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Tebbit’s cricket test or just modern Britain?

Ansar: supporting England

Mohammed Ansar defied his Asian friends during a recent cricket match, and joined the England fans in a match against Pakistan at Edgbaston.

The situation was felt to be so unusual that the Asian Today newspaper ran a big story on Mohammed Ansar. The British born cricket fan simply stated that England is him home, so ‘why wouldn’t I support the team’. Interestingly, during the recent South African World Cup many more Asian, Caribbean, and African people were seen sporting England shirts or flags, often coupled with African flags too.

So what is going on? Have we capitulated to Norman Tebbit’s infamous ‘cricket test’, or is it a sign that we are more comfortable with ourselves as modern Black Britons, able to gravitate between our multiple identities?

We’d love to hear your views?

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17 Responses

  1. What good is there in engaging in the dialectic of essentialism? It’s true that Tebbit was blamed for making popular the view that British Pakistani people fundamentaly support Pakistan in Cricket, even against England. But, the frame of reference enabling the question to be asked at all goes back to colonialism and justified slavery. This is a debate analogous to asking if Black men have a large penis? It is the height of depravity and should be strongly discouraged. Just as one should not entertain the lattter question, one should not respond to this – and I am somewhat surprised to see OBV participating at this level.

    Imran

  2. I don’t think it is a dialectic debate about essentialism, Imran, but rather a discussion about how we British African, Caribbean and Asian’s are, in 2010, defining ourselves. In Tebbit’s day we were force fed who we should support-not that we took any notice-. We also, in many ways rejected the flag, shirt and English teams because they represented something pretty repugnant. Fast forward to today and I think we find ourselves in a more confident space,. That’s why I/we asked for you views. As ever Imran, thank you for yours.

    Simon

  3. “Mohammed Ansar defied his Asian friends during a recent cricket match, and joined the England fans in a match against Pakistan at Edgbaston.”

    Mohammed Ansar was right to do what he did especially if he is English born.

    “Interestingly, during the recent South African World Cup many more Asian, Caribbean, and African people were seen sporting England shirts or flags, often coupled with African flags too.”

    This is an interesting situation. I am not a beliver in dual nationality. You are either one or the other. The confusing aspect of this can stem from citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom.

    “So what is going on? Have we capitulated to Norman Tebbit’s infamous ‘cricket test’, or is it a sign that we are more comfortable with ourselves as modern Black Britons, able to gravitate between our multiple identities?”

    In a supposedly racial tolerant nation this should no longer be an issue. Issues like these are the breathing points for racism in its valour which encourages racist political parties and groups like the following to exploit: Bnp, New Labour and now the Edl.

  4. Yinka,

    One assumes you’ve been learning about identity from the George Bush School of Sociology? Wrong at so many levels, where to begin? Good grief.

    ‘I am not a beliver in dual nationality. You are either one or the other.’

    I see. So, you don’t believe in people having multiple identities then ? Okay dokey. Firstly, when you say ‘believe’, do you mean it is a phenomenon that does not exist, it is outside your scope of comprehension, or just that you disapprove – as bizaare as the latter position would be? If the former, I can confirm that peopple have multiple identities, including dual nationalities – such as having two passports, and moreover often feel, act and concieve of things differnetly in different situations such that are significant variations in one’s behaviours, all depending their situation. Having more than one way of thinking for different situations surely compliements and cause tensions with one’s multiple identities. Its called being a normal human being. I mean, do you act exactly the same at work as you do with your family, or your friends. Or, when you visit the hospital to see a doctor. C’mon, admit it, you always wear something nice for the doctor, don’t you? You know you could wear your rip jeans, but you probably resist even if its an unconcious act.

    Yinka, do you speak any other languages? Do you find that when you communicate in a language other than English, you bencome a slightly different you, its you but one that incorporates different customs, hand gestures and respect traditions such as using ‘Vous’ in French instead of ‘Tu’ when speaking with elders or some other such form of deference?

    Surely, Yinka, there are just too many examples of people having multiple identities for me to continue…

    ‘The confusing aspect of this can stem from citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom.’

    Come off it! Is that what you really think? I’m genuniely interested in this point, I think its somewhat a blinkered approach. Firstly, having mutiple heritage, by which I mean being British born Black community, or having parents of two different communities, or being a refugee, immigrant, or any other permetation you can think of is not a contest of domination. There is no contest between the moral value of one culture over any other culture. They’ve all got something to offer. Surely you do not hold British culture over and above you’re parents culture – in its entire form, or vice versa. If so, that’s a shame. Why don’t you embrace what is good in both cultures and reject the bad in both? I mean, you can’t embrace the whole of British culture per se, relative to your Black culture in any case – in order for you to that, by accepting British culture as a whole, you would have to embrace the historical context within which British culture was crystalised – you know where I am going with this don’t you – you’d have to embrace slavery. And, don’t say it was a long time ago – it impacts every aspect of our world today. Lots of examples but third world debt is a good one, oh, that and the emergence of international capital.

