New census figures from the United Kingdom show a shift in the origins of the majority of Britain’s Black population. The number of Blacks from Africa have surged past those of Caribbean origin.
From 2001 to 2011, the number of Black people from Africa rose from 0.9 percent to 1.7 percent of the general population. Numbers for those identifying as Black Caribbean remained at a steady 1.1 percent over the past 10 years.
British professor and author Paul Gilroy says the increase in Blacks from all backgrounds has corresponded to an increase in Black British influence on mainstream culture.
“The Black community is relatively small, but its cultural influence is significant,” Gilroy told The Voice. “We saw that with the Olympics and the image Britain presented of itself to the world. So statistics do tell an important story, but they don’t tell all of our story.”
Also of note is the growth of the U.K.’s “other Black” category. The numbers for Black Britons who did not report origins in Africa or the Caribbean grew to .05 percent from .02 percent in 2001.
University of Manchester professor Ludi Simpson seems to think that the growth of the category indicates a broader shift in Black British identity.
"People are choosing not to identify as either Caribbean or Africa. Perhaps they’re saying I am Black in some way, but it doesn’t matter where I’m from. Identity is more nuanced, but people might see it as less relevant as Britain becomes more diverse and people become more relaxed about multi-culturalism,” Simpson told The Voice.
And as U.S. residents digest their own census figures showing that American whites will be in the minority within the next 30 years, U.K. census figures show that white minority status in England’s capital of London is already a reality.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)