By 2000, Asian people have firmly settled in Britain. It is home. Many young Asians today are third, if not fourth, generations. In many cases, their grandparents, even great grandparents, migrated here in the 1950s and 1960s. While things are not perfect they live in a time where there are improved opportunities and growing expectations. For example, entering higher education and going to university is now seen as normal, as an achievable objective. Asian youth are getting educated, trained and skilled to enter the professions and to do a wide range of work. But there are still many questions:
- How have these improved conditions and opportunities affected how young Asians see themselves and others?
- How has a sense of identity and belonging (or not) come to be expressed in the lives of Asian youth?
- What can young Asian people do now that previous generations of Asian youth could not do before?
- What are the common threads, if any, that connect the generations? Indeed, are the generations talking to each other?
- Finally, how “Asian” are today’s generations? What makes them Asian, if at all?
The fluidity of Asian youth culture – indeed, of youth culture in general – means that change within the Asian community has become inevitable. This has been accelerated by recent, and ongoing, technological advances. Indeed, a 25-year old today may well see themselves as a different generation to a 16-year old; such is the pace of technological and cultural transformation. Tellingly, one young participant in this project explained, “Things change. Asian culture might not be the way it is [now] in thirty years. There may not be Asian culture in thirty years.” Borrowing and sharing cultural forms has been an ongoing theme in this story. This has changed everyone in some way, possibly more so in later generations.
Learn about the experiences of young Asian people in the 21st century in our 2000s-present oral histories.