In orientation we were asked to think about some of the stereotypes we have of Britain and the British and then at the end of the semester to look at how our perception has changed or stayed the same. Michael Peplar asked us to envision a stereotypical Brit (I pictured the Queen) then he asked if they were white (yes) rich (yes) old (yes). Apparently everyone in the room was thinking of the Queen or Americans have a very limited perception of who the British are. I know that Britain is incredibly diverse and integrated, especially compared to home. Their national food is no longer fish and chips but chicken tikka masala. And yet when I think about a single Brit my mind jumps to all the famous ones: the Queen, Margaret Thatcher, David Beckham, David Cameron, David Tennant (they really like the name David over here) . Although they aren’t all old they’re certainly all rich and white.
Some of the other stereotypes that were mentioned at orientation were: drinking lots of tea, bad teeth, stodgy, reserved or cold, more smoking, dark dry humor, everyone not in a city lives in a castle, snobby, formal, regimented and rule oriented.
Going to things like Diwali on October 27 at Trafalgar or Urban Food Fest between now and October 12 are going to be a one of a kind experience. I really think that living here is going to open my eyes a bit so that when I think of Britain the first things I see are a little more diverse than when I first arrived.