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Is nostalgia predominantly a white British passion?

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  • Is nostalgia predominantly a white British passion?

    I know this might be a bit controversial...

    Is nostalgia predominantly a white British passion?

    I can't help thinking that it is despite Britain having a sizeable non-white population of foreign origin for the best part of the past 70 years. In theory these people will have memories of things from bygone decades in the same way as white British people do. They might even have memories of things that most white British people have overlooked or not had experience of.

    Even certain hobbies like classic cars or antiques are predominantly a white British passion.

    Do most non-white people in Britain have a limited sense of nostalgia as they look at things from the past as the bad old days more so than the good old days?

  • #2
    Unless white British people are unique amongst all other human beings, then no.

    I'm sure people of all backgrounds look back fondly on certain things. The cultural references might differ, but the emotion is the same.


    • #3
      While I couldn't say for in Britain, I have seen via free preview some East-Indian specialty digital cable channels and some of those show very old Indian and Pakistani etc. films. There was also one I saw about a female adventure type character names Hunterwali (something like that) and modern people in a studio talking about it between clips. I also saw a documentary on Afghan people trying to preserve their domestic cinema films from before and after the Russian invasion and everything that followed that in Afghanistan.

      Chinese language channels have many historically set drama series but I didn't see anything much in the way of vintage tv outside movies from the '70s sometimes. Not that i would be looking in on these channels all that often, but would be curious and look now and then while they were available to me.

      I also remember in some Japanese magazines there would be articles such as you might find in Best Of British with lots of photos about old movie actors and serial characters from their past, and other pieces on old toys. Japanese tv I've seen will have new shows talking about or visiting historic places, and even a cooking show made the favorite desert of a famous long deceased cartoonist with interludes about his career.
      My virtual jigsaws:


      • #4
        Meera Syal mentions in one of her novels that the main character's mother was nostalgia for the India of her younger years, which had faded away around the time Bollywood films started being in colour.
        The Trickster On The Roof


        • #5
          It could be a case that most non-white people of foreign origin living in Britain have little sentiment for the past within their own lifetimes, apart from things directly connected with their culture such as old films. Certain areas of nostalgia can be very strongly connected with people from a particular cultural background (such as entertainment) or simply does not appeal to certain ethnic groups (like Muslim Pakistanis aren't generally interested in old pubs) but other areas of nostalgia are in general culturally neutral.

          This raises the question whether one has to have a long standing connection with the land to take an interest in nostalgia, or whether there are deeper cultural factors that explain why so few non-white people of foreign origin living in Britain are interested in nostalgia?

          It has been said before that the British (or more precisely the English) are a nation of eccentrics. This could help explain why WH Smith sold magazines for every hobby imaginable, but such a diverse array of magazines for hobbyists did not exist in news shops in many foreign countries.


          • #6
            Some hobbies seem to be popular in other countries, with model railways & steam trains being popular in the USA & Germany from what I've seen.
            The Trickster On The Roof


            • #7
              True, but they tend to be most popular in developed countries. I'm under the impression that immigrants from most New Commonwealth and other less developed countries, along with their British born descendents generally don't care much for steam trains or other railway nostalgia. Perhaps because it brings back bad memories from their country of origin. They were still using steam trains in India and parts of Africa within my own lifetime.

              Classic cars are another one. It's very much a white British hobby. An increasing number of non-white people of foreign origin living in Britain now want flashy new Mercs and SUVs as a status symbol. back in the 1990s Pakistanis tended to own older Japanese cars but they were bangers more than classics. Another problem is that they also tend to live in urban areas where there isn't much parking space for a classic as well as the daily drive.


              • #8
                I don't think that it has anything to do with being white specifically to be honest - I went to a school that had an Asian and black population, and I think of it as incidental.

                Different people can be nostalgic for different things, and I suppose that it does differ depending on who you are and how one has been brought up.
                I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                I'm having so much fun
                My lucky number's one
                Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!


                • #9
                  It is a question of culture rather than a question of biological race.

                  Could certain foreign cultures have an inhibiting force when it comes to nostalgia, conjuring up the impression of the bad old days or something like this?