3c: Race and Immigration

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Inter-war period attitudes 1

  • WW1- 1/3 of manpower was black&Asian (colonies)
  • Racist violence due to 'taking jobs'
  • 1919- racist violent strikes across Britain (Cardiff, Newport) - three deaths &£3000 in damage
  • National Union of Seamen - demanded non-white jobs be given to whites e.g. Liverpool in 1919 demanding jobs be given to them- sacked 120 workers
  • The Alien Orders Act of 1920 - required migrants to register with police before finding work
  • Special Restrictions Act 1925- forced coloured seamen to prove British citizenship
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Inter-war period attitudes 2

  • Wage rates were higher for whites - Asian chefs paid £5 a month but White chefs £20
  • League of Coloured People -1935 claimed 80% of coloured people were unmployed compared to 30% of whites
  • Idea that those in British empires would come to British unis then go back to own country to take senior roles - Harold Moody was refused  employment in Britain
  • The League of Coloured People (1931 - Moody) campaigned for equal rights and fair access to healthcare
  • International African Service Bureau - dedicated to fighting against imperialism and racism
  • Communist Party had high membership from ethnic groups including Saklatvala - Indian born radical. Communist Party helped Arab and Somali seamen who NUS tried to force out of jobs in 1930
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WW2 on Racism

  • Immigrant workers crucial to war effort
  • Men joined RAF, armed forces and Indian Army had 2 million men
  • Propaganda encouraged white New Zealand and Australian men
  • General racism in war work such as no promotions and refused to work in certain factories (Government refused 2000 Jamican workers to carry out war work)
  • American military made this worse as their armed forces were segregated and there was pressure for Britain to do the same
  • But opportunities for all ex servicemen to travel abroad and learn new opportunities
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  • Learie Constantine (cricketer) won a legal victory over a colour bar from the Imperial Hotel
  • British Nationality Act 1948 due to labour shortage so all people from British empires could come in
  • SS Empire Windrush marked this in June 1948
  • Immigrants found prosperity in entertainment industry such as Dr Mooksang nightclubs and DJ's like DJ Wilbert Augustus Campbell
  • Found work in post offices and NHS. NHS recruit 3000 Caribbean nurses
  • White's tried to stopped blacks from purchasing homes, claiming benefits and getting jobs
  • Government put pressure on black and asian countries to make passports less readily avaliable
  • MPs received letters from whites complaining on how black and Asians could buy houses, claim benefits etc but also from black and Asians on discrimination they had encountered
  • Mass violence including beatings to blacks who dated whites, anger at a loss of colonies, blame for economic problems and discrimination in police force
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Government policies

  • Conservative & Labour attempted to win votes by restricting immigration
  • Commonwealth Immigration Act 1962 - end large scale immigration - only if job is waiting for them or had skills required
  • Commonwealth Immigration Act 1968 - tightened rules to children of migrants over 17 and had to prove connection
  • Immigration Act 1970 created: Partial - People born in UK or parents/grandparents born in UK (White Commonwealth members) Non-Partial - people born outside UK
  • Still mass migration as people just moved before the act came into force so migration continued at high levels
  • Conservative party slogan 'If you want a ****** for a neighbour vote Labour'
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Black Power

  • Obi.B. Egbuna - led the Black Panther Party
  • Olive Morris led Brixton Black Women's Group
  • Darcus Howe founded Race Today Collective which organised squats and strikes like Imperial Typewriters Strike and ensuring Bengali people had safe housing
  • 1971 - proved that the police force was racist
  • Race Relations Acts of 65,68 and 76 prevented discrimination. 68 outlawed discrimination in housing and unemployment
  • Enoch Powell 'Rivers of Blood' speech on 20 April 1968 claimed that blacks and asians had more right than Brits showing typical post-colonialsim racism - 74% of public agreed
  • Assimilation of immigrants continued and a multi-culutralist society failed to emerge
  • Racist policies like students from India and Carribean couldn't make up more than 30% of a school so were forced to travel far away
  • Mandala v Powell-Lee - right for Sikh boys to wear turbans to school
  • Government policy pointed in 2 directions- increasing and restricting. No policy was successful
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