This blog is all about celebrating the UK’s multiculturalism and finding out what its like for you if you have journeyed here. The writing below reflects on the joys that this can bring, how we can learn from each other’s difference and enjoy what we have in common. So much so, that it can be so normal to us that we are surprised when its questioned.
I was born and grew up in London and this meant that I was in for a shock and some confusion on my holiday. Let me explain. I was with a group of friends travelling through Malaysia. We had been going across the country to see all of the beautiful national parks that ranged from isolated islands to thick rainforests. My friends are I were boarding a small aeroplane that would take us to a remote rainforest region. The aeroplane had other tourists travelling with us. A European man (I couldn’t pin down his origin) asked me if my group were an MBA group. I replied no that we were all friends.
‘but how do you all know each other?’ he replied. I then quickly realised that he found it confusing that we were such a mixed group. My friends were Indian, Ugandan, Chinese-Malaysian, English and myself (Kurdish). My reply to him was simply ‘We’re all from London and we’re all British’. He still didn’t understand, clearly he hadn’t been to London then!
It was at that moment that made me realise what was so special about London and the U.K. We had all grown up in an environment where everyone was from a different ethnic background. That upbringing was so normal, that we hadn’t even realised how much of an anomaly we were. That’s why I love the U.K. because of its immense openness to everyone. Of course, most of us are connected to the U.K. through the old British Empire, the remnants of which have made the U.K. and particularly London and other large cities so special. A melting pot of cultures and people.
Who ever said multiculturalism and integration is a fantasy? Just look at my circle of friends and many others from the second and third generation of immigrants. We are the epitome of U.K., the epitome of London and the inevitable future of this country. Let us not prevent this. Let us encourage it!