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The underlying dangers of nationalism

It’s certainly interesting to take a look at how arbitrary national identity is, and how divisively it can be used politically. One may regard themselves as proud to be a human and global citizen – but not proud to be British. We can appreciate that the latter may be considered controversial, and on the surface sounds full of negative sentiment.

It must be argued however, that this is only because of the rhetoric surrounding national identity. It is precisely what needs to be addressed and deconstructed, in order for the power of hatemongering and scapegoating political parties like UKIP to wane.

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage Campaigning In South ShieldsPhoto: York Vision

Simply because one does not identify as patriotic, this does not make them some kind of western apologist or an individual whose opinion can easily be discredited. It also does not mean one cannot enjoy the culture, history and customs of this country.

Do not suffer sacred cows. We must challenge stereotypes and concepts that inhibit progress. The problem with national identity is that no one has the monopoly on its definition. It is vulnerable and powerfully used by dangerous parties to aid insidious political agendas.

The concept of patriotism has too much nationalist baggage. It forces us to adopt a world view that is divisive, rigid and segregationist. It precipitates that awful “them” and “us” culture, and ultimately it feeds anti-immigrant feeling. It is almost cliché now I suppose to speak of how we all come from immigrants, and how white people really aren’t all that white if we look at their heritage closely – consequently making the claim to superiority redundant. It’s hackneyed, but it is a step in the right direction. A step beyond that would be to say, even if someone is as white and “British” as they say – that holds no bearing on their value in society, and it certainly doesn’t make them more entitled to a better life.

We are all opportunists, and if you had the chance to improve the living standards of your family – perhaps even to save them from the depths of material poverty – would you not?

13/05/2014

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sophiebrinkley Sophie is a 2nd year PSI student and President of the brand new UEA Humanist society. A left leaning activist type, she regularly adorns the role of your favourite preachy social media user. Often spotted in the 'drama corner' of the LCR with a jäger bomb (or three) in hand.


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