So I’ve recently watched a second installment of a British program called Make Bradford British. It is based around the concept of attempting to get different cultures to integrate with each other within our current society. During the first episode a highly diverse group of British adults began to cohabit with each other in order to gain a little of an understanding of each others’ lifestyles and cultures. At this part of the program I began to understand the various views of the housemates. Some were ignorant and extremely racist. Some were naive and just got on with things in their own little bubble. By the end of the program the viewer could establish the different characters within the household and who was more likely to adapt to a change of culture rather than disregard it completely.
During the second episode the housemates began to experience a forced integration with one another. This was an extremely eye opening experience as one young British man, ( who at the start of the program came across to me as borderline racist) began to yearn for the same community as his fellow housemate as they visited a mosque. After this experience this young man had clearly had his views changed slightly as he opened up about his previous prejudice towards this specific Islamic culture. He had been educated into understanding that not all people supporting Islam were dangerous and suspicious – a common misconception in our society today. They were in fact going about their business in a very calm and respectful way. He even found a common ground with his fellow housemate and began to find similarities in his grandparents’ British culture to the Islamic culture. Due to these two men from the household integrating with each other, they were able to understand some of these misconceptions and challenge them.
I am a very opinionated person and on a monthly basis I come face to face with comments that challenge my beliefs. I definitely believe in freedom of speech, however when this becomes highly offensive to other people my view can slightly alternate. Being brought up in an extremely tolerant family I feel blessed to have the outlook on life I have. I don’t feel blessed at all times though. When I am faced with people who are fed up with the ‘state’ of our country it angers me with the way that they project this message. There is so much focus on negativity bringing no light at the end of it. I understand that I can come across in a negative way I guess but this is only to defend people I feel do not deserve to be victimised purely by the way they look or the god they believe in. It does not matter about the colour of you skin or your ethic origin, you can be British. British isn’t a race to me it’s a culture. We contribute towards this culture with different varieties of traditions and beliefs. It isn’t simply about ‘fish and chips’ and ‘going down the pub to get rat-assed’, it’s about building communities and educating people into promoting positive messages. By doing this we may be able to encourage cultural integration and this may help people to understand that anyone can be British. I found that this program was incredibly apt as it revealed that by encouraging integration between cultures, it can break down barriers that were built up due to fear and defense.
I know many people that will find my views offensive in itself and this is why I question is it just me that feels excluded? Am I not British because I encourage multiculturalism or because I am part African? Do other people resent their own neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances because of the hatred that comes from their mouths? Or am I over sensitised to a situation I can do nothing about. I feel that if everyone had this opinion of ‘ it will never change’ or ‘Broken Britain’, than it will become a self fulfilling prophecy where indeed nothing will change.
I need to find a way of infecting people with positivity and understanding for others without pissing them off even more!