Black Power in Britain?

“The conscious effort to erase the Black British Power Movement from Modern Day British History”.

Image of Black person's fist raised in the air as a representation of Black power
Image by Oladimeji Odunsi | Unsplash

Black History as we know it today has been Americanized; when one thinks about the Black Power movement we automatically associate this with the American Civil Rights movement and the associated African American figures, as they have been strategically pushed to the forefront of this movement. The global face of blackness has always been African Americans. Civil rights activists ranging from Rosa Parks to Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and the list goes on. However not much light has been shed on the Black British Power movement. It seems as though there has been a conscious effort to erase the Black British Power Movement from Modern Day British History. This has mainly been done for their own benefits to push the agenda of modern day Britain, no longer being a racist society via pushing the notion of the multiculturalism model with shallow diversity as a means of putting an ‘end to Racism’.

However, the façade which has been created by the establishment hides the brutality of the systematic, xenophobic and hate fuelled targeted campaign against the ‘other’, at this point in history the scapegoat being the post-war migrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Only decades ago was there such hostility towards black people in Britain, this has shown itself in the form of institutionalized racism via racialized legislation e.g. with immigration and discrimination in housing and education and other walks of life.

This year 2018 marks 50 years since the derogatory, vile and xenophobic propaganda also known as the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech by a man in the establishment by the name of Enoch Powell. From the lexis used in this speech one can really encapsulate the thoughts and attitudes towards immigrants of the day and the hostility projected upon them from being black in post-war Britain. The western stereotype of the other has always been negative, derogatory and demoralizing. Edward Said discusses this in his book called ‘Orientalism’, he discusses how immigrants have been portrayed as being ‘primitive’ and ‘barbaric’. It is these stereotypes which are used to instil fear and hatred among citizens of the day.

By moving to Britain, they were expected to leave their cultural practices behind and assimilate into the so-called British way of life. Britain at this time had been described as a modern day ‘civilizing mission’. Racist attitudes resonating the tone of the ‘White Man’s Burden’ (Rudyard Kipling) were prevalent in this era. The idea of immigrants being a strain of Britain, the idea of Britain being some type of global savior, as a means to say