In Which The Author Talks About Something Else/Proves She Has Other Interests

So, technically the below is a working progress. However, I haven’t posted in ages so i’m feeling a little guilty…
First off though, what have I been doing?
Tues – 2.2swim, mainly 250ms, as fast as could sustain, just under 4k run (19min – considering it was hilly, and I was just going for a ‘decent jog’, i’m quite happy with that)
Wed – 3x10k bike, 2x2k cross train

And here is my digression:

The Future for National Identity

The BNP have been forced to renounce their ‘no Black or Asian’ members rules. Despite this, joining members will still have to sign an agreement stating that they will oppose the promotion of any form of “integration or assimilation” that impacted on the “indigenous British”. The BNP is not changing, it is merely adapting because it has to, for “legal reasons” as Nick Griffin told the BBC. This increased tightness on the laws of the organisation, as well as the potential banning of BNP members from professions that carry social responsibility, such as teaching; could maybe spell the beginning of the end for the party.

The BNP is set on maintaining the British identity – nationalism, pride, adoration of British culture. What though, is there to adore? Born a ‘White, British Female’, I fall into the ‘dominant majority’ that the BNP would have preserved. However, when I consider national identity, I see it more as a tangled web of prejudice and discrimination, a straight jacket of naturalising social conditioning that is tightened with each year of human existence than an institution to take pride in. I ask myself, why would any individual favour racial hatred over equality, violence over peace, to maintain such a gross and repressive ideal?

Prejudiced groups, like the BNP, and aeons of history and war, have allowed race to become more than a geographical marker, but a dividing force. This doesn’t have to be the case. A recent documentary showed a 21 year old British raised graduate returning to Afghanistan, in order to understand her native culture. She claimed she “felt cut off from her roots”, and asked “where the hell do I belong?!” Unsurprisingly, she was shocked, at times appalled by the sexism in the male dominated society. Nel was left frustrated by the “stupid men” who gripped the country. Returning, she said the felt Britain was “safe”, but that she was “proud” to say she was from Afghanistan.

Watching the programme, and seeing the journey of a young woman of a similar age to me led me to wonder if people like, even need, to have some feeling of belonging, some notion of where they come from and where they can place their roots. I, as a British woman, have until now renounced my relationship with the British identity, it’s stereotypical dogged dedication to politeness and apparent love of tea and crumpets. Watching Nel in her search for identity, however, made me wonder if I was missing something too.

I wonder if National Identity can be clawed back from the grasps of racist extremists, and returned to its position as a maker of identity. A marker of shared identity, of different identity: of equal identity. If ideas of racial dominance could only be expelled, national identity could become a motive for pride in ones nation, and for celebration of every other. In those who have roots which extend to multiple countries, it can mean gaining a richness of culture and history. Pride in one’s nation, and love of others, could be brought to mean the opening of borders to the beautiful array of cultures – sounds, tastes and arts that lie beyond Britain, as well as savoring our own. With open-mindedness and a new attitude, it could be the way to a more colorful future.

Catch Nel’s journey at:

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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