Multiculturalism in the UK

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The island of Great Britian, shown in red

Multiculturalism in the UK has its roots in the early seventeenth century. The UK was once the biggest empire in the history of the world, called the British Empire. During the nineteenth century, the British Empire expanded. By the end of the century, the empire covered roughly 25% of the world's land surface and ruled around 20% of its population. In the age of colonialism, the culture of all the colonies, like India, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and many other countries collided together.[1]

Today, there is still a strong connection between many of the old colonies and most of these nations are still part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Due to this history, immigrants from all over the world come to the UK and bring with them their food, religion and music; this forms the multicultural society of the UK.[2]

History[change | change source]

Since the time of the British Empire, people have migrated to the UK. After World War II, the UK needed workers, so it motivated Commonwealth citizens to come to Britain. The people came from India, Pakistan and the Caribbean to build up the UK. Though the immigrants helped the UK by being workers, racism was a big problem.

In the 1960s, the UK made a change to its immigration policy.[3] The immigration policy of Britain became more about tolerating immigrants, but not actively caring about integration. In 1962, the Commonwealth Immigrants bill was passed to restrict immigration. More immigration bills and anti-discrimination bills followed in order to ensure equal rights for all citizens.[4] [5]

What is "multiculturalism"?[change | change source]

Decolonisation caused a significant increase in internal culture diversity many democracies, which gave rise to multiculturalism. The dominant understanding of multiculturalism and political practice is in terms of the housing and integration of minority immigrants. Included are national minorities, indigenous peoples and immigrants from all cultures of the world. The concept of multiculturalism in current theory and practice has been limited by decolonisation, which affected countries differently depending on their national history and their position within the British Empire.[6][7]

The multicultural face of the UK[change | change source]

The following table shows that the UK is home to numerous ethnic minorities. Most immigrants come from India, Poland, Pakistan and Ireland.[8] Around 90% of immigrants who entered the UK went to England. They settled in English cities, giving England the largest number of cultural districts.[9]

There are numerous cultural districts in which immigrants of a nation have settled and brought their culture with them to their new homeland. [10] In Brick Lane, in London's East End, mainly people from Bangladesh have settled. There, for example, there are also street names that have been translated into Bengali under the respective English sign. The street is best known these days for its South Asian restaurants and street markets. Since the 19th century, the Richmond district has been shaped primarily by German immigrants. After a German school was founded there, the district became even more attractive as an emigration destination for Germans.[11]

Multiculturalism can also be seen in food. Bunny chow is a fusion dish popular in the UK from South Africa and India. It is made with a half or a quarter loaf of bread, hollowed out and filled with steaming Indian curry cooked with meat or beans. The dish originated to South Africa and is made with mutton, chicken, mince, lamb, or kidney beans.[12][13]

Ethnic group Population (2011) Percentage of population
Whites 55,1 millions 87,2 %
Asians 4,4 millions 7,0 %
Blacks - African, Caribbean

and British backgrounds

1,9 million 3,0 %
member of several ethnic groups 1,25 million 2,0 %
other ethnic groups 600.000 0,9 %
total 63,2 millions 100 %

References[change | change source]

  1. Lloyd, Amy J. (2007). "The British Empire". Gale Primary Sources. University of Cambridge: 7.
  2. Panayi, Panikos (2010). An Immigration History of Britain. London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315834221. ISBN 9781315834221.
  3. McGhee, Derek (2009-02-01). "The paths to citizenship: a critical examination of immigration policy in Britain since 2001". Patterns of Prejudice. 43 (1): 41–64. doi:10.1080/00313220802636064. ISSN 0031-322X. S2CID 143762529.
  4. Lehmann, Elke (2019). Context. Berlin: Cornelsen. p. 100. ISBN 978-3-06-036468-8.
  5. de Sakutin, Stephane. "The National Interest In Question: Foreign Policy in Multicultural Societies". Oxford University Press. p. 1.
  6. "Multiculturalism and National Identity". Serious Science. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  7. Ashcroft, Richard T.; Bevir, Mark (2017). Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth : comparative perspectives on theory and practice. Oakland, California. ISBN 978-0-520-97110-3. OCLC 1057240613.
  8. Wohland, Pia; Rees, Phil; Norman, Paul; Lomax, Nik; Clark, Stephen (2017), Mayer, Tilman (ed.), "Bevölkerungsprojektionen ethnischer Gruppen in Großbritannien und Nordirland", Die transformative Macht der Demografie (in German), Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, pp. 339–362, doi:10.1007/978-3-658-13166-1_21, ISBN 978-3-658-13166-1, retrieved 2022-04-07
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Vital statistics in the UK: births, deaths and marriages - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  10. Planning London. London: UCL Press. 1994. ISBN 1-85728-058-X. OCLC 31597842.
  11. Driessen, Christoph (2014-04-03). "Ländliche Idylle: Warum Richmond für viele Londoner ein Traum ist". DIE WELT (in German). Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  12. Panayi, Panikos (2008). Spicing up Britain : the multicultural history of British food. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-622-3. OCLC 438712787.
  13. Greenblatt, Alan (2017-02-01). "Bunny Chow: South Africa's Sweet-Sounding Dish Has A Not-So-Sweet Past". NPR. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  14. "Ethnic Diversity UK: Definition, Gruppen & Statistik". StudySmarter (in German). Retrieved 2022-04-07.