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Old 04-04-2013, 10:42 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Few can deny the massive global influence of Great Britain in almost every sphere - from the economic, social, linguistic and in a broader cultural sense. From cricket to the Beatles, the UK has probably have a greater influence (and in a way through the United States, it's rebellious child) than any nation ever - or at least since Renaissance France or Ancient Rome/Greece. I'm wondering, then, whether many Britons - not just the English either since both Scottish, Welsh and Irish were influential in colonialism etc, felt a sort of guilt and embarrassment whenever they talk about Empire, or say the influence of English, and whether this is seen as boasting. Are people from the UK made to feel almost guilty for even talking about it?

I'm not British myself nor do I have British ancestry, but I've lived under the 'shadow' of the British Empire all my life. I was born in a former British colony (Singapore), live in Australia, a constitutional monarchy, and was brought up on a steady diet of British culture. That English is my first language and the language of my parent's, and Protestantism my religion is also a legacy of colonialism. Of course, one might say I've benefited from it so don't have much to be bitter about (and I'm not) but I do see colonialism as a multi-faceted and complex thing that changed the world both for the worst and for the better.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Scotland
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We, the younger generation, can only look at it fact based. A lot of evil things were committed in the name of empire, but Australia and America, for example, would be wildly different if it wasn't for the British Empire.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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Boasting of the British empire and achievements of Britain in general is something you are more likely to witness amongst the 'golden oldies'. My grandmother, for example, took great pride in telling me, as a child, that Britain ruled the world at one point, she was born in 1939 so was only a young child before Britain started granting colonies independence.

For people in their 20s, such as myself, boasting about the British Empire and British achievements is rarely seen or heard, and is probably considered bad taste. I don't think it is related to subconscious guilt, since the acts committed by our predecessors occurred way before the terrible acts committed by Germany or Japan in the 1940s, but maybe it's related to our self-deprecating nature in general.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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This is absolute rubbish, no one boasts at all about empire or colonial past... where do these ideas come from ... its in the past..
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:56 PM
 
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
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British influence and the colonizing empire can be separate. Combining the two has fuelled some pretty ignorant responses so far..

Those who don't acknowledge British influence around the world are blind (although I don't know any of those), and those who credit Britain with all that is good in the world and think the 'empire' was a moralistic time in our history live in some sort of utopian fantasy land bubble of crap.
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Scotland
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ian, you are saying what I, and most people, already think lol.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
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I agree with Ian.

To address the question specifically, I don't feel any personal guilt or embarrassment when discussing the empire. But if the question is about contemporary social attitudes towards the empire rather than the empire itself, I think anyone who lauds the achievements of empire without simultaneously paying serious attention to its profoundly detrimental effects; is an oaf.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:57 AM
 
Location: Next stop Antarctica
1,800 posts, read 2,737,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunno what to put here View Post
Boasting of the British empire and achievements of Britain in general is something you are more likely to witness amongst the 'golden oldies'. My grandmother, for example, took great pride in telling me, as a child, that Britain ruled the world at one point, she was born in 1939 so was only a young child before Britain started granting colonies independence.

For people in their 20s, such as myself, boasting about the British Empire and British achievements is rarely seen or heard, and is probably considered bad taste. I don't think it is related to subconscious guilt, since the acts committed by our predecessors occurred way before the terrible acts committed by Germany or Japan in the 1940s, but maybe it's related to our self-deprecating nature in general.
I think you have to realize that us "Golden Oldies" as you call us, were fed all this stuff at school about the British Empire and all its achievements, we even had Empire Day a celebration of what being British meant. Of course we realise now that it wasn't all good, i don't know what kids are taught today maybe someone can enlighten me.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:02 AM
 
Location: SE UK
12,265 posts, read 9,632,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cushla View Post
I think you have to realize that us "Golden Oldies" as you call us, were fed all this stuff at school about the British Empire and all its achievements, we even had Empire Day a celebration of what being British meant. Of course we realise now that it wasn't all good, i don't know what kids are taught today maybe someone can enlighten me.
Britains should be as proud of their history as anybody else on the planet! Of course British history isnt 'all good' but it isnt 'all bad' either! If somebody can show me a part of the world that historically has been 'all good' then I would be suprised!
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:19 AM
 
5,655 posts, read 4,863,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian6479 View Post
British influence and the colonizing empire can be separate. Combining the two has fuelled some pretty ignorant responses so far..

Those who don't acknowledge British influence around the world are blind (although I don't know any of those), and those who credit Britain with all that is good in the world and think the 'empire' was a moralistic time in our history live in some sort of utopian fantasy land bubble of crap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by paull805 View Post
ian, you are saying what I, and most people, already think lol.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eoin (pronounced Owen) View Post
I agree with Ian.
Yep, i'm with Ian on this as well. Although I would also add that it should be acknowledged that although one shouldn't "credit Britain with all that is good in the world" it shouldn't also be credited with all that is evil either.
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