IRR News (17 May – 7 June 2018)
Institute of Race Relations weekly digest - Against Racism, for Social Justice
Dear IRR News subscriber,
This week, IRR News celebrates the opening of the exhibition at the British Library, Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land, on which our chair, Colin Prescod was lead external adviser. Windrush traces the relationship between Britain and the Caribbean since the ‘discovery’ of the Americas, travelling through the slave trade, colonialism, rebellion, the contribution of Caribbean soldiers to the defence of the ‘mother country’, the rights granted by the 1948 Act, the popular racism and right-wing agitation this generation of Commonwealth immigrants faced when they arrived, the imposition of immigration controls in the 1960s, through to the British-born Black response to the New Cross fire in 1981. It also focuses on the development of British culture by settlers – poets, novelists, artists and musicians.
The exhibition has a particular piquancy, given the recent media exposure of the treatment of several thousands of ‘Windrush generation’ settlers over the past few years under hostile environment policies. As Colin Prescod said, ‘They were not surprised at the racism they encountered. They were surprised that having settled here, worked here, raised children here, somebody can knock on their door and tell them that they have no rights.’
A new Corporate Watch report on the media-politics of the hostile environment reveals the depth of the links between politicians and ‘big media’ and contains important lessons for activists. Read a review of the report here.
In response to the public and media outcry, the government has suspended or reversed a number of hostile environment measures, as well as renouncing the use of the term. Developments in Hungary, Slovenia and Italy in particular, meanwhile, give cause for concern. Our regular calendar of race and resistance, here (covering three weeks as email problems left us unable to publish last week) gives details.
IRR News Team