Englishmen, and Other Aborigines
Posted on: 2007-03-10 17:46:31
You will imagine how delighted I was recently when I discovered that I myself have become a member of an ethnic minority
by A. Millar
I was about ten years old when my school class was asked to fill out a form listing our basic details. Name, address, we were filling it all out with no trouble--until we came upon the question regarding our religious affiliation. Sure, the one or two Roman Catholics knew, and passed right along, but the rest of us looked at each other, confused. Commotion burst out across the room as we tried to extract the correct answer from one another. “If you don’t know what religion you are,” our teacher interrupted sternly, “then you’re Church of England.” The logic of her proposition escaped me, but my parents later assured me that not only I, but our family was in fact Church of England, despite never having attended church, or read so much as a single sentence of the Bible.
The vague and mysterious quality of religion must have impressed me because I developed a curiosity and eventually an insatiable appetite for anything religious (ones where had to do something that is, even it was just turn up). Roman Catholicism, Zen Buddhism, Tantric Hinduism, even plain old Zoroastrianism – I flirted with them all. Of course, I celebrated Christmas, Easter, etc., with my family, but, as with the vast majority of English families, these events were not religious per se. It is an uncomfortable confession, but I must admit, I believe that I was envious of the ethnic minorities. They not only had their customs, they had their religion. No one could take away their Holy Days.
You will imagine how delighted I was recently when I discovered that I myself have become a member of an ethnic minority, and, better still, have joined the lofty likes of the “aborigine Australian” and the “native American;” yes, I am no longer British, but am rather “Indigenous British.” How did I discover this? By cracking some DaVinci Code like puzzle? No, I simply kept hearing this strange phrase, “indigenous British,” on B.B.C radio. It flowed so naturally, and from so many different types of people, but I wondered if I had heard correctly at first. Perhaps they had said “ingenious British.” True, it is an unusual day indeed, when the British are praised by the people of Britain, but still I wondered. To confirm I entered the phrase into the B.B.C. website, and lo and behold, there I was! Indigenous-British-me. My outlook on life has been altered. Naturally, I am sad that I shall not live to see the reservations or casinos that will undoubtedly be granted to our descendants by a future British government, though I am looking forward to the revival of our culture, albeit on a smaller scale.