For the purpose of this assignment I will be focusing on whether ‘race’ and ethnicity are defining factors in shaping peoples identities concentrating on the lives of South Asian British Muslims. The term ‘race’ is used to categorise people into groups according to biological attributes; mainly the colour of one’s skin.
However the concept of ‘race has been manipulated to breed ideas of superiority and inferiority, which can be illustrated throughout history; colonization, British imperialism and apartheid in South Africa are to mention just a few, resulting in exploitation around the world being justified because of the colour of a person’s skin.
Giddens states that ‘ethnicity is central to individual and group identity, but its significance does vary amongst individuals’ (Giddens, 2008p.633).
In multicultural Britain today, cultural hybridity adds to the confusion of a person’s identity.
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This is further exasperated by British Muslims being portrayed as ‘disconnected from and even antagonistic to British identity’ (Thomas, 2009p.1).
It is largely portrayed that events of 9/11 and more so 7/7 have produced a group in British society that is viewed with suspicion and animosity.
Jenkins believes that by establishing different identity groups creates an awareness of a groups traits and equips you with knowledge on how to interact with them, regardless of whether the knowledge and understanding of these groups maybe limited or even wrong.
There is a general consensus that a person’s identity is multifarious and fluid, a person’s alignment with different social groups is constructed of many factors which include, national origin, class, gender, race, ethnicity, and so on.