By Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al
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Additional resources for A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain
Each one of the racialised techniques of social exclusion, segregation, demonisation, marginalisation and violence was already operating under the rule of coloniality. Concentration camps, discriminatory legal codes, repression through native collusions, clandestine or semi-official systems of violations, none of these were new to European political culture in the colonies (Du Bois, 1947; Cesaire, 1955). If anything, the innovations of the Nazis lay in the efficiencies achieved in their excesses, the industrialisation and bureaucratic systematisation of the killing process (Bauman, 1989).
We used to look from the top window of the house to see which mill chimney was giving out the most smoke, because that would be the busiest mill and most likely to have vacancies. So we would head towards it in the hope of finding work. As none of us could speak English, as soon as we got close to the Mill’s gates we would push each other to be in the front. So the one in the front would have to find out if there was work. Sometimes, somebody from the mill would see us coming and they would wave their arms like an umpire signals a dead ball, which meant there were no jobs.
Racism is still not something that is seen to merit national government discussion like privatisation, education, global warming or the National Health Service; there is as yet, no war against racism. Despite the long traditions of black, BrAsian and generally antiracist struggles across its major cities, British public culture continues to have great difficulty accepting that racism is as British as liberalism and as institutional as nationalism. Where both liberalism and nationalism have British histories and institutional force, it would seem British public culture has felt racism is a different kind of phenomena, that it is more recent perhaps, of less sure footing and certainly not a formative part of the British experience.
A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain by Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al