Multiculturalism in the UK. What is Multiculturalism?. Multiculturalism implies a respect for ethnic and cultural diversity.
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What is Multiculturalism? • Multiculturalism implies a respect for ethnic and cultural diversity. • In a political context it has come to mean the belief in extending equitable status to distinct ethnic and religious groups without promoting any specific ethnic, religious, and/or cultural community values as central.
What is Multiculturalism? • Multiculturalism is often contrasted with the concepts of assimilation and social integration and has been described as a "salad bowl" rather than a "melting pot."
An overview of key events and dates • http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2002/race/short_history_of_immigration.stm
An overview of key events and dates • Ten key moments in UK race relations: • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1517672.stm
Various views and understandings about the term • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3600791.stm In 2011 Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron said in a speech that "state multiculturalism has failed". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994
Diane Abbot BBC article on multiculturalism and multiracialism • http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/dabbott_01.shtml
The British Nationality Act 1948 • The British Nationality Act 1948 was a revision of the way in which subjects in the British Empire were legally considered. • As Dominion countries like Canada began to establish their own national identities yet remained within the British Commonwealth it became necessary to distinguish between British subjects in the Empire vs. those in the Dominions.
The British Nationality Act 1948 • In effect the British Nationality Act 1948 was to allow the 800 millionsubjects in the British Empire to live and work in the United Kingdom without needing a visa. • No one thought at the time that so many would ever want to. • However, things were going to rapidly change...
S.S. Empire Windrush • One of the early, famous examples of immigration was the arrival of the ship Empire Windrush from Kingston, Jamaica, which docked at Tilbury on the 21 June 1948. • The ship carried 492 Jamaican passengers, with 1,427 passengers in total, and this was one of the first large scale arrivals of afro-Caribbean immigrants from the British Colonies in the West Indies.
S.S. Empire Windrush • Those on the Empire Windrush were initially welcomed, but difficulties would arise for both West Indian immigrants and English natives during the process of integration.
Why come to Britain? • New Commonwealth immigrants came to Britain in search of work, a higher standard of living and better prospects for their children. • Many on the Empire Windrush were typically young males who had been in the armed forces during WW2 and seen what Britain had to offer.
Why come to Britain? • There were also push factors. For example one fifth of the West Indians who were repatriated to Jamaica after the war, finding themselves unemployed and with little prospects of finding jobs, immediately spent some of their gratuities on returning to Britain in empty troopships on their return voyages. George Mason as a young man in RAF uniform
The labour shortage in Britain • The expansion of the British economy in the 1950s and 1960s created substantial shortages of labour, particularly in the relatively stagnant sectors of the economy, for example, textiles, metal manufacture and transport, where low pay, long hours and shift work made the jobs unattractive to British workers. • These industries were unable to compete with expanding sectors for workers in short supply. Agatha Hart at Stockwell bus garage, 1962.
The late 40’s and early 1950’s • Additional numbers of doctors arrived from the Indian subcontinent to staff the newly established National Health Service. • In 1956 London Transport agreed with the Barbadian Immigrants Liaison Service to loan Barbadians their fares to Britain to be repaid as part of their wages. Nurses receiving their training certificates and badges, Bethnal Green Hospital, 1960s.
The late 40’s and early 1950’s • Indians began arriving in the UK in large numbers shortly after their country gained independence in 1947. • More than 60,000 arrived before 1955, many of whom drove buses, or worked in foundries or textile factories. • Later arrivals often opened corner shops or ran post offices. • By 1961 over 100,000 Indian and Pakistani nationals had taken up residence in Britain. • A 1960 Home Office Report recorded a total of 34,600 Indian and 4,800 Pakistani children in Britain - around 64 per cent of them were British-born.
