T is for “To Be Or Not To Be”


T is for “To Be Or Not To Be”

Now, before you turn off or click away, no, I’m not about to launch into a great long academical discussion about what that little sentence means. I merely used it as an example of the wonderful Bard, William Shakespeare, whose birthday (and deathday) is marked today.

Shakespeare is one of our national heroes – for obvious reasons – as is St George. I wrote about St George last year but for those of you who don’t know, St George is the patron saint of England and 23rd April is his feast day.

However, unlike the Irish, the Scottish and to some extent the Welsh, the English don’t really go in for celebrating St George’s Day too much. We do the odd parade and we will perhaps sing the odd patriotic hymn in church (as we did yesterday – yay to Jerusalem!!) but generally speaking, St George’s Day passes without much mention in the media, in the news or even (shock horror) on Facebook. I can hazard a guess at the reasons why that is (namby pambiness of the “we must include all cultures and can’t risk offending anyone by calling ourselves ENGLISH; the chance that by flying the English flag we will be branded racist; we have lost our English identity somewhere along the line?)

The question of identity is a great one to ponder. Personally, I don’t see the difficulty in identifying myself as English and just because I do so doesn’t automatically mean that I harbour any sort of hatred towards people of other national identities. It doesn’t mean that because I want to fly the Union Jack (yes, JACK, not FLAG as the PC do-gooders would have us use) I am picking a war with those who don’t.

If people were to stop and think about it for a second or two, being English means that we are the product of several other tribes and nationalities, and therefore we have an inbuilt ability to welcome and include other people from other backgrounds to our own.

Identifying myself as English means that I am identifying myself as someone who, with a mixed heritage myself, totally understands and respects other people’s heritages too. I am not racist, I am just English.

God bless all you Anglo-Saxons out there with the flag of St George tattooed on your breastbone!

 

 

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About Pam Smith

I am a Christian and currently exploring vocation. I am a writer, I conduct a brass band, I am an avid reader and when I'm not doing any of those things I crochet with a fierce passion. I am mum to two fantastic young adults, celebrating my Silver wedding anniversary in 2016 with my husband. I recently gained my Bachelor of Arts with honours.
This entry was posted in A-Z April 2012 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to T is for “To Be Or Not To Be”

  1. Mich Mayo-Smith says:

    I had a St. George’s day dinner for my friends here, I did Roast Beef with Yorkshire puddings mmm, and a Sherry Trifle for pudding. I put out all my English flags including my MCFC one and played brass band music, including the Middleton band’s Sword and the Star featuring someone you might know playing My love is like a Red Red Rose.

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    • sterlingsop says:

      Haha!!! I’d forgotten about that, it seems like a whole lifetime ago now 🙂

      Glad to hear St George is being celebrated over the water Mich, especially the sherry trifle. Oooh could just do with a bit of trifle now!

      Like

  2. Maxi says:

    Every individual should be taken seperately; not reckoned by the whole. Good for you, Pam, to be your own person.

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  3. viviellevirgule says:

    So, are people who are against calling yourselves English more against it because they feel that it doesn’t include people from other parts of the British Isles (Scotland, Wales etc) or because it might offend more recent immigrants? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but you’ve got an American here who didn’t know that a person from England calling herself English is apparently disrespectful, according to some people.

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    • sterlingsop says:

      It does sound ludicrous doesn’t it??! The way things are in England, we have to been seen to be all-inclusive, and apparently, being patriotic is seen as being divisive. The Scots, Welsh and Irish (who are the other component parts of Great Britain) are lauded for being patriotic, whilst the English are seen as wrong for celebrating England and Englishness. It beggars belief and drives me crackers!!

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