me + you


Normally I don't enter into discussions with commentators on the diary. I always wanted to create a space of openness, leaving people to say or not say what they choose, without a final comment or editorial by me. But I'm nearing the end of this project, so I'm losening the rules. And in this case, it makes sense.

The commentator talks about English Pride and why it's so "difficult for a lot of English people to have pride in their Englishness... because we reject the idea of shared English values and don't wish to be defined by our ethnicity, or put a value on it at all."

I guess I need to add that no group, ethnic, religious, sexual, whatever, claims to be homogenous. All groupings contain such diversity that from the inside it seems impossible, if not actually stupid, to lump us altogether. No one wishes to be defined by their ethnicity, but the reality is that we all are. People get jobs with value, positions of trust and power, allowed entry to a country OR NOT based in some part on their ethnicity. It is only from the outside that an ethnic group seems to be identifiable as that ethnic group. People who aren't English have a conception of what it is to be English. Yes it's inaccurate. Yes it's filled with stereotype, but we have it nonetheless. My point is that English people must reclaim pride from the far-right - because it is meaningful to be English, despite the diversity and complexity of it. We are all diverse and complex. English identity does not have a monopoly on diversity and complexity. Yet it is still meaningful to be proud, by which I mean, having a sense of self-worth.

I put this here in the diary because to my mind, making a special case for Englishness, or any ethnicity, is part of the problem. It feeds into racism. White English people must understand that they have an ethnicity the same as us "ethnics", and that all ethnicities are complex and diverse and largely meaningless labels. But racism is a daily reality. Neither you nor I should deny the impact of those meaningless labels.

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