russian can be korean! Their ancestry is clearly different and ancestry is what shapes culture and way of life

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.18 pm | Reply

  15. Many english settled in scotland but are regarded as scots despite the fact historically the gaelic and non gaels in scotland are different groups. They are scots nationally not ethnically.just because you have a surname that sounds gaelic, is gaelic doesnt mean your whole family is pure gaelic infact nost gaels are mixed red blond and dark hair. Most people with gaelic names dont speak gaelic and when looking at culture say in ireland its practically identical as culture in the rest of britain including mummers plays and jigs which originate in england.

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.22 pm | Reply

  16. Sorry i live in a very asian area asians culturally live differently from whites have different festivals customs religion despite borrowing aspects of white british culture but to say they are ethnically the same is nonsense and why would they want to see themselves as english scittish welsh etc when their family history and origins is totally different. Are you trying to say their ancestors are buried in the same graveyards, their ancestors went through the same things. Im sorry they didnt. Their lives like white brits are shaped by what went before. Skin colour is part of that ancestry. Its like anything things that are slightly different are given another name you wouldnt say a domestic cat is like a lion. Sorry all culture and tradition has a point of origin if people cannot trace to thst point of origin be something else then

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.32 pm | Reply

  17. Sorry how do they feel english exactly? From what i see they practice different culture customs, speak differently languages and they are hardly running out and learning about english folk culture and traditions. And yet people want their cake and eat it. Only the ethnic english can accept them as english. But in terms of heritage they are not the same so they can practice a different culture and yet can also choose english ethnic identity as well while the ethnic english are not aloud to even celebrate their identity history and culture

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.40 pm | Reply

  18. You cannot be a ethnic minority and be ethnically english, your ancestral heritage is your ethnicity you cannot choose it.

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.42 pm | Reply

  19. Saying snyone can be ethnically english one hides the fact that these groups have ancestry is totally different and also denies the ethnic english their own separate identity and a right to determine their own future without people who dont share their ancestry speaking on their behalf. Also the fact their ancestors simply dont share their ancestral origins and whose to say people share the same humour etc. History shapes identity and culture and ways of thinking and most immigrants havent been what the english have been through.

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.48 pm | Reply

  20. Genetically people moved around europe before most languages and cultures were set so someone in france and scotland and greece can be genetically related but culturally totally different however they all share the same historicsl heritage as the genes were already set before the countries cultures etc were set

    Comment by michael — 19 December 2012 @ 6.51 pm | Reply

  21. As a newly minted Black Briton – I simply refer to myself as “British” and leave the rest to the h8ers! 🙂 Alas, I do respect that founding Britishers and British conquerers like the Normans and the Danish CANUTE, for example; as he aspired only to be British, really. The United Kingdom (and not the usa) is the only post modern society that has a genuine opportunity to be the first, authentic, multi-cultural ethnic group in history. (Suffice to say “Romans” have achieved this only in hindsight! The various Roman empires were largely not aware of their status as a dynasty or an epoch).

    Comment by BKLTD | LONDON (@creativemf) — 20 June 2013 @ 11.16 pm | Reply

    • So is ‘English’, for you, automatically associated with white racism? Can’t we imagine and build a multi-ethnic England? Or, putting it another way, (why) does multiculturalism and multi-ethnicism have to imply and dictate Britishness, as opposed to Englishness? Remember, in Scotland, these things aren’t predicated on Britishness, as they quite healthily talk of ‘Black Scottish’, ‘Scottish Asian’, etc. So in effect, when we talk about multicultural Britain, we’re virtually talking about multicultural England in any case.

      Comment by David — 22 June 2013 @ 9.17 pm | Reply

  22. What is this guy on about??? It’s nothing to do with the BNP! Ethnic English people are white…Fact!! Ethnic Nigerians (for example) are black…Fact! Why are you making an issue of it??? Tick the English box and be done with it………wanker

    Comment by P.Dickinson — 6 September 2013 @ 8.47 pm | Reply

  23. The ethnic english currently feel threatened by immigration as currently multiculturalism celebrates minorities and not the majority which is why the english feel ignored. Forcing minorities to be ethnic majority ultimately undermines the ethnic english whose culture is severely threatened but its true you cannot have various minority organisations but the majority cannot have those things. Not very multicultural. But forcing minorities to then have majority culture equally isnt right people csn then pick and chose culture when you feel like it. The real point is shared history and culture is passed on, without this connection it is difficult to have those shared cultural norms. Looking at tv shows and thinking you understand a culture or drinking ale isnt the same as having shared traditions laws humour etc all of which are also shaped by history. Mannerisms likewise are different. If your not surrounded by people with those norms which most minorities arent daily then what are they basing their ideas on. These cannot be learnt. Obviously the english are white like most europeans as humans have adapted to european conditions over generations but ethnicity is more complicated than that. Thereis a mix up here between civic english identity and ethnic english they are not the same. Having allegiance to england and loyalty is not the same as sharing a common ethnic cultural way of life and i would argue getting involved in civic english way of life is simply knicking culture off the english as english culture once dominated england but now is just another culture. These english traditions belonged to people who were white and originated with them. Just like indian traditions come from darker skinned people. African traditions didnt come from white people did they! Colour and ethnicity are linked thats the way it is.

