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We ask for British justice : workers and racial difference in late imperial Britain

Author: Laura Tabili
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994.
Series: Wilder House series in politics, history, and culture.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Laura Tabili is the first historian to examine the concrete connections between the legacy of imperialism and the problem of racial antagonism inside Britain. Previous efforts to explain ethnic conflict have often resorted to pessimistic "commonsense" assumptions about the universality of xenophobia and racism; here Tabili recovers the historical conditions under which racial inequality was institutionalized in
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Tabili, Laura.
We ask for British justice.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994
(OCoLC)654284349
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Laura Tabili
ISBN: 0801429048 9780801429040
OCLC Number: 30318139
Description: ix, 255 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: 1. "I Can Get No Justice": Black Men and Colonial Race Relations on the Western Front --
2. "A Shame on Britain's Part": Problems of Empire in the Postwar Order --
3. Black Seamen in British Ships: The Uses of Race for British Shipowners --
4. A "Blot on Our Hospitality": Recolonizing Black Seamen Ashore in Britain --
5. "We Shall Soon Be Having 'Rule Britannia' Sung in Pidgin English": The National Union of Seamen and the Uses of Race --
6. Contesting the Boundaries of Race and Nationality: The Coloured Alien Seamen Order, Policy and Protest --
7. "The Honour to Belong": Black Workers and Interracial Settlements in Interwar Britain --
8. "Getting Out of Hand": Black Service and Black Activism in "The People's War" --
Appendix 1. Lascars.
Series Title: Wilder House series in politics, history, and culture.
Responsibility: Laura Tabili.

Abstract:

Laura Tabili is the first historian to examine the concrete connections between the legacy of imperialism and the problem of racial antagonism inside Britain. Previous efforts to explain ethnic conflict have often resorted to pessimistic "commonsense" assumptions about the universality of xenophobia and racism; here Tabili recovers the historical conditions under which racial inequality was institutionalized in Britain.

Tabili tells in unprecedented detail the story of racial subordination and Black resistance in the first half of this century. Drawing on rich archival evidence, she traces the sources of racial conflict to the structure of the labor market in merchant shipping, a global industry that relied on cheap labor from the colonies. As she reconstructs the social meaning of race in the late empire, she describes how unions, workers, and British and colonial governments all struggled to define who was Black and what this meant in relation to the prerogatives of British identity.

Notorious episodes of racial confrontation, Tabili demonstrates, were shaped more by the decisions of influential institutional actors than by the racist impulses of ordinary people. In documenting the power of institutions to assign meaning to racial difference, "We Ask for British Justice" has important implications for ethnic relations in other postcolonial societies.

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