Racism is as British as a cup of tea

Britain is meant to be celebrating 70 years ...

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 8:44 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 8:44 PM

Britain is meant to be celebrating 70 years since the arrival of the steamship Windrush, which brought with it 500 people from the Caribbean and marked the start of mass migration to the UK from the British Empire.

But the festive mood has been broken by the realization that a number of the Windrush generation -- who migrated as children and have spent decades in Britain -- have been classified as illegal immigrants, and are therefore losing jobs, being detained in immigration centers and even facing deportation to countries of which they have no memory.

Public and political pressure has forced Prime Minster Theresa May to apologize. But it was her Conservative Party's policies that created the scandal in the first place.

The Windrush generation was welcomed to help rebuild the nation after World War II -- before Britain imposed restrictions on immigration starting in the '60s.

The problem is that although anyone who migrated before 1973 should have automatic right to remain, they were children at the time and may have no documents to prove their status.

People are now being caught up in the "hostile environment for illegal immigrants" created by May, which strengthened the duty of workplaces to carry out immigration checks. It is through these kind of checks that longstanding residents are being declared illegal.

To understand the crisis and the political context in which it sits, we need to go back to Britain's vote for Brexit in 2016. Even some of the leaders campaigning for Brexit were surprised the public narrowly voted to leave the European Union.

Immigration was a paramount concern, with the pledge to "take back our borders" to stop uncontrolled immigration being a vote winner. Public sentiment against immigration before the vote had shifted the politics of all the major parties to the right.

During May's time as home secretary, the UK Home Office instituted some of the most draconian immigration policy in British history, which included sending out vans to tell undocumented immigrants to "go home," making regular deportations and allowing Africans to drown in the Mediterranean as a deterrent to potential migrants.

In their appeal to minority voters, those pushing for Brexit promised that reducing immigration from Europe would mean that Britain could re-engage with her former empire, now known as the Commonwealth.

Xenophobia against Eastern Europeans had a certain attraction to black Britain, given that at the same time as limitless immigration from the European Union, ever increasing restrictions were being placed on movement from the Commonwealth.

British immigration policy has always had one track for white migrants and another more restricted one for the global majority -- and EU migration was just the latest example. But the rhetoric from right-wing politicians was so obviously racist that very few bought into it.

As David Lammy, a Labour member of Parliament, noted, "When you lie with dogs you get fleas," and the overwhelming majority of black people in Britain rejected the overtures to vote for Brexit.

Given the historic contribution made by the colonies to Britain, the resentment from black communities on the issue of immigration was understandable.

Migration from the Caribbean to the UK is often viewed as voluntary, but that's only the case if you ignore the fact our ancestors were taken to the islands in chains.

Slave labor is the foundation of British progress, with the profits from goods such as cotton, sugar and tobacco powering the Industrial Revolution. English port cities such as Liverpool and Bristol grew almost entirely out of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the profits run deep throughout society.

After slavery ended, the Caribbean remained in a colonial relationship, providing labor, resources and capital to the mother country. In both world wars, the colonies provided the most precious human resources, spilling their blood in defense of the empire.

So when the call went out to rebuild Britain after World War II, it is no surprise that so many made the journey to help build the welfare state. Before independence, Jamaica -- from where the majority on the Windrush were from -- was just as integral a part of Britain as London, and those migrating were moving from one part of the empire to another.

Unfortunately, Britain has seen its colonial population as not citizens, but subjects to be used and abused as fits the will of the mother country.

Denying the centrality of the colonies to the progress of Britain is almost a national pastime.

Before anyone migrated from the Caribbean, we were already part of Britain: our blood and toil literally etched into the foundation of the nation. The treatment of the Windrush generation is appalling, but unfortunately not surprising. Racism is as British as a cup of tea.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 441935

Reported Deaths: 5885
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin918591461
Ramsey39405729
Dakota32551324
Anoka30638354
Washington19827221
Stearns17686184
St. Louis13453237
Scott1178693
Wright11485101
Olmsted1024870
Sherburne812364
Carver686636
Clay643278
Rice595266
Kandiyohi551069
Blue Earth533833
Crow Wing476573
Otter Tail449860
Chisago446331
Benton414885
Winona383946
Douglas370366
Nobles364646
Mower358026
Goodhue340757
Polk326754
McLeod321644
Morrison308743
Beltrami305746
Lyon298735
Itasca281143
Becker279438
Isanti279440
Carlton276942
Steele26879
Pine263813
Freeborn237219
Todd230029
Nicollet222136
Brown212334
Mille Lacs211645
Le Sueur206515
Cass203823
Meeker197433
Waseca187515
Martin168226
Wabasha16712
Roseau164916
Hubbard146937
Redwood138527
Renville136139
Houston133213
Dodge13134
Chippewa130632
Cottonwood125118
Fillmore12084
Wadena118214
Rock108511
Sibley10757
Aitkin106633
Watonwan10548
Faribault103214
Kanabec96818
Pennington95915
Pipestone92522
Yellow Medicine92514
Murray8585
Jackson84510
Swift82617
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68114
Lac qui Parle65216
Lake62215
Wilkin6179
Koochiching57910
Lincoln4771
Big Stone4513
Unassigned43568
Grant4247
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36619
Red Lake3154
Traverse2433
Lake of the Woods1741
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300884

Reported Deaths: 4197
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk44949440
Linn17563269
Scott15228161
Black Hawk13552228
Woodbury12896175
Johnson1191749
Dubuque11229148
Pottawattamie8863112
Dallas874169
Story857433
Webster464768
Cerro Gordo458766
Sioux452451
Clinton445461
Warren430637
Marshall424561
Buena Vista389029
Muscatine382275
Des Moines377340
Plymouth347967
Wapello336796
Jasper315955
Lee310828
Marion298852
Jones268949
Henry262130
Carroll252233
Bremer240048
Crawford227622
Boone214116
Washington213531
Benton207543
Mahaska189936
Jackson189631
Tama184757
Dickinson183225
Delaware171136
Kossuth169241
Clay165319
Wright161724
Fayette157022
Buchanan156920
Hamilton156828
Hardin153129
Harrison152961
Winneshiek150819
Clayton149848
Cedar149119
Butler145423
Page143115
Floyd137236
Cherokee137125
Mills135216
Lyon133132
Poweshiek131024
Hancock127924
Allamakee125927
Iowa122122
Calhoun12159
Jefferson118623
Grundy118522
Winnebago117229
Madison11639
Mitchell114634
Louisa113729
Cass111741
Chickasaw110111
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose108838
Union107922
Humboldt103919
Guthrie102124
Shelby101026
Franklin99818
Unassigned9370
Palo Alto8969
Keokuk84225
Montgomery82722
Howard81119
Monroe79918
Pocahontas77211
Clarke7717
Ida73530
Greene6837
Davis68221
Adair68120
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62316
Taylor5889
Worth5873
Fremont5005
Van Buren49112
Decatur4744
Ringgold4229
Wayne41321
Audubon4118
Adams2923
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
Mason City
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 17°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 23°
Austin
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Charles City
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Snow moving out of the area
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sports Overtime Part 2

Image

Sports Overtime Part 1

Image

Plans for polar plunge

Image

Equal work and equal pay.

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Image

Increase in 2021 travel plans

Image

The Rochester Fire Department is hiring

Image

League of Women Voters Minnesota sends letter to legislative leaders

Image

River Bend Assisted Living receives Pfizer vaccine

Community Events