It’s often said that America is a nation of immigrants, and despite all that has happened in the last two and a half years, it’s still largely true. Immigration isn’t a recent occurrence here—it goes all the way back to the Founding Fathers, it’s wrought into the nation’s DNA. America is an immigrant project, and it shows in my experience as a brown man. Even in areas that are majority white, I don’t necessarily feel like an outsider. My ethnic ambiguity means that I could be Italian, Latino, native American, or a mix of all of the above.
This is very different to Britain, where too many social issues are reduced to debates about “whites” and “Asians”—a term meaning people of South Asian descent in general, and Pakistan in particular.
Perhaps British society feels so divided at the bottom precisely because it is so uniform at the top: there is still an enormous dominance of white faces with Anglo-Saxon names in politics, media and power. Compare that to America, where even “white” people are likely to have a surname that is Italian, Spanish or Eastern European, and where there are many, many more leading political and cultural figures who are not white.