Deporting Black Britons provides an ethnographic account of deportation from the UK to Jamaica. It traces the painful stories of four men who were deported after receiving criminal convictions in the UK. For each of the men, all of whom had moved to the UK as children, deportation was lived as exile – from parents, partners, children and friends – and the book offers portraits of survival and hardship in both the UK and Jamaica. Based on over four years of research, Deporting Black Britons describes the human consequences of deportation, while situating deportation stories within the broader context of policy, ideology, law and violence. It examines the relationship between racism, criminalisation and immigration control in contemporary Britain, suggesting new ways of thinking about race, borders and citizenship in these anti-immigrant times. Ultimately, the book argues that these stories of exile and banishment should orient us in the struggle against violent immigration controls, in the UK and elsewhere.
This book provides an institutional case study of the BBC Television Service, as it undertook the responsibility of creating programmes that addressed the impact of black Britons, their attempts to establish citizenship within England and subsequent issues of race relations and colour prejudice. Beginning in the 1930s and into the post millennium, the book provides a historical analysis of policies invoked, and practices undertaken, as the Service attempted to assist white Britons in understanding the impact of African-Caribbeans on their lives, and their assimilation into constructs of Britishness. Management soon approved talks and scientific studies as a means of examining racial tensions, as ITV challenged the discourses of British broadcasting. Soon after, BBC 2 began broadcasting, and more issues of race appeared on the TV screens, each reflecting sometimes comedic, somewhat dystopic, often problematic circumstances of integration. In the years that followed, however, social tensions, such as those demonstrated by the Nottingham and Notting Hill riots, led to transmissions that included a series of news specials on Britain's Colour Bar, and docudramas, such as A Man From the Sun, which attempted to frame the immigrant experience for British television audiences, but from the African-Caribbean point of view. Subsequent chapters include an extensive analysis of television programming, along with personal interviews. Topics include current representations of race, the future of British television, and its impact upon multiethnic audiences. Also detailed are the efforts of Black Britons working within the British media as employees of the BBC, writers, producers and actors.
like a new iPhone.
He was holding a portable wireless router and I made some inane
comment about Jamaica’s lack of data signal. He responded
in a distinctly London accent and we had a brief conversation.
His name was Devon, and he was wary about speaking with
me. Anyway, he would not be in Jamaica for long, he explained.
He had an ongoing immigration appeal in the UK, one that he
needed to win so that he could return to his son and his family
in London.2 Devon, who was in his early twenties, explained that
of the participants. These four subjects were again interviewed between the years 2000 and 2010. Each of those chosen subjects has
worked within the medium in varying capacities, and most are BlackBritons. They often reaffirmed the BBC’s inability to provide balanced
representations of African-Caribbeans. Some link this on-going practice to
very few positions behind the camera for those of colour, and a perpetuation
of stereotypic, one-dimensional characters within programmes. Despite
3658 Paving the empire road:Layout 1
A Black eye
important not to overemphasise the uniformity
of the 1980–81 disturbances and risk diminishing local circumstances influencing them; accordingly, this book contains detailed studies of three locations,
within which similarities allow for some general analysis.2 It is commonly
agreed that the 1980–81 disorders began after ‘trigger events’ involving police
and blackBritons, and that areas experiencing such disturbances shared five
common characteristics: racial disadvantage and discrimination; high unemployment; widespread deprivation; visible political exclusion and
Jokes, racism and Black and Asian voices in British comedy television
African love wood.31 In this way,
the failure of racists to see the common humanity of Black and Asian
characters led to disaster, a clear message about race, but far from the
only one that emerged from this body of work.
While racist characters in these programmes generally lost their
battles, the broader messages about racial difference that emerged
reflected a society still deeply unsure about the merits of multiculturalism, where television, both in front and behind the screen, still largely
excluded BlackBritons. Racism, constructed as unneighbourly intolerance
about the barriers of social and political exclusion in Britain,
suddenly and unapologetically disabusing ‘loyal’ blackBritons of their former affinities. Rather the ‘rude
awakening’ was itself a well-established feature of West Indian
protest and critique, containing elements of continuity as well as
rupture. It forms part of a much longer history, of insistent demands
for equal rights and
In 1980–81, anti-police collective violence spread across England. This was the earliest confrontation between the state and members of the British public during Thatcher’s divisive government. This powerful and original book locates these disturbances within a longer struggle against racism and disadvantage faced by black Britons, which had seen a growth in more militant forms of resistance since the Second World War. In this first full-length historical study of 1980–81, three case studies – of Bristol, Brixton and Manchester – emphasise the importance of local factors and the wider situation, concluding that these events should be viewed as ‘collective bargaining by riot’ – as a tool attempting increased political inclusion for marginalised black Britons. Focusing on the political activities of black Britons themselves, it explores the actions of community organisations in the aftermath of disorders to highlight dichotomous valuations of state mechanisms. A key focus is public inquiries, which were contrastingly viewed by black Britons as either a governmental diversionary tactic, or a method of legitimising their inclusion with the British constitutional system. Through study of a wide range of newly available archives, interviews, understudied local sources and records of grassroots black political organisations, this work expands understandings of protest movements and community activism in modern democracies while highlighting the often-problematic reliance upon ‘official’ sources when forming historical narratives. Of interest to researchers of race, ethnicity and migration history, as well as modern British political and social history more generally, its interdisciplinary nature will also appeal to wider fields, including sociology, political sciences and criminology.
The black Britons Robert Wedderburn and William Davidson played a prominent
role in London ultra-radicalism. Davidson was executed for his part in the
Cato Street Conspiracy, and Wedderburn encouraged violent resistance to
tyranny and slavery. This chapter unearths important new biographical
information about these two men, and applies this to the development of
their political ideas
off the air-conditioned coaches used by middleclass Jamaicans and tourists. He was optimistic about his new
job, and working full time, which meant that when I was in
Jamaica we would mostly meet in New Kingston before he
started his shift. One Sunday, however, on his day off, we
Pictures 9.1 and 9.2. Chris and me at Ocho Rios Bay Beach (2019)
travelled to Ocho Rios on the north coast, a resort town with
busy beaches, hotels and a harbour for cruise ships.
We took the Knutsford Express coach from New