In Great Britain, 74 percent of ethnic minorities also known as BAME [BAME = Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic] say they are proud of their "race" against only 44 percent of white Britons. When the question is asked using the word "race" and not "ethnicity", 68 percent of ethnic minorities considered their "race" to be important in their identity, compared to 35 percent of white Britons.
The study by More in Common was carried out on more than 10 000 people, in 2020. Notably, the second generations of BAME immigrants to Great Britain feel less British than the first arrivals. Some 70 percent of newcomers feel British, compared to 41 percent of second generations.
All these phenomena were predicted by the social theory of optimal distinction by Samuel P. Huntington, in his book The Clash of Civilizations, 1996, p. 69. which can be summarized as follows:
“In social psychology, the theory of distinction shows that people are defined by their differences in a certain context: ‘We perceive ourselves through the intermediary of characteristics that distinguish other men, in particular those who belong to the same background [ …]. A psychologist in the midst of a dozen other women who each have a different activity will think of herself as a psychologist; in the midst of male psychologists, she will feel like a woman.’ (Content and Process in the Experience of Self , McGuire & McGuire, 1988) We define ourselves by what we are not. Like communications, commerce and travel multiply the interactions between civilizations; more and more attention is generally paid to one’s civilizational identity. Two Europeans, a German and a French, who interact together will identify as German and French. But two Europeans, a German and a French, interacting with two Arabs, a Saudi and an Egyptian, will define themselves some as Europeans and others as Arabs. North African immigration to France arouses a certain rejection and at the same time gives more attraction to immigration from Catholic Europe.”
Covid-19 and Brexit has meanwhile resulted in a mass exodus of white immigrants from Great Britain: “Britain’s population fell by 1,3 million people in 2020 – its steepest decline since World War II,” according to a study published by the Economic Statistics Center of Excellence. The authors noted an “unprecedented exodus” of foreign workers , linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Their calculations challenge the official figures of the UK Office for National Statistics, which could not identify this phenomenon of the return of immigrants to their country of origin, for lack of reliable indicators during periods of restricted mobility. They are instead based on employment figures, noting a paradoxical rise of nearly 10 percent of employees of British nationality, at the height of the crisis. Conversely, they noted a decline of more than half a million foreign workers over the year.
“So it seems that most of the burden of job losses during the pandemic fell on non-UK workers and resulted in return migration, rather than unemployment,” the authors said. “For these immigrants, often from eastern, southern and central Europe,” the choice was either to stay in the UK, jobless, with less or no income, while paying relatively high rents, or to return home to their families, with less costs and less risk of catching the Covid.
“Brexit is not mentioned in the study but has certainly exacerbated this phenomenon,” according to the study.
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