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G325 Historical Background
 

G325 Historical Background

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  • Watched sapphire
  • Watched sapphire
  • a letter from 11 MPs to the Prime Minister Attlee dated 22 June 1948. They expressed concerns that large numbers of "coloured" immigrants may "impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and to cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned." The letter was 'signed' by JD Murray, CF Grey, James Harrison, Frank Mcleavy, RWG Mackay, T Reid, Louis Tolley, TJ Brooks, JR Leslie, Percey Holman and Meredith F Titterington.

G325 Historical Background G325 Historical Background Presentation Transcript

  • COLLECTIVE IDENTITY Historical - candidates must summarise the development of themedia forms in question (film & music) in theoretical contexts.
  • COLLECTIVE IDENTITYAIM – To place Sapphire in it’s socio-political context in order to better understand the representations offered by the text and inturn how this has contributed to black British collective identity
  • SAPPHIRE and PRESSURE• Sapphire (Dearden, 1959) and Pressure (Ove, 1976) are the films that you will use to understand the historical aspects of Black British Collective identity.• If you’re asked to refer to how REPRESENTATIONS have changed over time these two films would be your starting
  • Contextualising Sapphire• In order to fully understand the representations and the construction of representations presented in Sapphire it’s necessary to contextualise the film.• Researching the socio-political context of the production will allow for better understanding when discussing issues of collective identity among Black Britons
  • Some terms you may come across• Racialisation• To differentiate or categorize according to race• To perceive or experience in racial terms• Emigration• To leave one country or region to settle in another• Immigrant• A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another
  • Research (This was homework)• Investigate what was happening in Britain between 1948 – 1962• How was the social landscape changing?• How did the changing social landscape lead to a ‘racialisation’ of British politics?• Representation works through construction – how were black people represented in the film?• Considering your research and film analysis - How does the film put across a sense of collective identity of Black British people?
  • 1958
  • Historical contexts, Legislative Measures, Political Cultural and Media Discourses around race / racism• In the beginning there was the Empire and, then (post-1945), there was the Empire no more. In a nostalgic bid to keep the idea of Empire alive, the British establishment first created the Commonwealth and, in 1948, voted through Parliament the Commonwealth Act whereby all citizens of the ex-Empire could come to the mother country: the United Kingdom.
  • Historical contexts, Legislative Measures, PoliticalCultural and Media Discourses around race / racism • On June 22, 1948, the SS Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in Essex. Its arrival marked an important moment in the history of modern England. The steamship had stopped in Jamaica to pick up some of the thousands of servicemen who had been recruited to serve in the armed forces during the second world war. They were joined on their life-changing Atlantic voyage by some 500 other Caribbean men and women keen to visit England. Over the years "the Windrush generation" and their families have become integral to our society.
  • Historical contexts, Legislative Measures, PoliticalCultural and Media Discourses around race / racism • British capitalists, and some sections of the British state, initiated and actively encouraged large scale emigration to Britain from the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent during the 1950s and 1960s. • In the early 1960s government ministers, as well as private employers, started to recruit directly in the West Indies. These included Enoch Powell, who actively encouraged the migration of medical staff from India and the West Indies during his time as Minister for Health. The London Transport executive made an agreement with the Barbadian Immigration Liaison Service.
  • Racialisation of Politics • ‘black immigration into Britain is a fundamentally bad thing, and that it should be prevented at all costs, except, of course, where the system would literally cease to function without it.’ • Black immigration raised the prospect of a permanent Black presence in British society. Concern about the deleterious effects of Black immigration on the racial character of the English people was voiced as early as 1948. Two days after the arrival of the Empire Windrush a letter was sent to Prime Minister Clement Attlee by 11 Labour MPs calling for the control of Black immigration. • Is it rational or racial?
  • Historical contexts, Legislative Measures, PoliticalCultural and Media Discourses around race / racism • Concern as to the number of "coloured" immigrants (as they were then known) was being voiced in the mid- to late1950s by the Conservative party (which had been in power since 1951), but race as an issue did not fully become one until the watershed year of 1958. • Two occurrences: the so-called Nottingham "riots" and Notting Hill "riots" (the former in the north-eastern part of England, the latter in a London borough) put race on the social and political agenda. Thanks to these events, race would henceforth be perceived as a problem. • Groups of young white men known as Teddy Boys would randomly attack black people because of their colour. In August 1958 the black community fought back under the leadership of Baron Baker and others •
