By Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al
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Extra info for A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain
The South Asians who came during the 1950s were part of this broader movement of labour migrations in Europe. Almost all the jobs available to them were those that the white workers did not want. In the main these were unskilled jobs involving unsociable hours of work, poor working conditions and low wages. Hence Asian workers came to occupy some of the lowest rungs of the British employment hierarchy. Additionally, as ex-colonial subjects, they belonged to a group whose country was once ruled by Britain.
The work of these organisations, which contributed to the effort that led to the enactment of anti-discrimination legislation, should be set against the simultaneous entrenchment of racism in stricter immigration controls. The race relations legislation of the 1960s proved to be so ineffective that it had to be replaced by the 1976 Race Relations Act. The 1968 Immigration Act, on the other hand, was far more successful in meeting its primary objective of reducing black immigration. e. unless at least one parent or grandparent of the applicant was born in Britain.
We should note, however, that it is not the exchange of the hegemonic and subaltern positions within the colonial hierarchy that is being signified by ‘colonisation in reverse’ but rather the critical reversal of the colonial relationship itself, its reversion and revision, not merely the swapping of positions within that relationship. indb 20 15/12/2005 08:39:11 The Postcolonial Political and the Immigrant Imaginary 21 Immigrants If we now return to considering the arrival of the ex-colonial ethnically marked ‘immigrant’ in the British metropole it should be seen immediately how postcoloniality confused the spatial and racial distinction between centre and periphery, nation and empire, citizen and native, and thus signalled the unsettling and unpredictable effects of an exceedingly provisional decolonisation of all the political, social and cultural manifestations made possible by the imperial enterprise.
A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain by Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al