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The fusion of cultural and ethnic identities refers to hybridisation. Most people acknowledge that they can be affiliated with an individual culture. Banton (2000) notes that “in the contemporary UK ethnicity is becoming increasingly recognised as something everyone has”. 1 Common interests or shared values help form and develop cultural attachment’s (culture, descent, ancestry, religion, languages, food and traditional values) which in turn develops and forges ethnic identities. Migration of ethnic minorities has stirred some of the UK’s population into feeling the British national identity is under threat.
Hybrid identity can be attributed to the exchange of culture through globalisation. Sheila Patterson (1965) studied first generation migrants in Brixton, London during the 1950’s. Her study involved interviews, observation and participant observation with 250 whites and 150 Afro-Caribbean’s. Patterson (1965) believes the relationship between hosts and immigrants as not fixed but evolving all the time; “Whilst adaption through socialisation and acculturation was difficult for immigrants, the host’s experience was a more passive form of acceptance.
“2 Eriksen (2002) points out that “no serious scholar today believes that hereditary characteristics explain cultural variations. “3 Patterson (1965) also states “the incoming group as a whole … adapts itself to permanent membership of the receiving society in certain major spheres notably economic and civil life. “4 Patterson’s final stage of adaption is assimilation, where migrants or minority groups achieve complete acceptance in society.
Patterson observed that physical amalgamation may lead to distinctive features of migrant groups and that of their hosts to be lost. Patterson found the progress of the West Indian migrants in Britain was limited, “there was still opposition to the employment of West Indians by white workers. “5 Nick names and jocular references resulted in conflict. A rise in the number of West Indian landlords and the acceptance of West Indian tenants did however help alleviate housing problems.
Racism existed with some shops refusing the custom of ethnic minorities due to the colour of their skin. Social relationships between migrants and hosts existed but only on a casual contact basis. Patterson (1965) noted that some of the West Indians had adopted the British way of life however, there were few inter-racial marriages. Paterson concluded “over the next decades in Britain the West Indian migrants and their children will follow in the steps of the Irish and achieve almost complete assimilation into British Society. “