    In addition, surely, you have strong affiliations that transcend your country of birth such as respect for human rights regardless of country. If Britain, my country suddenly did something like, oh I dunno, stopping and searching four times because I looked like I belonged to a particular religion, my own, I reckon I’d have strong moral grounds for asking that the Universal Decleration of Human Rights are upheld. Silly me, I think human rights are important – call me old fashioned! And, anyway, anyway, aprt from rights, how boring it would be to automatically uphold your county of origin’s value system over any other just on the basis of where you accidentally happen to be born. And, if we want to get really moralistic, one might argue, its not what you believe, but what you do. You might say you value Britain over some other country. But what are you doing for Britain, some might ask, though certainly not me, over and above what you are doing for another country – other than paying the taxes you have no real choice in paying? Maybe you should prove hoe British you are by doing something good for your country that most other people are not doing? Would you then have won that internal contest?

    There is no stalemate as you put it but just the constant changing nature of all your different identities in constant tension. That is a very good thing in my oppinion. You should read more Foucault. He’s written some cool stuff on this.

    As for Cricket – its a game. It does not signify deep moral attachments to one community or another. You can be very British and support Pakistan in the Cricket, or be very Pakistani and support Britain in the Ciricket – this says nothing about your loyalty to any one country. And, I’m afraid, I do think this debate panders to those who essentialise Pakistanis loyalty to this country through their support of whichever Cricket team.

    • Imran,

      “I see. So, you don’t believe in people having multiple identities then ? Okay dokey. Firstly, when you say ‘believe’, do you mean it is a phenomenon that does not exist, it is outside your scope of comprehension, or just that you disapprove”

      Everyone to their own. Due to various technical, legal, and various other reasons, people fit into all the categories you have described. It is very illogical to enjoy the economic benefits of one country and then claim to have another home country. Such an ideal gives way to racism and its excuses on a very high scale.

      “I’m genuniely interested in this point, I think its somewhat a blinkered approach. Firstly, having mutiple heritage, by which I mean being British born Black community, or having parents of two different communities, or being a refugee, immigrant, or any other permetation you can think of is not a contest of domination. There is no contest between the moral value of one culture over any other culture.”

      It is a very blinkered and very confusing approach when you don’t know where your loyalties lie. Again, you are leaving the door open for racism and its nasty reasons to flourish.

      “Surely you do not hold British culture over and above you’re parents culture – in its entire form, or vice versa. If so, that’s a shame. Why don’t you embrace what is good in both cultures and reject the bad in both? I mean, you can’t embrace the whole of British culture per se, relative to your Black culture in any case – in order for you to that, by accepting British culture as a whole, you would have to embrace the historical context within which British culture was crystalised – you know where I am going with this don’t you – you’d have to embrace slavery.”

      For me it’s England first and British second. I have never and will never waver on that. As for slavery, what happened in the past can never be forgotten, but, I fail to see of what significance that point is to the topic we are debating on. Why don’t we come together as a force to tackle the present day slavery?

      ” And, anyway, anyway, aprt from rights, how boring it would be to automatically uphold your county of origin’s value system over any other just on the basis of where you accidentally happen to be born.”

      I like to believe I was born out of love in the country I trully love. I didn’t choose to be born in England. For me, England first and any other part of the world next. The human rights issue in this country has been severly back dated by a backward thinking new Labour Government which thought that racism would keep them in office. Thank GOD, they are out.

      “As for Cricket – its a game. It does not signify deep moral attachments to one community or another.”

      That’s your own opinion.

      ” You can be very British and support Pakistan in the Cricket, or be very Pakistani and support Britain in the Ciricket – this says nothing about your loyalty to any one country. And, I’m afraid, I do think this debate panders to those who essentialise Pakistanis loyalty to this country through their support of whichever Cricket team.”

      Again, another opinion of yours which you are entitled to.

  5. “This is an interesting situation. I am not a beliver in dual nationality. You are either one or the other. The confusing aspect of this can stem from citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom”.

    Indeed Yinka! The progress of British born people with African, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, (Orthodox) Jewish heritage has been disastrous due to their bloody-minded insistance on retaining their cultural capital. Their academic and economic prowess is a mere fluke.

    Care to dismiss another set of FACTS as mere supposition or opinion so as to prolong another debate?

  6. Hello David,

    “Indeed Yinka! The progress of British born people with African, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, (Orthodox) Jewish heritage has been disastrous due to their bloody-minded insistance on retaining their cultural capital.”

    Is this the only reason, or is there another very sinister one?

    • Either way their pride and in some cases preference for their cultural heritage has not been a hindrance to their progress nor has it led to a ‘stalemate’ as you previously stated. That is all I am saying.

