“Where are you from?”
The atmosphere of the Olympics got me intoxicated to the extent where I felt British, I felt proud of London for hosting the games and I was gladly cheering on British athletes.
However, that’s all it was - an atmosphere.
In a later interview, a reporter asked a ‘British’ athlete “would you like to represent your country of birth?”, to which Mo Farah, double gold medal winner said “Listen mate, I’m British.”
One of my colleagues at work remarked that he’d not lived in the country as long as I had, and we found it intriguing that he had never been asked “Where are you from?”. He is Scottish, having lived in Malaysia for most of his childhood.
Let’s be honest, it is my dark African skin that puts me subject to this particular and frankly unpleasant question “where are you from?”. People are never satisfied with [insert city where i’ve lived for ~10 years], “no, where are you from FROM?”
Why do you want to know? Do you just want to certify that I am an immigrant? What do you gain from that piece of knowledge?
It’s a question that reminds me every time that I cannot really be British. A shame really because I love this country. At the same time, I cling on to my cultural identity because I am proud of it and I would be lost without that cultural identity.
I’ll call myself British Nigerian. Or in fact, I like to think of myself as a global citizen.
Identity is such a … tricky issue.