The Windrush Generation: It’s Racism – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

The Windrush Generation: It’s Racism – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

British Prime Minister Theresa May ‘s government asked the Windrush Generation to prove that they are British.

22nd June 1948: MV Empire Windrush arrives at Tilbury Docks in London

They went in ships to work on the plantations. They were torn from their families, their culture and their lands as they slaved for the Mother Country.

A century later, the Mother Country was up to its old tricks. It invited the sons and daughters of the Empire to work and rebuild England. Thousands went in ships and gave their labor to put England on its feet.   

They thought all along that the Mother Country cared and would protect them. But they were struck with a bolt of lightning: Blacks had to prove that they had a right to stay in Britain.

Read more: Its Racism – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 05/08/2018 at 12:09 pm

    A painful situation, Dr. Narine. Like the plastic waste proliferating in our oceans, black and brown bodies are disposable after they have served their usefulness.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/09/2018 at 4:58 pm

    The Historian Behind Slavery Apologists Like Kanye West

    Blain Roberts and Ethan J. Kytle | The New York Times

    Mr. West seemed to suggest that enslaved African-Americans were so content that they did not actively resist their bondage, and, as a result, they bear some responsibility for centuries of persecution.

    He’s not alone in his thinking. In 2016, the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asserted that slaves were “well fed and had decent lodgings.”

    Last September, the Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore deemed the antebellum era the last great period in American history. “I think it was great at the time when families were united,” he declared. “Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another.”

    Modern scholarship has debunked such whitewashing, accurately depicting slavery as an inhumane institution rooted in greed and the violent subjugation of millions of African-Americans.
    In the spring of 1918, the historian Ulrich Bonnell Phillips published his seminal study, “American Negro Slavery,” which framed the institution as a benevolent labor agreement between indulgent masters and happy slaves.

    No other book, no monument, no movie — save, perhaps, for “Gone With the Wind,” itself beholden to Phillips’s work — has been more influential in shaping how many Americans have viewed slavery.

    Born in 1877 into a Georgia family with planter roots, Phillips developed an abiding sympathy for the Old South. He studied history at the University of Georgia and then as a graduate student at Columbia University under the tutelage of William A. Dunning, a scholar with a pro-Southern bent.

    After earning his doctorate in 1902, Phillips set out to correct the slanted picture of the Southern past that he believed prevailed at the time. “The history of the United States has been written by Boston and largely been written wrong,” he lamented. “It must be written anew before it reaches its final form of truth, and for that work, the South must do its part.”

    Phillips certainly did his. During his 30-year career, he published nine books and close to 60 articles, earning a series of prestigious professorships that culminated in a “very flossy job,” as he put it, at Yale University. This 1930 appointment reflected his stature as the country’s leading historian of slavery and the South, as well as the influence of his most important book, “American Negro Slavery”.

    He was a prodigious, albeit selective researcher. Phillips found evidence in plantation records and Southern travelogues that bolstered the book’s benign interpretation of slavery, while downplaying evidence that did not. In his hands, plantations became idyllic sites where white families had modeled the habits of civilized life for their childlike black charges.

    “The plantations,” Phillips wrote, “were the best schools yet invented for the mass training of that sort of inert and backward people which the bulk of the American negroes represented.”

    According to Phillips, slaveholders provided the enslaved with comfortable living quarters and plentiful rations and eschewed physical discipline. They rarely sold slaves, especially if it meant breaking up families. Slave owners’ rule “was benevolent in intent” and “beneficial in effect”.

    Phillips’s use of the passive voice — “in March the corn fields were commonly planted” — further distanced the reader from slaves’ coerced labor.

    Enslaved African-Americans, in turn, displayed gratitude and loyalty to their masters. Phillips concluded that, while slavery may have been economically inefficient, “the relations on both sides were felt to be based on pleasurable responsibility”.

    “American Negro Slavery” won widespread acclaim in the North and the South.

    Reviewers praised Phillips for his thorough research, charming style and lack of bias. In the words of the historian John David Smith, an expert on Phillips, the book served as “the definitive account of the peculiar institution” from World War I into the 1950s.

    The book set the tone for the treatment of slavery in classrooms and textbooks across the country. “There was much to be said for slavery as a transition status between barbarism and civilization,” maintained a 1930 best seller, echoing Phillips almost verbatim. “The majority of slaves were … apparently happy.”

    From the beginning, however, Phillips had his critics, who insisted on telling a more truthful, unvarnished history of slavery. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote a scathing review of “American Negro Slavery,” observing, “It is a defense of American slavery, a defense of an institution which was at best a mistake and at worst a crime.”

    Drawing on interviews with ex-slaves, sources Phillips rejected, the historian Frederic Bancroft published a 1931 book that exploded Phillips’s misrepresentations of the domestic slave trade.

