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Southall - The birth of a black community

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  • Southall - The birth of a black community

    My mother found this little gem. It might be a bit contentious but it's indicative of the social attitudes at the time.



    A book published by the Institute of Race Relations in 1981.

    Look very carefully at the photos. How many black (as in African) people do you see? All of the people look south Asian.

    At the time the book was published it was common practice for the race relations communities to refer to south Asian - and even Chinese, Arab, Hispanic, and Turkish - people as black.
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  • #2
    Re: Southall - The birth of a black community

    Originally posted by Arran View Post
    At the time the book was published it was common practice for the race relations communities to refer to south Asian - and even Chinese, Arab, Hispanic, and Turkish - people as black.
    Activists sometimes even referred to people being 'politically Black'. Back then, perhaps even more so than now, the 'Asian' (Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi) population dwarfed the number of Afro-Caribbeans, and outside London there were very few Africans, so I think the idea was to lump all non-white people together and thereby increase the number of people that the activists could claim to represent. I've noticed this practice used in more recent years - IIRC the former NUS president Bouattia called herself black despite being of North African origin and rather pale.

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    • #3
      Re: Southall - The birth of a black community

      Black as a political colour has its origins in the 1976 Race Relations Act as the term to describe anybody who is not white European. It is noteworthy that the race relations community from the 1960s and 70s was dominated by white British people (mostly of a politically left leaning stance) with a handful of black Jamaicans tacked on almost as a token gesture. There were very few south Asians or Chinese people actively involved in race relations back then.

      The term Asian used to describe somebody from the Indian Subcontinent was only coined as recently as the late 1970s in reaction to the use of black to describe such people. Most people of south Asian origin at the time took offence to being referred to as black because they perceived it as little more than a political colour. The race relations community had also totally overlooked problems affecting people of south Asian origin resulting from culture, language, or religion that do not affect most black Jamaican people and still do today. The British definition of Asian as south Asian is different from the American definition of Asian which means east Asian such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

      The term black still lingers on today in the form of BME or black and minority ethnic. Why exactly is black specifically sectioned out and mentioned? Why not use a term Asian and Minority Ethnic; Chinese and Minority Ethnic; Muslim and Minority Ethnic; or Sikh and Minority Ethnic instead.

      You are right in that outside of London black people are uncommon and their numbers are dwarfed by south Asian people but the race relations industry had (and still has) its epicentre in London so looks at the situation from a London centric perspective. There were lots of south Asian kids at my primary school (not in London) and only two or three black kids at any one time but the PHSE curriculum in the 1990s showed a bias towards blacks over other races and more emphasis on race and skin colour rather than culture, language, or religion.

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      • #4
        Re: Southall - The birth of a black community

        Southall and other towns such as Ormskirk in Lancashire it is now spot the white man

        Many of the shops & vans are sign written in languages such as Urdu
        sigpic
        Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.

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