The late 40’s and early 1950’s • Tensions between immigrants and native Britons intensified over these years. • Racist abuse and violence were experienced by many black or Asian immigrants. • Inequality and discrimination in every sector of life were omnipresent – Housing being a common source of problems. • Inner city Socio-economic problems were typically at the root of much of the problem. • Watch the last 20 minutes of the documentary Windrush for more depth: • http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2618093601046655014#
Notting Hill riots 1958 • The riot is thought to have started on Saturday 30 August when a gang of white youths attacked a Swedish woman, Majbritt Morrison. • The youths had seen her the previous night arguing with her Jamaican husband Raymond at Latimer Road tube station. They had shouted racial insults at him and were incensed when she turned on them. • Seeing her the next night, the same youths pelted her with bottles, stones and wood and struck her in the back with an iron bar, until the police intervened and she was escorted home.
Notting Hill riots 1958 • Later that night a mob of 300 to 400 white people, many of them "Teddy Boys“ attacked the houses of West Indian residents. • The disturbances, rioting and attacks continued every night until they petered out by 5 September. • The Metropolitan Police arrested over 140 people during the two weeks of the disturbances, mostly white youths but also many black people found carrying weapons.
Population by Ethnic Group, April 2001: Source: Census, Office for National Statistics
Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 • This attempted to limit immigration by restricting the right of entry to those who actually had jobs to go to. • It was heavily condemned particularly by the left-wing as being racist. • Gaitskell called it "cruel and brutal anti-colour legislation". • Although Labour stoutly opposed the measure it would introduce a second Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1968. No Room at the Inn, Leslie Illingworth cartoon, 1961
Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 • In response to this Act there was a rush of immigration into the UK before the Act was passed into law. • Between 1960 and 1962 over 230,000 New Commonwealth citizens entered the UK. • This in fact marked an immigration peak, but was to such an extent that it led to concerns most notoriously voiced by Enoch Powell in his 1968 Rivers of blood speech.
Race Relations Act 1965 • Prohibited racial discrimination in public places • Made incitement to racial hatred an offence • Set up a Race Relations board to investigate complaints of racial discrimination
Race Relations Act 1968 • Outlawed racial discrimination in areas such as housing and employment • Set up the Community Relations Commission to promote inter-racial understanding
The second generation grows up • The children of the ‘Windrush’ were growing up, but they had been born in Britain. • They were also being influenced by very different cultural icons and attitudes were not the same at all…
Race Relations Act 1976 • Reinforced earlier Race Relations Acts. White City, c. 1970Platform guard seeing off train.
The New Cross Fire • The New Cross house fire was a devastating house fire during a birthday party in New Cross, southeast London, on Sunday, 18 January 1981.
The New Cross Fire • The blaze killed 13 young black people, but it was felt that the obvious possibility that the fire was started for racist motives was being ignored by the Police, and instead the Black community found themselves the subject of suspicion.
The New Cross Fire • Protests arising out of the deaths in the fire led to the first real mobilisation of black political activity in Britain when on Monday, 2 March 20,000 people marched in protest. The march was overwhelmingly peaceful but The Sun newspaper reported it with the headline "Day the Blacks Ran Riot in London".
Were the Race Relations Acts successful? • There have been many positive changes in attitudes in the UK. • The Race relations Acts have helped to enshrine some of these attitudes into law. • On the other hand there still remain significant issues and problems. The most outstanding examples of this would be the 2001 Oldham riots or the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. • The investigation into his death led Sir William Macpherson to conclude that the Police force was "institutionally racist“.
Key questions • What is meant by term ‘multiculturalism’ in a political sense? • What factors encouraged immigration to the UK in the post-war period? • In what ways has Britain benefitted positively from immigration? • How far were socio-economic issues the main factors that led to tensions between immigrant and native groups? • Explain the causes behind one of the race riots the UK experienced during the period 45-91. • Was Enoch Powell right? • To what extent were the Race Relations Acts effective? • How far has there been political consensus regarding immigration and race relations? • Racism was at the heart of collapses in race relations, not multiculturalism. Discuss.
Articles • The New Commonwealth Migrants 1945-62 by Zig Henry. • http://www.historytoday.com/zig-henry/new-commonwealth-migrants-1945-62 • Black People in Britain: Response and Reaction, 1945-62 by Paul Rich. • http://www.historytoday.com/paul-rich/black-people-britain-response-and-reaction-1945-62 23 December 1958: Guests at a Christmas party at Holland Park Comprehensive School.