Wednesday, 23 September 2009

More of their Myths

In I’m a racist no more and Myths of Oppression I wondered just how much of the nonsense written by ‘anti-racist’ academics they themselves believe. Consider these quotes from an essay by Bob Carter, Clive Harris and Shirley Joshi, ‘The 1951-1955 Conservative Government and the Racialization of Black Immigration’ -- is it plausible that they really do not see that their justifications for exonerating Black immigrants of the charges laid against them by certain natives are bogus?

On welfare ‘scrounging’:

The attempt to portray higher levels of black unemployment as evidence of welfare ‘scrounging’ was scotched by the National Assistance Board Working Party representative. She pointed out that though some of the recent Caribbean migrants were , like sixty thousand Irish workers, in receipt of national assistance this was because of their ineligibility for unemployment benefits.

(Got that? ‘Welfare scroungers’ are people who receive welfare benefit x, not welfare benefit y. Really?)

On crime:

The undesirability of black migrants on grounds of a ‘racial’ predisposition to criminality had been a longstanding concern of government departments and Parliament. In the House of Commons in November 1954, secretary of state for the colonies Alex Lennox-Boyd was asked by Sir Jocelyn Lucas ‘what machinery exists to ascertain the proportion of Jamaican immigrants who have police or criminal records’. Hansard is studded with questions of this nature. Likewise in the questionnaire sent to Ministry of Labour regional offices area officers were asked: ‘Can any distinction be drawn between the coloured workers who come here as fare-paying passengers and those who come as stowaways or deserters?’

The general tenor of responses was: Not enough evidence to make a judgement. Behind this question lies a clear assumption that the manner in which the stowaway came to Britain was a confirmation of a criminal proclivity. No attention was given to the way in which increasingly stringent administrative measures introduced by Labour and Conservative governments criminalized the stowaway.

(Brilliant. Quite apart from denying the validity both of concern about the criminal record of immigrants and the notion that Blacks are predisposed to high crime levels, they would have us believe that a demonstrated willingness to resort to crime is not a reliable indicator of ‘criminal proclivity’).

The essay ‘The 1951-1955 Conservative Government and the Racialization of Black Immigration’ appears in Winston James and Clive Harris (eds), Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain (London: Verso, 1993). The title of that book - ‘Inside Babylon’ - again calls attention to the way we are asked to believe something transparently absurd, that Britain is both a place of hostility and oppression for Caribbean Blacks, yet also a place they voluntarily came and come to.

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