      • David,

        We have to agree to disagree on that one. To obtain a top governmental position or be in a position of some authority; i.e; decision making positions which would be benficial to this country and see that Equal Opportunities is implemented at all levels; thus getting rid of the glass ceiling.

  7. Oh, not any other progress except the above. Well if you’d have said so originally I wouldn’t have bothered replying. I was thinking more in terms of the myriad resounding successes and clear examples of progress in education, academia, business, employment and activism.

    Mind you, only a psychic or yourself could ascertain that is what you meant by “citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom.”.

    I think you genuinely believe this 100% and have had to go off on a tangent to justify it in your own mind in the face of the clear facts proving you wrong.

  8. Hello David,

    “I was thinking more in terms of the myriad resounding successes and clear examples of progress in education, academia, business, employment and activism”

    Myriad resounding successes for non-whites the United Kingdom? I think we must be living in different sections of the UK. Your point here clearly shows the disparity betweeen a non-white and a white citizen in the UK. What is the purpose of academia and progress in education if there isn’t proper equal opportunities to give non-whites equal chances to display their talents and education to make this country great and better their own selves?

    “Mind you, only a psychic or yourself could ascertain that is what you meant by “citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom.”

    If you had asked me to expound on this point I would have willingly obliged.

    “I think you genuinely believe this 100% and have had to go off on a tangent to justify it in your own mind in the face of the clear facts proving you wrong.”

    I refer you to my earlier answer.

  9. No we’re not. The several successes of the people referred to can be found in the statistics. You confuse the reality of the system: institutonally racist with inherent privilges for whites, with the myriad successes in spie of that twisted system. Look at the educational success rates for such “non-whites”, look at the individual success stories.

    My issue with your comments was not that the system was tickety-boo and an equitable utopia, but rather that having cultural pride and cultural capital was not a barrier. You have no disagreement from me about the clear privileges for whites and how we have been dragged kicking and screaming towards valuing “non-whites” and treating them fairly and with respect.

    Our disagreement was whether people needed to drop their cultural roots and assume a Britain and nothing-else atttitude. You stated “I am not a beliver in dual nationality. You are either one or the other. The confusing aspect of this can stem from citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom”. I responded to that. Nothing else. I disagree and there are myriad examples that render this statement incorrect, but as your opinion I respect your right to make it.

    I didn’t ask you to clarify because you were already clear enough.

    Earlier answer or not, the facts show that people can retain their cultural heritage and function successfully and progress regardless of their interpretation and participation in their cultural beliefs.

    Are the outcomes variable? yes. Are people remotely on a equal footing? No, not in my opinion. But our disagreement was about approaches, not outcomes. This takes us away from your original point rather that focusing upon it.

  10. ““They have informed me that if believe that Yoruba is just a “foreign language asociated with the black race” you are far more insulting than anything I could project””

    Comparing this point with the one below:

    “The confusing aspect of this can stem from citizens who have migrated to this country and are not ready to adopt its ways, and are doing their utmost to force their British born off-springs to adopt their culture ahead of the culture of the country they were born in; namely the United Kingdom. Which ever way you look at it, it will always lead to a stalemate and continously hold back the progress of British born non-whites in the United Kingdom”

    It is very clear as why the stalement you were refering to is possible.

  11. In your own mind. Their opinion about a view on culture has no bearing on your statement nor on their success – they have not been held back by their beliefs.

    • That is your view David. You have admitted in one of your earlier posts as being white. I fail to see how you can be a good judge of what is holding a non-white person back in this country; oh! I have forgotten. Your black friends have enlightend you.

  12. In your response to David, you said:

    ‘Your point here clearly shows the disparity betweeen a non-white and a white citizen in the UK.’

    Firstly, are you sure you really want to ascribe to the entire white race as having David’s point of view. Secondly, the fact that David has a view with which you do not agree, or which you consider (wrongly) to be the shared experience of all non-white people in the UK, does not imply that all white people must have a view which stands against the interests of all non-white people. Surely your statement needs reconsidering?

    • Hello Imran,

      “Firstly, are you sure you really want to ascribe to the entire white race as having David’s point of view”

      Sorry, I never suggested that in any of my postings. I have no idea where you got that idea from, but, I can only ascribe to that being your own point of view.

      “Secondly, the fact that David has a view with which you do not agree, or which you consider (wrongly) to be the shared experience of all non-white people in the UK, does not imply that all white people must have a view which stands against the interests of all non-white people. Surely your statement needs reconsidering?”

      No it does not need any reconsidering at all. David is not representative of the white race at all. He expresses a view of his which is clearly in conflict with mine. I have sent my various posts to the OBV board based on personal experiences of mine; most of which I can back up with a copious amount of written documentation to various government offices.

      Thanks to OBV, I have been able to share some of them with you.

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