The Windrush brought less than 500 West Indians in 1948. In that same time period 200,000 eastern Europeans and 100,000 Irish immigrants also came to Britain, yet the former "remains such a symbol of profound soul searching for the national identity" and is regarded as "a turning point in the fabric of the nation’s identity". The latter is barely remembered at all.
Hirsch goes on to reference the area of South West London where she lives. It is known as the 'biltong belt' due to the high numbers of white South African, Australian and New Zealander immigrants. This had the same impact as immigration anywhere, yet "this immigration is never weaponised as a threat to the national heritage, or as a reason for pre-existing communities to flee. This immigration has been largely unproblematic because it is white, English-speaking and less visibly 'other'”.
In 1962 Home Secretary Rab Butler, said the Commonwealth Immigration Act was a law whose “restrictive effect is intended to, and would in fact, operate on coloured people almost exclusively”. Today’s governments are more subtle in their language, yet blatant examples of contemporary racism, such as the Windrush scandal, have "exposed a historical continuity that infects the entire immigration system."
"The sooner we acknowledge that legacy, and dispense with the fantasy that immigration has nothing to do with race, the sooner we will be able to consign this ongoing, abhorrent injustice to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.
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