Questions of identity
What is a "coconut?"
It's perhaps a new term to you, but when we went on the street and talked to British Asians about their concerns, it was something that came up time and time again. "Coconut" is used by Asian people to describe other Asians who act or think like white people. The idea is that you may be brown on the outside but on the inside you are white - it can be used teasingly or it can be a deep insult.
We decided to do some more rigorous research about "coconuts" and a number of other issues of identity for the Asian Network's "Asian Nation" project. We commissioned a poll from ICM who asked Asians if they would describe themselves as a coconut. Perhaps not surprisingly for a term that is undoubtedly derogatory only 12 per cent did. But a third said that they thought you needed to BE a coconut to get on in British society. To find more about our poll have a look here.
If you listen to the Asian Network you will know that the issues of identity crop up again and again as first, second, and now a third generation of people born and brought up here wrestle with their cultural identity. They all have to balance their cultural heritage with the influences they get from modern day British society.
The Asian Network project is our contribution to the BBC's commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of partition. Other parts of the BBC are looking closely at the events of 60 years ago and their effect on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We felt that our focus should be on our British Asian audience and we've asked them to send their thoughts on their lives now to be put up on our special website, which we've launched today.