  • Racialisation of Politics • Black immigration was now perceived to be a problem in society at large, even though blacks, when they were needed, could still be brought to work in Britain. • When the need for their labour was not so great, a thoroughly racist system of immigration controls would, moreover, help to ensure that black workers already in Britain could be blamed more easily for the rapidly growing difficulties which the economy faced in the years which immediately followed the introduction of the 1962 Act.
  • Racialisation of Politics • It was the first legislation to introduce state regulation of Commonwealth immigration and introduced the first ever entry restrictions on British Commonwealth citizens, by making primary immigration dependent upon the possession of a work voucher. Given that the intended targets of the Act were all black or Asian (and few ever even attempted to deny this), the 1962 Act also marks the first of a series of racially discriminatory pieces of legislation which have combined to lay the basis for the notoriously racist immigration laws for which Britain is so famous today. • The 1962 Act enshrined in law for the first time the completely false, yet no less insidious, notion that immigration equals black immigration, a notion upon which all successive immigration legislation has been built.
  • Racialisation of Politics • Blacks are the "alien disease" for whom there is only one "common sense" solution: Repatriation. As a signifier of the increase in this common-sense racism, one only has to look at the seven different Acts on immigration (and to the shift in the signifying chain of key words) which have been voted by Parliament since that watershed moment in 1958: • 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act • 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act • 1971 Immigration Act • 1981 Immigration Act • 1981 Nationality Act • 1985 New Visa System
  • Research (This was homework)• Investigate what was happening in Britain between 1948 – 1962• How was the social landscape changing?• How did the changing social landscape lead to a ‘racialisation’ of British politics?• Representation works through construction – how were black people represented in the film?• Considering your research and film analysis - How does the film put across a sense of collective identity of Black British people?
  • Investigate what was happening in Britain between 1948 – 1962• In the 1950s, a large number of West Indians arrived in Britain.• A number of Asian people also arrived in the country during the 1950s.• Migration of a number of people from Pakistan migrating to Britain also took place in the early 1940s into the 1950s and through into the 1960s.• A number of Pakistani people migrated over to Britian due to partition in their country which occurred in 1947.• For the first time, the 1950s saw young people gaining a significant disposable income.• Youth culture also became more distinct during this decade; started with the teddy boys in the 1950s and went on to the mods and rockers of the 1960s.• Food rationing still existed for several years after WWII - tea rationing lasted until 1952, sweet rationing until 1953 and meat and cheese rationing until 1954.
  • How was the social landscape changing?• Large numbers of migrants from West Indian and Asian countries began to migrate to Britain in order to fill jobs that British people were not filling.• Distinct youth culture began to evolve - teddy boys were a common occurrence on the streets of Britain.• Racial attacks occurred in Notting Hill in London in August 1958 - hostilities between white and black people were prominent.• Food rationing comes to an end in July 1954, the pressure on food supplies had now disappeared.
  • How did the changing social landscape lead to a ‘racialisation’ of British politics?• Concerns from white British people that the influx of immigrants from the West Indies in particular would mean that unemployment for white people would be more common, would be harder for them to find jobs.• A plee for controlled immigration was taken to the colonial office by the mayor of Lambeth, one of the most popular places for West Indian immigrants to settle once in Britain.• Stated there was a housing crisis in this area; 10,000 were on the waiting list for housing in Lambeth and due to the already lareg influx of immigrants the area no longer had enough housing for these people.• Hostilities between white and black people became apparent in the riot that took place in Notting Hill in August 1958.• In the 1960s, more than 12,000 Kenyan and Asian refugees arrived in Britain due to ongoing violence in their home country of Africa; despite being commonwealth citizens and therefore were freely allowed to enter Britian. However, politician Jim Callahan drafted a Commonwealth Immigration Bill, and the bill became law almost immediately. This meant that the free entry commonwealth immigrants had been promised was no longer available.• Outsider Conservative MP Enoch Powell claimed the country to be mad to allow such a high number of immigrants into the country in what is now known as The Rivers of Blood speech.