Culture club

I have always resisted the notion that there is such a thing as British culture. I have always argued that nations, communities, families subsume multiple cultures.

I based that on my experiences growing up: the culture of my practising Christian family was nothing like that of my atheist best friend. And, indeed, the culture of my Methodist grandparents was distinct in some sense from the culture of my Anglican parents.

Certainly, the culture of my own small family is very different from that of my wider family, linked as I am to a village thousands of miles away, and to an alternative adopted faith. Ironically, we seem to be the least assimilated family I know of: we are distinct, our identity and practices clearly set apart.

And so it is that those who have fully assimilated look back at us as complete oddballs, residing in a bubble. We are blameworthy for not embracing the dominant cultures which surround us. We are seen as troublemakers or obscurantists. We are supposed to become whatever it is that society demands on any given day. We are not meant to make up our own rules, or to follow alternate paths.

The culture club demands that we assimilate or be damned, but some of us choose to resist: we will be whatever we want to be.

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