    Comment by mickeycool34 — 11 November 2013 @ 6.19 pm | Reply

  24. How can asians belong to english culture when they chose to keep their own culture and chose to congregate in specific areas. Thats a choice. Secondly it would be wrong to give up their culture just as much it is forcing the english to learn everybody elses culture. Thats their heritage why should they give up their heritage its what makes them who they are. Thats notvtheir choice.

    Comment by mickeycool34 — 11 November 2013 @ 6.27 pm | Reply

  25. Being born somewhere is irrelevant traditions and way of life and ancestral identity travel with you you cannot change that some people then just argue we are just humans and we can be anything. People who say that firstly lack an identity of their own and probably embarrassed by it. British isnt an ethnicity its a nationality. English is an historic cultural ethnicity with shared traditions etc. Most elements of britishness has absorbed the various ethnic cultures of britain such as english scottish welsh irish etc who often share common culture. In reality english irish scots and welsh share culture but their culture is different to the rest of the world. Take for example jigs which are seen as irish but actually originate in england. So people claim separate identity as irish welsh but in reality they arent culturally different its more of wanting to belong to being celtic or s national history which genetically has never existed and most genetically share common genes whether ireland or britain. Even irish have northern female genes from northern europe. So then it comes down to perceived identity or your parents living in a place for a number of generations such as graham norton whose family is from england but who saw themselves as irish. They mean irish as in lived in ireland generations not they are pure gaels which doesnt exist. Most people didnt speak gaelic before the gaels come. Such was the ease of cultural assimilation. But what now we arevtalking is groups with total different cultures and traditions and histories different humour not shared genetics very incompatible

    Comment by mickeycool34 — 11 November 2013 @ 6.43 pm | Reply

    • This article is patently absurd.

      English is an ethnicity. Period.

      Not a nationality.

      It has nothing to do with where you were born or your citizenship. You have written an entire article on a wrong premise.

      A child born of English parents in Haiti would be ethnically English and of the white race. Or under the article precepts this boy would be ethnically what – Haitian?

      Comment by Anton lattis — 24 May 2014 @ 12.16 pm | Reply

      • Well, ‘ethnic’ can mean two things: ‘cultural’ and ‘racial’. I don’t believe in such a thing as the ‘English race’, but I do believe in an English cultural identity. I do also want ‘English’ to be recognised as a civic identity: precisely, as a nationality. If you confine ‘English’ to being merely a racial-ethnic identity, then you’re actually marginalising it as merely one among many racial-ethnic identities within a British nation, with no recognition for England and Englishness either as a political nation (polity) nor as the majority culture in British society.

        Somebody born of white English parents in Haiti would be racially white but ethnically – in my sense – neither English nor Haitian necessarily: it would depend where they were brought up and which culture they absorbed and identified with. Let’s flip your argument. A large proportion of the England World Cup squad are black or mixed-race: are they not ethnically (culturally) or nationally English?

        Comment by David — 26 May 2014 @ 8.10 am

    • Way too late year later .But you are so right. But people for some reason get confused. A person of , for example Pakistani origin , born in England cannot be English but British. A good example is Malaysia …persons born there can have Malaysian nationality but they cannot call themselves a Malay. As you know Malay is the native ethnic group and they would laugh at anyone born there calling themselves a Malay….it just wouldnt happen ..same case scenario as English . But this confusion will last for ever .

      Comment by S Hoy — 14 November 2014 @ 10.20 pm | Reply

  26. If you’re full black or Asian, you can’t be ethnically English. You can identify with the culture, but this is an ethnicity form. Stop making stupid posts.

    Comment by Cassidy Smith — 22 November 2014 @ 2.37 am | Reply

  27. Btw, English IS an ethnicity. I have never met an English person or even heard of one, but they exist. I’m not sure, but they came from the Britons or the Angles or something. It’s a thing.

    Comment by Cassidy Smith — 22 November 2014 @ 2.40 am | Reply

  28. I don’t think you understand what ethnicity actually is. It inherently means a shared heritage and ancestry, which inevitably overlaps with genetics – which, you know, controls skin color. Or race.

    See, someone who is ethnically Japanese will always be Asian. Someone who is ethnically Nigerian will always be black. And in this case, someone who is ethnically English will always be white.

    Race and ethnicity are two sides of the same coin, and are entirely separate from one’s nationality.
    It’s not something that can changed, it’s simply a fact.

    Comment by Edith — 24 January 2015 @ 1.26 am | Reply

    • Well if being English is purely down to genetics then there are surely very few English left, as I doubt there are many who descend purely from the Anglo-Saxon settlers and if there were any I doubt they would even know.

      Comment by The truth — 22 January 2016 @ 2.24 am | Reply

      • I know because I’ve had my ancestry traced. I am pure, 100% Ethnic English.
        I also take offense to having other ethnicities declaring to be English when they blatantly aren’t, it dilutes what it means to be Ethically English!
        Anyone can be British.
        I am an ethnic minority and I demand my special action groups!

        Comment by Martyn James — 25 June 2016 @ 5.11 pm

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