Video: 'The British Chinese' - Identity is Complicated

Came across this video where a number of students in a British Chinese language school are asked whether they consider themselves British or Chinese or something else.

I tweeted the link without comment intentionally hoping no one would notice and a Twitter follower called me out on it.

Some thoughts:

  • The school seems be run by people from Mainland China and the “Chinese” identity that most students describe in video plays very much into the PRC government’s concept of Chinese ethnic exceptionalism. The same cultural view point that results in people with East Asian looking faces being harassed for not being able to speak Chinese while praising anyone with a non-Chinese looking face that can say “Hello” in Chinese.

  • Defining self-identity based on nation-state affiliation starts to look silly after enough time living in different countries.

  • Identity is a fluid and relative concept - While many of these students feel more Chinese than British while in the UK, I would not be surprised if they felt more British than Chinese while in Beijing. What makes us different defines us.

  Updated
Larry Salibra

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I'm the Founder & CEO of Pay4Bugs, the crowdsourced testing service that finds product bugs before they cost you sales. More about me.