Is English a Race or Nationality?

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PPF
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Hello,

This is probably a really stupid question but I am legitimately confused.

Can a Black 2nd generation immigrant who was born and raised in England refer to themselves as being Black English? You never hear that. It's always Black British. For some reason I think many people consider English to be reserved for White natives.

In the 2011 census, in England and Wales, non-white ethnic groups, as such, are not offered the standard option of including ‘English’ as part of their ethnic group: they’re officially classified only as ‘Black British’, ‘Asian British’, etc., and not ‘Black English’ or ‘Asian English’. By contrast, Black and Asian persons living in Scotland are permitted to identify as ‘Black Scottish’ and ‘Asian Scottish’.
Not only is the ethnicity of black and minority ethnic (BAME) persons in England and Wales not officially to be classified as ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’, but those latter terms are reserved as ethnic categories exclusively for white persons. I.e., according to British officialdom, if you’re ethnically English, you’re white.

I would appreciate if anyone could clarify because a foreigner asked me if I was English and I replied that I am British. They then asked me why I am not English and I told them that English has ethnic connotations. But now I am unsure if my answer was perhaps misleading.
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wolfmoon88
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(Original post by PPF)
Hello,

This is probably a really stupid question but I am legitimately confused.

Can a Black 2nd generation immigrant who was born and raised in England refer to themselves as being Black English? You never hear that. It's always Black British. For some reason I think many people consider English to be reserved for White natives.

In the 2011 census, in England and Wales, non-white ethnic groups, as such, are not offered the standard option of including ‘English’ as part of their ethnic group: they’re officially classified only as ‘Black British’, ‘Asian British’, etc., and not ‘Black English’ or ‘Asian English’. By contrast, Black and Asian persons living in Scotland are permitted to identify as ‘Black Scottish’ and ‘Asian Scottish’.
Not only is the ethnicity of black and minority ethnic (BAME) persons in England and Wales not officially to be classified as ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’, but those latter terms are reserved as ethnic categories exclusively for white persons. I.e., according to British officialdom, if you’re ethnically English, you’re white.

I would appreciate if anyone could clarify because a foreigner asked me if I was English and I replied that I am British. They then asked me why I am not English and I told them that English has ethnic connotations. But now I am unsure if my answer was perhaps misleading.
English is a nationality not a race.

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A Mysterious Lord
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English is an ethnicity.

British is a nationality.
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squirrology
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English is an ethnic group.
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PPF
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How do you explain the wording in the Census?
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PPF
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"The English are a nation and an ethnic group native to England, who speak the English language." -- Prof. Wikipedia
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PPF
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Help me out please. I am feeling guilty for possibly misinforming a foreign lady who works as a cleaner on campus.
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Melkorath
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English can be both a nationality and and ethnic group. Any citizen of England is English by nationality. Any person with a deep English family heritage is ethnically English. Ethnic group does not mean race, so no, English are not a race.
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cranbrook_aspie
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It's both an ethnicity and a nationality. If you have English blood, you're English in the ethnic sense and you don't necessarily need to have a personal connection to England for that to be the case. On the nationality side, it's less clear because given that England is part of Britain you can't be an English citizen as such, but my personal view is that if you were born in England you're English and you don't necessarily need to have English blood for that to be the case.
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h333
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Well it certainly is not a race.
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BackToThe90s
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English is definitely a race. All nations are part of a wider tribal family.

Blacks can be civically British but obvs not ethnically British.
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El Salvador
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Yes, you can call that person black English. I know at least one British-born Chinese who calls himself English.

Being English can be an ethnicity, can refer to the place of birth. It can arguably be considered a nationality if you consider England a nation, which it hardly is, in a world that doesn't normally consider Hong Kong or Taiwan nations.

It's true that most people only see white English people as English, but that's just being racist. The truth is, those people and indeed most people, wouldn't have make a distinction between an Anglo-Saxon white English person and a white English person with Polish ancestry; but those people would definitely say black or Asian or oriental English people aren't ethnically English.

Whilst an ethnicity could be partly about skin colours, that's definitely not always the case, especially not in immigrant countries or city states. An ethnicity is any group of people that have a shared identity and/or ancestry.

But English is certainly not a race. A race is usually a much broader group of people like whites and blacks. In fact, orientals and native Americans are technically the same race - both belong to the Mongol race. Some people may even group South Asians with Caucasians as they shared a relatively more recent origin as an Indo-European people. Ultimately, of course none of these (race, ethnicity, nationality) exists biologically - we're all mixed to an extent and it's all a spectrum. Nationality is obviously politically defined, but ethnicity and race are just as political. For example, Latinos used to be considered white - now you're not even white if you come from a Spanish/Portuguese-speaking background, coming from Spain and Portugal with no native American ancestry (Latinos are supposed to be white and native American mixed). Jewish people (which clearly should just be classed as a religious, not ethnic group. But due to the nature of the people they've become a clear ethnic group) have not always been seen as "proper" whites. Neither have Slavs (eg white Russians) been consistently perceived as white. White Armenians, which of course come from the place where the word "Caucasian" came from, were not seen as white enough either. Most recently, the US have also excluded Arabs and north Africans (the white ones, of course) from being Caucasians/whites. (And then there's the obvious that orientals and native Americans are not normally seen as the same race.)

Words can mean many different things and so fundamentally, I think you're asking the wrong question - it's not an either/or situation. The same how "Mexican" could be a citizen of the country Mexico, a permanent resident of the country Mexico, and people anywhere with some Mexican ancestry.
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davidwells32
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Hello I was born in England.. therefore I am English.. that's what i determine myself to be.. I happen to be white, but white is my 'race' determined by society.. I happen to think race is a social construct.. i.e my son & daughter are of 'mixed race' (white & South Asian) & NOT (English & Indian) are then they called 'mixed race' .. unfortunately this is what they will be referred to.. but if you think about it, if 95% of the world happen to be of 'mixed race', then they would just be a 'Race' wouldn't they? the whole thing sadly is labeling for labeling's sake. we are all human beings with variation is skin colour, right from pale to dark - all shades in between.. However when it come to nationality.. this is either where you were born or where you choose (why cant you choose)..? so I'd answer YES you are my fellow Englishman brother no matter what colour you happen to be.. (if that's what you determine yourself to be)
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coe_jole
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Britain, being a country formed of four distinct parts (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) is by definition a much more inclusive in terms of national identity than England is. Since England is the largest by far of these four parts, for much of British history as a unified polity it was synonymous with Britain. However, following the influx of non-white immigrants to Britain following the Second World War, the notion of an ethnically exclusive
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04MR17
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English is a language.

All the others are just social constructions that have no real meaning.
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Paracosm
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Closed due to age.
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