Funny space that is occupied by contemporary English culture and its history of “healthy” antagonism to authority.
Because basically I think thats bullshit.
I think what that is..is blind ignorance.
Don’t get me wrong I totally get it..thats the thing about being a second generation migrant…you totally get both sides in a way that no one will ever understand.
And so you get the concept of respect…it starts from respect for parents…and if you’ve got that far (which is a big IF) and if they actually respect authority …then you learn to respect authority…not in a deferential way but in a way that the indigineous culture can never get…gratitude…gratitude for where and what you have grown into….
a combination of seventies style institutionalised racism,the cultural barriers of being a muslim and seeing the stark reality of third world level poverty up close in your childhood years is enough to give you the tools to be pretty hard.
and the indigenous alternative of having a delinquent childhood of antisocial behaviour is just a weak substitute for supposedly giving you the same tools of “toughness” and in fact is proof that having a firm national identity makes you take “belonging” to something for granted.
The spirit of Rome and its greatness continued in Byzantium,Constantinople and Istanbul and the Maghreb long after the inhabitants of Rome had plundered and looted their own city of all its treasures and riches.
Likewise its quite possible that the spirit of the British Empire is strongest amongst the colonies where it is appreciated how much worse the alternative might be.
And the respect for law and order and Briitsh institutions has a totally different appeal from its British Council estate cousins.
But maybe the antiauthoritarianism is an appropriate and understandable response to the fact that colonialism has ultimately benefited and fostered an elite migrant population over and above the needs of an impoverished indigenous underclass who might understandably feel excluded and in fact less valued than the privileged “foreigners”.
its ultimately a form a being spoiled to be automatically part of a culture…that includes the migrants who moved here who can still fall back on their connections with their heritage.
But when you are a second generation migrant you truly have no identity in that sense and your peer group can only include similarly disenfranchised youths.
So for all the bombastic anti-pride displayed by those supposed “made-it-good” rebels of a bygone era with their chequered and invariably anti-authoritarian histories there are more effective and fruitful ways to gain the tools for survival and knowing the difference between fortunate and unfortunate,rich and poor, privileged and deprived than by having a a delinquent childhood which is surely why those few who survive that experience and learn from it do their level best to prevent their own children from having to learn things that way.
After all,despite all the rhetoric and retrospective philosophising,judge a person’s life by how liberal they are ,not just showboat liberal in a “i vote green” kind of way…but liberal in how many strands and levels they can mix in,commit themselves to, immerse themselves in, and ultimately discard the superficial remnants of what might have been considered their own “roots” for the sake of ruthless pragmatic practicality and there you have the insight into the breadth of their world.
The enlightened few who know the true meaninglessness of any rhetoric and dogma but still understand the concept of respect…
Now that takes real imagination and faith.