    Phillips’s critics grew more vocal in the 1950s and 1960s, as a new generation of scholars challenged his benign reading of slavery and the racism that stained almost every page of “American Negro Slavery.”

    Yet while Phillips’s most egregious claims fell out of favor, the legacy of “American Negro Slavery” has proved tenacious.

    According to a new Southern Poverty Law Center report on how slavery is taught in public schools, current pedagogy continues to focus on slavery from the perspective of whites, NOT the enslaved, while failing to connect the institution to the white supremacist beliefs that supported it.

    Textbooks often ignore slaveholders’ desire to make money and too easily slip into grammatical constructions — Africans “were brought” to America — that absolve enslavers of their actions.

    Last year, a Charlotte, N.C., teacher asked her middle-school students to list “four reasons why Africans made good slaves.”

    An eighth-grade teacher in San Antonio recently sent students home with a work sheet titled “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View.” It prompted students to list the “positive” aspects of slavery along with the “negative.”

    We must confront mischaracterizations of the nature of slavery, whether nurtured in the classroom or broadcast on Twitter. After all, historical accuracy on this topic is not just about getting the past right; it is also about understanding the challenges of the present.

    The persistence of racial inequality in America — from police brutality and school segregation to mass incarceration and wealth disparities — reflects, to some degree, the persistence of the Phillipsian take on slavery.

    If the institution were little more than a finishing school for African-Americans, then why acknowledge or address its pernicious legacies today?

  • kamtanblog  On 05/10/2018 at 2:14 am

    Yes was racism.
    It was also “cheap labour”
    Today we have “outsourcing”
    and “minimum” wage.
    British politricks
    Tories “cut and save”
    Labour “borrow and spend”

    Politically UK is still living in the “dark ages”
    Economically still “for the few not the many”
    Slavery still exists today but “payrolled slavery” for those on minimum wage and/or welfare.
    Let’s see if we will have a “liveable” wage…..with the age of robotics.
    Will robots replace slaves.?

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/13/2018 at 11:39 am

    Philip wrote to me from the UK:

    This all stemmed from Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

    The plan was originated by the Labour Government of Gordon Brown. It was so simple, they never thought of blow back.

    What they did was destroy all of the Landing Cards from the late forties to mid fifties. This from a country that has kept meticulous records for two millennia.

    When the people who arrived in the UK during the Windrush Days, were asked to PROVE that they belonged here, and prove when they arrived……

    It Was BAD TIMING, Dat’s ALL

    The timing was however brilliant. In the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting luckily destined for London, the PM’s from the Caribbean asked for a meeting with May. She refused and sent instead a junior minister from the Commonwealth and Foreign Office FCO.

    The Caribbean PM’s rejected this and told her it was an insult. They then hired the services of a Publicity Company and put the problems into the mainstream news.

    It was great to see PM May grovel. Not only did she meet with them, she apologised profusely and promised – for what its worth – that the people involved would be financially compensated. She also claimed that she did not have numbers of those that had already been deported.

    The current ex Home Secretary Amber Rudd fell on her sword for this fiasco which can be laid firmly at the feet of the PM.

    They are still debating this issue in Parliamentary reviews and members of the FCO are still getting flack and some junior ministers have been accused by MP’s of lying to Parliament!

    This is not over, but as to the question of RACISM?

    A resounding YES she is and YES they are racists.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/21/2018 at 9:43 am

    Dear All,
    The Guyana High Commission wishes to provide you with information regarding the issue of the ‘Windrush’ generation.

    As you are aware, the UK government in an effort to secure a permanent solution to the situation of pre-1971 Caribbean-born, undocumented UK residents currently treated as “illegal immigrants” has setup a task force to fast track applications and also to help individuals to build a picture of their life in the UK.

    So far there have been no requests for support in this area by the Guyanese diaspora.

    However, the High Commission would not rule out the fact that there might be Guyanese affected by this situation who are either afraid to come forward for fear of deportation or are unaware of their status.

    For information purposes, if you lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and have not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, you have the right to be here.

    You do need to get or apply for a permit card which proves your status in the UK.

    If you came to the UK during the 1970’s but after 1 January 1973 then you are not likely to have an automatic right to be here.

    You may however be allowed to stay permanently.

    The UK Home Office has set up a task force to deal with these cases but they do need persons to come forward.

    The Guyana High Commission is continuing its conversations with the UK Home Office and also agreed to hold task force surgeries at the High Commission, 3 Palace Court where persons can come and submit their documents to the UK Task Force.

    Further information on the dates and times will be communicated in a subsequent communication.

    The Mission would therefore appreciate if your organisation could kindly refer persons who may fall under these categories to the High Commission or share the contact information below to persons who may be affected:

    Freephone: 0800 678 1925


    Yours sincerely F Hamley Case High Commissioner

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