In modern day Great Britain there is great cultural diversity, especially in the major cities. Although the vast majority of the population is white , the rest of the population is split between Asians, blacks and other minority groups.
This page is a diversity training resource to help you understand the different cultural groups in multicultural Britain. Ethnic minorities started to come to the United Kingdom from South Asian and the Caribbean in significant numbers from the 1950’s and 60’s onwards. There have also been many established Chinese communities here as well since the 1930’s.
What is Culture
Culture is used to describe a set of traditions, customs which have evolved over time of a particular society or ethnic group. This could be taken to mean a particular language spoken, literature, a societies moral values, certain types of food that are eaten in a particular country, and much more. It could mean how certain communities organize themselves, how they marry, whom they marry and at what age they marry. Many cultures are shaped by their environments, a good example of this would be the native Indians who live in the rain forests of Brazil. They will only be able to eat certain types of fruit and meat, and due to their surroundings would only be able to cook it using certain methods. Over time cultures can change and evolve as different communities come into contact with each other and diversity increases, some of these changes may be positive and other may be negative. An example of this is if a secluded primitive community is suddenly exposed to drugs or alcohol, this as you can imagine lead to serious social problems. This could happen if one country is colonized by another, and then becomes part of a wider empire or federation.
The United Kingdom as we know it was formed in 1707, with the union of 4 separate countries , each of which had its own customs and traditions and to a certain degree language. For instance in Scotland Gaelic was a native language, and in Ireland it was Celtic. At present it is estimated that 95 % of the UK population now speak English as their first language.
Entertainment and the arts is also a important feature of any countries cultural identity, and the UK has a long tradition of producing famous works of literature, and more recently films and music. England also has a rich architectural history.
Asian people from the Indian continent started to arrive in Britain from the 1950’s, primarily from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Most of them originally came from certain parts of their home countries. So for instance the majority of Sikhs would have come from the state of Punjab in India. Likewise the majority of Pakistanis would have come from the Mirpur district of Pakistan. Most of the Bangladeshi people originally came from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. Although they have arrived from other countries like Uganda and South Africa mostly in the 1970’s. Their descendants are now 3rd and 4th generation British Asians, with many of them employed in professional positions in public sector jobs and also private professions like solicitors.
It is estimated that there ate at present about 3.5 million people of Asian descent living in the UK. There is also a sizeable minority of Asians who have come from Sri Lanka and Nepal also living in the UK. The main religions of British Asians is Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhs. As regards their input into the economy it is estimated that British Asians add 6 per cent to the GDP of the UK. Bhangra music is often associated with music from the Indian subcontinent and is often played by young British Asians.
The word traditionally meant anyone in the UK who was not white. However in this article we will use it to refer to people of Caribbean descent . Black people have lived in England for over 200 years, there many historical articles written in the 17th century referring to black communities in London. During this time the biggest communities were based in port cities and towns like Cardiff and Liverpool. Many of these communities were populated by slaves or free slaves and merchant seamen from Africa.
Major immigration into the United Kingdom occoured after the Second World War, when much needed workers started to arrive form the West Indies. The first boat load of immigrants arrived on the now famous ship the Empire Windrush. As regards population, it is estimated that there are 1 million British Black people living in London alone.
For more information about the ethnic minority population of the UK, click on the following links: